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Prof. Joselito Guianan Chan's The Labor Code of the Philippines, Annotated Labor Standards & Social Legislation Volume I of a 3-Volume Series 2019 Edition (3rd Revised Edition)
 

 
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UNITED STATES SUPREME COURT JURISPRUDENCE
 

 
PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT JURISPRUDENCE
 

   
January-2000 Jurisprudence                 

  • G.R. No. 123951 January 10, 2000 - ROMEO RANOLA, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • A.M. No. P-00-1360 January 18, 2000 - ELISEO SOREÑO v. RHODERICK MAXINO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 114683 January 18, 2000 - JESUS C. OCAMPO v. OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 118441-42 January 18, 2000 - ARMANDO JOSE, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 119594 January 18, 2000 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. BENZON ONG

  • G.R. No. 125994 January 18, 2000 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. BENJAMIN ANDALES

  • G.R. No. 127135 January 18, 2000 - EASTERN ASSURANCE AND SURETY CORP. (EASCO) v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 129846 January 18, 2000 - REPUBLIC OF THE PHIL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 130944 January 18, 2000 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. VICENTE ALIB, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 131675 January 18, 2000 - PEDRO C. LAMEYRA v. GEORGE S. PANGILINAN

  • G.R. No. 132378 January 18, 2000 - ROGELIO JUAN v. PEOPLE OF THE PHIL.

  • G.R. No. 132767 January 18, 2000 - PHIL. VETERANS BANK v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 134854 January 18, 2000 - FELIZARDO S. OBANDO, ET AL. v. EDUARDO F. FIGUERAS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 139465 January 18, 2000 - SECRETARY OF JUSTICE v. RALPH C. LANTION, ET AL.

  • A.M. No. MTJ-00-1245 January 19, 2000 - ANTONIO YU-ASENSI v. FRANCISCO D. VILLANUEVA

  • A.M. No. MTJ-97-1129 January 19, 2000 - FLAVIANO B. CORTES v. FELINO BANGALAN

  • A.M. No. RTJ-99-1513 January 19, 2000 - ALFREDO B. ENOJAS v. EUSTAQUIO Z. GACOTT

  • G.R. No. 107320 January 19, 2000 - A’ PRIME SECURITY SERVICES v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 113666-68 January 19, 2000 - GOLDEN DONUTS, INC. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 114761 January 19, 2000 - ALEMAR’S SIBAL & SONS v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 119217 January 19, 2000 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. MIGUEL S. LUCBAN

  • G.R. No. 122104 January 19, 2000 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. PEPITO ORBITA, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 122297-98 January 19, 2000 - CRESCENTE Y. LLORENTE v. SANDIGANBAYAN, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 122739 January 19, 2000 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. JOSE M. PANTORILLA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 123655 January 19, 2000 - ANGEL BAUTISTA v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 123183 January 19, 2000 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. RUBEN SISON

  • G.R. No. 126516 January 19, 2000 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. SHIRLEY ALAO

  • G.R. No. 127572 January 19, 2000 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. SALVADOR VILLAR

  • G.R. No. 129072 January 19, 2000 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ANTONIO ABUBU

  • G.R. No. 130957 January 19, 2000 - VH MANUFACTURING v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 132152 January 19, 2000 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. EUGENIO ADRALES, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 132248 January 19, 2000 - ERLINDA C. PEFIANCO v. MARIA LUISA C. MORAL

  • G.R. No. 132657 January 19, 2000 - WILLIAM DIU, ET AL. v. DOMINADOR IBAJAN, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 132779-82 January 19, 2000 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. DONATO BERNALDEZ

  • G.R. No. 134003 January 19, 2000 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ALBERT NAGUM

  • G.R. No. 134329 January 19, 2000 - VERONA PADA-KILARIO, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 134535 January 19, 2000 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ALEJANDRO MAGNO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 137560 January 19, 2000 - MARIA G. CRUZ, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • A.C. No. 4749 January 20, 2000 - SOLIMAN M. SANTOS, JR. v. FRANCISCO R. LLAMAS

  • Adm. Matter No. MTJ-00-1241 January 20, 2000 - NAPOLEON S. VALENZUELA v. REYNALDO B. BELLOSILLO

  • A.M. No. MTJ-00-1242 January 20, 2000 - DANIEL DUMO, ET AL. v. ROMEO V. PEREZ

  • A.M. No. RTJ-00-1522 January 20, 2000 - ROMULO SJ TOLENTINO v. POLICARPIO S. CAMANO

  • G.R. No. 76371 January 20, 2000 - MARIANO TURQUESA, ET AL. v. ROSARIO VALERA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 87134 January 20, 2000 - PHIL. REGISTERED ELECTRICAL PRACTITIONERS, ET AL. v. JULIO FRANCA, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 100718-19 January 20, 2000 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. FREDDIE JUAN, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 106282 January 20, 2000 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. QUINCIANO RENDOQUE, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 108067 January 20, 2000 - CYANAMID PHIL., INC. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 109376 January 20, 2000 - PANFILO O. DOMINGO v. SANDIGANBAYAN, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 110807 January 20, 2000 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. REYNALD T. NARVASA

  • G.R. No. 110929 January 20, 2000 - ABELARDO LOPEZ, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 119652 & A.M. No. P-00-1358 January 20, 2000 - VENTURA O. DUCAT v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 123860 January 20, 2000 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. EDWIN NAAG, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 125451 January 20, 2000 - MARCIANA MUÑOZ v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 126151 January 20, 2000 - MANILA INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT AUTHORITY, ET AL. v. SERGIO D. MABUNAY, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 128887 January 20, 2000 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILS. v. EDGARDO AQUINO

  • G.R. No. 130713 January 20, 2000 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. GABRIEL FLORES

  • G.R. No. 130986 January 20, 2000 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. VICTOR PAILANCO

  • G.R. No. 131512 January 20, 2000 - LAND TRANSPORTATION OFFICE [LTO] v. CITY OF BUTUAN

  • G.R. No. 132368 January 20, 2000 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. PACITO GARCES, JR.

  • G.R. No. 133775 January 20, 2000 - FIDEL DABUCO, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 131894-98 January 20, 2000 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILS. v. JESUS DOCENA

  • G.R. No. 134167 January 20, 2000 - NASSER IMMAM v. COMELEC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 125965 January 21, 2000 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. PATRICIO GOZANO

  • G.R. No. 133477 January 21, 2000 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. BENJAMIN RAFALES

  • G.R. No. 135904 January 21, 2000 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ALVIN TAN

  • G.R. Nos. 89591-96 January 24, 2000 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. BONIFACIO SANZ MACEDA

  • G.R. No. 100518 January 24, 2000 - ASSOCIATION OF TRADE UNIONS (ATU), ET AL. v. OSCAR N. ABELLA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 101932 January 24, 2000 - FRANCISCO H. ESCAÑO, JR., ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 111285 January 24, 2000 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. VICENTE VALLA

  • G.R. No. 116066 January 24, 2000 - NUEVA ECIJA I ELECTRIC COOPERATIVE, ET AL. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 124715 January 24, 2000 - RUFINA LUY LIM v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 125031 January 24, 2000 - PERMEX INC., ET AL. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 129693 January 24, 2000 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. RUDY CORTES

  • A.M. No. RTJ-00-1525 January 25, 2000 - MARTIN D. PANTALEON v. TEOFILO L. GUADIZ, JR.

  • G.R. No. 80129 January 25, 2000 - GERARDO RUPA, SR. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL

  • G.R. No. 102706 January 25, 2000 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. LEON LUMILAN, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 107427 January 25, 2000 - JAMES R. BRACEWELL v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 113518 January 25, 2000 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ESTEBAN ARLEE

  • G.R. No. 113684 January 25, 2000 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ARMANDO GALLARDO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 116332 January 25, 2000 - BAYNE ADJUSTERS AND SURVEYORS v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 119595 January 25, 2000 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. JOVITO BARONA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 120267 January 25, 2000 - CLARA ESPIRITU BORLONGAN, ET AL. v. CONSUELO MADRIDEO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 121439 January 25, 2000 - AKLAN ELECTRIC COOPERATIVE INCORPORATED (AKELCO) v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 129246 January 25, 2000 - GREENFIELD REALTY CORP., ET AL. v. LORETO CARDAMA, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 131633-34 January 25, 2000 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. CRESENCIANO ENOLVA

  • G.R. No. 133132 January 25, 2000 - ALEXIS C. CANONIZADO, ET AL. v. ALEXANDER P. AGUIRRE, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 135874 January 25, 2000 - SECURITY BANK CORPORATION v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • A.M. No. 99-12-192-MTC January 26, 2000 - HOLD DEPARTURE ORDER ISSUED BY ACTING JUDGE ANICETO L. MADRONIO

  • A.M. No. RTJ-00-1524 January 26, 2000 - LUCIA F. LAYOLA v. BASILIO R. GABO, JR.

  • G.R. No. 107395 January 26, 2000 - TOURIST DUTY FREE SHOPS v. SANDIGANBAYAN, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 126115 January 26, 2000 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ALFONSO BALGOS

  • G.R. No. 131374 January 26, 2000 - ABBOTT LABORATORIES PHIL. v. ABBOTT LABORATORIES EMPLOYEES UNION, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 133842 January 26, 2000 - FEDERICO S. SANDOVAL v. COMELEC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 133969 January 26, 2000 - NEMESIO GARCIA v. NICOLAS JOMOUAD, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 102961-62, 107625 & 108759 January 27, 2000 - JESUS P. LIAO v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 117040 January 27, 2000 - RUBEN SERRANO v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 130843 January 27, 2000 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ZOILO BORROMEO

  • Adm. Case No. 1474 January 28, 2000 - CRISTINO G. CALUB v. ABRAHAM SULLER

  • A.M. No. MTJ-00-1246 January 28, 2000 - HEIRS OF JUAN and NATIVIDAD GERMINANDA v. RICARDO SALVANERA

  • A.M. No. MTJ-99-1211 January 28, 2000 - ZENAIDA S. BESO v. JUAN DAGUMAN

  • A.M. No. P-93-985 January 28, 2000 - MARTA BUCATCAT v. EDGAR BUCATCAT, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 112177 January 28, 2000 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. TITO ZUELA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 112329 January 28, 2000 - VIRGINIA A. PEREZ v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 115824 January 28, 2000 - RAFAEL M. ALUNAN III, ET AL. v. MAXIMIANO C. ASUNCION, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 125279 January 28, 2000 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. JESUS TANAIL

  • G.R. No. 124129 January 28, 2000 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. DOMINGO BRIGILDO

  • G.R. Nos. 124384-86 January 28, 2000 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ROMENCIANO "OMENG" RICAFRANCA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 125671 January 28, 2000 - CONDO SUITE CLUB TRAVEL v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 125865 January 28, 2000 - JEFFREY LIANG (HUEFENG) v. PEOPLE OF THE PHIL.

  • G.R. No. 126802 January 28, 2000 - ROBERTO G. ALARCON v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 127568 January 28, 2000 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ROLANDO BACULE

  • G.R. Nos. 129756-58 January 28, 2000 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. JULIAN DEEN ESCAÑO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 131520 January 28, 2000 - ESTELITA AGUIRRE v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 131778 January 28, 2000 - HERMAN TIU LAUREL v. PRESIDING JUDGE, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 132138 January 28, 2000 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILS. v. ROMEO LLAMO

  • G.R. No. 133486 January 28, 2000 - ABS-CBN BROADCASTING CORP. v. COMELEC

  • G.R. No. 133987 January 28, 2000 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. JOHNNY BARTOLOME

  • G.R. No. 136805 January 28, 2000 - DIESEL CONSTRUCTION COMPANY INC. v. JOLLIBEE FOODS CORP.

  • G.R. No. 137537 January 28, 2000 - SMI DEVT. CORP. v. REPUBLIC OF THE PHIL.

  • G.R. No. 137718 January 28, 2000 - REYNALDO O. MALONZO, ET AL. v. RONALDO B. ZAMORA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 139545 January 28, 2000 - MAIMONA H. N. M. S. DIANGKA v. COMELEC, ET AL.

  • A.M. No. MTJ-99-1226 January 31, 2000 - GLORIA LUCAS v. AMELIA A. FABROS

  • G.R. Nos. 88521-22 & 89366-67 January 31, 2000 - HEIRS OF EULALIO RAGUA v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 105827 January 31, 2000 - J.L. BERNARDO CONSTRUCTION v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 112139 January 31, 2000 - LAPANDAY AGRICULTURAL DEVT. CORP. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 115045 January 31, 2000 - UNIVERSITY PHYSICIANS SERVICES v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 116729 January 31, 2000 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. MARLON LERIO

  • G.R. No. 120706 January 31, 2000 - RODRIGO CONCEPCION v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 123094 January 31, 2000 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. LUISITO PAGLINAWAN

  • G.R. No. 125440 January 31, 2000 - GENERAL BANK AND TRUST CO., ET AL. v. OMBUDSMAN, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 127797 January 31, 2000 - ALEJANDRO MILLENA v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 128536 January 31, 2000 - ROQUE G. GALANG v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 128607 January 31, 2000 - ALFREDO MALLARI SR., ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 129071 January 31, 2000 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ROBERTO MILLIAM, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 129505 & 133359 January 31, 2000 - OCTAVIO S. MALOLES II v. PACITA DE LOS REYES PHILLIPS

  • G.R. No. 130104 January 31, 2000 - ELIZABETH SUBLAY v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 130666 January 31, 2000 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. CASIMIRO JOSE

  • G.R. No. 134437 January 31, 2000 - NATIONAL STEEL CORP. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 139758 January 31, 2000 - LUCIEN TRAN VAN NGHIA v. RUFUS B. RODRIGUEZ, ET AL.

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    A.M. No. RTJ-99-1513   January 19, 2000 - ALFREDO B. ENOJAS v. EUSTAQUIO Z. GACOTT

     
    PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT DECISIONS

    EN BANC

    [A.M. No. RTJ-99-1513. January 19, 2000.]

    ALFREDO B. ENOJAS, Jr., Complainant, v. JUDGE EUSTAQUIO Z. GACOTT, Jr., RTC, Branch 47, Puerto Princesa City, Palawan, Respondent.

    D E C I S I O N


    PURISIMA, J.:


    At bar is an Administrative Complaint charging Judge Eustaquio Z. Gacott, Jr. with serious misconduct, inefficiency, and gross ignorance of the law.chanrobles virtua| |aw |ibrary

    Complainant Alfredo B. Enojas, Jr. was a candidate for mayor of the Municipality of Roxas, Palawan in the May 8, 1995 local elections. According to the canvass of election returns, complainant obtained seven thousand three hundred twenty-nine (7,329) votes, lower by forty-eight votes than the seven thousand three hundred seventy seven (7,377) votes of Jose R. Rodriguez, who was proclaimed winner on May 26, 1995.

    On June 1, 1995, complainant filed an election protest, docketed as Election Case No. 891 before Branch 49 of the Regional Trial Court in Puerto Princesa City presided over by Judge Panfilo S. Salva. Alleging massive fraud and irregularities, complainant (Protestant in said case) sought revision of ballots in 102 precincts of Roxas, Palawan.

    On June 9, 1995, Jose R. Rodriguez (Protestee) sent in an Answer praying for the dismissal of the election protest and interposing a counterclaim for damages and attorney’s fees.

    On July 11, 1995, Judge Panfilo S. Salva denied protestee’s motion to dismiss. Considering that the 102 ballot boxes, election documents and book of voters were already delivered to and deposited with the trial court, at the time and the required fees and deposits therefor remitted by the protestant, Judge Salva ordered the revision of ballots to proceed.

    After completing the revision of thirty nine (39) contested ballot boxes, Judge Salva granted 1 protestant’s motion to terminate the revision, ordered the stenographer and revision committee to submit their revision reports within 30 days 2 and set the case for hearing.

    On October 13, 1995, Judge Salva inhibited himself from trying the case on the ground that the protestee, Jose R. Rodriguez, is related by consanguinity to his wife. In due time, the case was then reraffled to Branch 47 presided over by Judge Eustaquio Z. Gacott, Jr.

    On November 14, 1995, Judge Gacott Jr. issued an order 3 granting protestee’s motion for leave to file an amended answer. Thus, on November 15, 1995 protestee presented a motion to amend his answer, and submitted the corresponding amended answer. Accompanying the same was a pre-trial brief. The Amended Answer contained new matters not appearing in the original answer, and affecting the merits of the controversy, in violation of Section 8 of COMELEC Rule 35. The following day, complainant submitted his opposition thereto on the ground that the said pleadings merely tended to delay the disposition of the election protest.

    On November 28 and 29 1995, the parties submitted their respective exhibits consisting of public, official and other election documents. 4 But on December 7, 1995, the protestee begged leave of court, this time to file a motion to dismiss, which motion to dismiss was attached thereto, 5 alleging the same grounds averred in previous pleadings.

    On December 10, 1995, a Sunday, Judge Gacott, Jr. issued an order denying admission of the certified true copies of the documents marked Exhibits "A", "B", "D", and "E" on the ground that they were not properly identified. 6

    On December 15, 1995, respondent judge issued an order giving the complainant up to 12:00 o’clock noon of the next day to submit his opposition to protestee’s motion to dismiss. On the same day, December 15, 1995, the complainant sent in his opposition to the motion to dismiss, contending that subject motion to dismiss was frivolous, presented to unduly delay the disposition of the election case, and without any legal and factual basis.

    On December 19, 1995, respondent judge, relying on the case of Manchester Et. Al. v. Court of Appeals, et. al., 7 issued the following Order dismissing the election case, to wit:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

    "This Court has no jurisdiction to hear and decide this case due to the deliberate non-payment by the protestant of the required or correct fee.

    WHEREFORE, premises considered, finding the motion to dismiss filed by the protestee thru Counsel to be meritorious and well-founded, AS PRAYED FOR, the Court hereby orders this election protest dismissed, with cost against the protestant.

    The motion for reconsideration of the Order dated December 10, 1995 is now moot and academic. Ergo, the same no longer merits consideration by this Court.

    IT IS SO ORDERED." 8 (Emphasis supplied)

    Theorizing that the said action of respondent judge constituted serious misconduct, inefficiency, and gross ignorance of the law, Alfredo B. Enojas Jr. instituted the administrative case under scrutiny, praying for the dismissal of respondent judge from the service.

    On September 27, 1997, respondent judge submitted his Comment, contending that the proceedings in subject election case were above board and regular. He explained that the complaint is an exaggeration concocted by Atty. Constante P. Pimentel, lawyer of the protestant, who was scolded and reprimanded by him (respondent judge) who got irked at his (Pimentel) grandstanding during court sessions. Respondent judge described Atty. Constante P. Pimentel as an old but disrespectful and arrogant lawyer although he does not bear him ill will, hatred and rancor.chanrobles.com : virtuallawlibrary

    As regards the present charges against him, respondent judge answered in general terms, stating that there is no law, rule or regulation requiring him or any other judge, for that matter, to be perfect in all his orders, judgments or decisions, for he is only a human being susceptible to innocent errors. It is the submission of respondent judge that in his pronouncements, orders, decrees and decisions, it is enough that he be guided by the yardstick of "moral certainty" — that whatever he does, performs or decides is right and legal. What is important, he pointed out, is that his acts, actions, deeds or decisions are never tainted with dishonesty, corruption or monetary consideration.

    In seeking his exoneration from this case respondent judge theorized that there should be no more reason for the institution of the case as the same administrative complaint had been the subject of complainant’s Appeal by Certiorari to the Commission on Elections, which gave due course thereto and decided the same for complainant. According to respondent judge, when the case was remanded to the trial court for further proceedings, he voluntarily inhibited himself therefrom and subject electoral protest was reraffled to Branch 50 presided over by Judge Nelia Y. Fernandez, who decided said election protest for the complainant, who then took his oath of office as municipal mayor of Roxas, Palawan.

    Respondent judge reasoned out that he decided the said election protest in the honest belief that his action was correct, and that he was never motivated by dishonesty, fraud or corruption in issuing the Order under attack.

    On September 23, 1998, this Court referred the matter to the Office of the Court Administrator (OCA) for evaluation, report and recommendation. In a letter dated March 31 1998, the OCA required respondent judge to manifest in writing if he was amenable to have the case resolved on the basis of the pleadings on record, without further proceedings.

    On May 31, 1999, respondent judge responded that he was leaving it to the Court whether to pass upon the case on the basis of the pleadings already in or to conduct further proceedings. But respondent judge expressed the hope that the desistance earlier made by the complainant should be reason enough to dismiss the case. In the same breathe, however, respondent judge turned the tables around, sort of, and accused the complainant of attempting to bribe him Two Hundred Thousand (P200,000.00) Pesos, through a certain Herbert Bavaria, a "kumpare" of his. Respondent judge claims that the attempted bribe which he rejected was for a favorable ruling in the same election protest. As his reaction to the said rebuff, complainant resorted to the institution of the present administrative case; respondent judge maintained.

    The Office of the Court Administrator recommended the imposition of a fine of Fifteen Thousand (P15,000.00) Pesos, in view of the fact that respondent judge had been previously reprimanded and fined Ten Thousand (P10,000.00) Pesos for gross ignorance of the law. 9

    After a careful review of the records on hand, the Court discerns merit in the report and recommendation of the Office of the Court Administrator.

    To begin with, withdrawal of a complaint or subsequent desistance by the complainant in an administrative case does not necessarily warrant its dismissal. Administrative actions cannot depend on the will or pleasure of the complainant who may, for reasons of his own, condone what may be detestable. 10 Neither can the Court be bound by the unilateral act of the complainant in a matter relating to its disciplinary power. 11 The Court does not dismiss administrative cases against members of the Bench merely on the basis of withdrawal of the charges. 12 Desistance cannot divest the Court of its jurisdiction to investigate and decide the complaint against the Respondent. 13 To be sure, public interest is at stake in the conduct and actuations of officials and employees of the judiciary. And the program and efforts of this Court in improving the delivery of justice to the people should not be frustrated and put to naught by private arrangements between the parties. 14

    On the question of propriety of dismissal by respondent judge of subject election case, the root cause of the controversy sued upon, the Court is of the opinion, and so holds, that the respondent judge ignored applicable pronouncements by this Court on the matter of payment of docketing fees. Respondent judge based the assailed dismissal of subject election protest on the ruling in Manchester Development Corporation Et. Al. v. Court of Appeals, Et. Al. 15 — that a case is deemed commenced only upon the payment of the docketing fee, and the court acquires jurisdiction thereover only upon payment of the prescribed docketing fee. He erroneously cited and placed reliance on the Manchester case in dismissing the said election protest, disregarding pronouncements by the court enjoining the application of such ruling in election cases.

    In Sun Insurance Office , Ltd., Et. Al. v. Asuncion, Et Al., 16 the ruling in Manchester was modified in that it is not only the filing of the complaint or appropriate initiatory pleading but also the payment of the prescribed docketing fee, that vest jurisdiction in a trial court over the subject matter and/or nature of the action. However, where the filing of the initiatory pleading is not accompanied by payment of the docketing fee, the court may allow payment of such fee within a reasonable time but in no case beyond the prescriptive or reglementary period. 17

    Be that as it may, the Court has categorically said that the doctrine enunciated in Manchester and in later cases cannot be made to apply in election cases. Thus, in Pahilan v. Tabala, Et. Al. 18 this Court held:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary

    "Furthermore, there are strong and compelling reasons to rule that the doctrine we have established in Manchester and cases subsequent thereto cannot be made to apply to election cases.

    As we have earlier stated, the cases cited are ordinary civil actions whereas election cases are not. The rules which apply to ordinary civil actions may not necessarily serve the purpose of election cases, especially if we consider the fact that election laws are to be accorded utmost liberality in their interpretation and application, bearing in mind always that the will of the people must be upheld. Ordinary civil actions would generally involve private interests while all election cases are, at all times, invested with public interest which cannot be defeated by mere procedural or technical infirmities.

    x       x       x


    In the case now before us, and in election cases in general, it is not the amount of damages, if any, that is sought to be recovered which vests in the courts the jurisdiction to try the same. Rather, it is the nature of the action which is determinative of jurisdiction. Thus, regardless of the amount of damages claimed, the action will still have to be filed with the Regional Trial Court. In such a case, the evil sought to be avoided in Manchester and like cases will never arise. Peremptorily, there will be no occasion to apply the rulings in the cases mentioned. In addition, the filing fee to be paid in an election case is a fixed amount of P300.00. There will consequently be no opportunity for a situation to arise wherein an election contest will have to be dismissed for failure to state the exact amount of damages and thus evince an intent to deprive the Government of the docket fees due.

    x       x       x


    To summarize, the evil sought to be avoided in Manchester and similar cases can never obtain in election cases since (1) the filing fee in an election case is fixed and not dependent on the amount of damages sought to be recovered, if any; and (2) a claim for damages in an election case is merely ancillary to the main cause of action and is not even determinative of the court’s jurisdiction which is governed by the nature of the action filed."cralaw virtua1aw library

    As a matter of public policy, not every error or mistake of a judge in the performance of his official duties renders him liable. In the absence of fraud, dishonesty or corruption, the acts of a judge in his official capacity do not always constitute misconduct although the same acts may be erroneous. A judge may not be disciplined for error of judgment absent proof that such error was made with a conscious and deliberate intent to cause an injustice. This does not mean, however, that a judge need not observe propriety, discreteness and due care in the performance of his official functions. 19

    But the attendant facts and circumstances in the present administrative case, call for the exercise by the Court of its disciplinary power. The charge against the respondent judge is not a mere error of judgment but utter disregard of established rules amounting to gross ignorance of the law.

    The Pahilan case was decided by this Court on February 21, 1994, long before December 19, 1995, when the respondent judge decided the election protest in question. Being the prevailing doctrine on the matter, respondent judge was duty bound to adhere to, and apply, the same, and he cannot feign ignorance thereof because the Code of Judicial Ethics requires him to be an embodiment of, among other desirable characteristics, judicial competence. 20 It need not be stressed here that one of the principal duties to which a judge of the law must ever be faithful is that of being abreast with law and jurisprudence, since, as it has often been advanced, the administration of justice requires continuous study of the law and jurisprudence. 21 But, a perusal of the challenged order reveals that respondent judge failed to live up to what is expected of him as a dispenser of justice.chanrobles.com : law library

    Furthermore, the conclusion arrived at by him that there was deliberate non-payment of the correct docketing fees was belied by the fact that as early as August 16, 1995, Judge Salva, who was then acting on the case before he inhibited therefrom, had already issued an order for the release of the P30,000.00 deposit of complainant to be paid to the revisors and stenographer. In the same order, the balance of P15,000.00 was to be refunded to the protestant. Verily, there was no reason to accuse the latter of deliberate non-payment of docketing fees since the amount totaling P2,572.90 of which the government was supposed to have been shortchanged could have been deducted easily from the refundable amount which was still within the control of the court. Besides, one of the reasons for Judge Salva’s decision to start the revision of ballots was complainant’s showing that the required fees and deposits had been remitted. On this basis alone, the dismissal of the case by respondent judge cannot be perceived as anything but inappropriate or improper.

    Taking into account that the respondent judge was fined P10,000.00 in the aforementioned case of People v. Gacott, supra, the OCA recommended here the imposition of a fine of Fifteen Thousand (P15,000.00) Pesos.

    All things studiedly viewed in proper perspective, let alone the fact that the conduct of respondent judge under the premises was somewhat untainted with fraud, dishonesty or corruption, the court finds the recommendation of OCA in order. The Court has to consider also that the respondent judge is now sixty-six (66) years old, afflicted with hypertension and diabetes, diseases which bear heavily on his day-to-day official performance.

    The allusion that the complainant tried to bribe the respondent judge in the election case below is too unsubstantiated to call for extended disquisition.

    WHEREFORE, Judge Eustaquio Z. Gacott, Jr. is found GUILTY of gross ignorance of the law and is hereby ordered to pay a fine of Fifteen Thousand (P15,000.00) Pesos, with a warning that a repetition of the same or similar act will be punished more severely.

    SO ORDERED.chanrobles virtua| |aw |ibrary

    Davide, Jr., C.J., Bellosillo, Melo, Puno, Vitug, Kapunan, Mendoza, Panganiban, Quisumbing, Pardo, Buena, Gonzaga-Reyes, Ynares-Santiago and De Leon, Jr., JJ., concur.

    Endnotes:



    1. Order dated August 8, 1995, Annex "F" of the Complaint.

    2. On August 16, 1995, Judge Salva issued an order for the release of the P30,600.00 deposit of the protestant, P11,700.00 of which shall be paid to the revisors; P3,900.00 for the stenographer, and the balance of P15,000. 00 to be returned to the protestant.

    3. Annex "K" of the Complaint.

    4. Annex "R" and "S" of the Complaint.

    5. Annex "T" and "U" of the Complaint.

    6. On December 15, 1995, protestant filed a motion for reconsideration of the December 10, 1995 Order alleging (a) That those exhibits are public and official election records on file and certified by the proper COMELEC Officials, which are admissible under Sec. 24 Rule 132 of the Rules of Court); and (b) That the photocopying of the election returns, copy for COMELEC, were made with prior notices to the protestee by COMELEC, but who refused to witness the same because prior authority from Court was not taken.

    7. 149 SCRA 562.

    8. Annex "Z" of Complaint.

    9. People v. Gacott, Jr., 242 SCRA 514.

    10. Sandoval v. Manalo, 260 SCRA 611, 620.

    11. Ibid.

    12. Ibid.

    13. Caña v. Santos, 234 SCRA 17, 23.

    14. Ibid.

    15. Supra.

    16. 170 SCRA 274, 285.

    17. Ibid.

    18. 230 SCRA 205, 216-217.

    19. Riego et. al. v. Leachon, 268 SCRA 777, 784.

    20. Department of Social Welfare and Development v. Belen Et. Al., 275 SCRA 645, 652.

    21. Ibid.

    A.M. No. RTJ-99-1513   January 19, 2000 - ALFREDO B. ENOJAS v. EUSTAQUIO Z. GACOTT


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