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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
 

   
June-2003 Jurisprudence                 

  • G.R. No. 125297 June 6, 2003 - ELVIRA YU OH v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 143675 June 9, 2003 - SPS. ROMEO and EMILY GUDA v. ALAN A. LEYNES, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 145338 June 9, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ZALDY P. LABIANO

  • A.C. No. 4738 June 10, 2003 - VIOLETA FLORES ALITAGTAG v. VIRGILIO R. GARCIA

  • Bar Matter No. 1036 June 10, 2003 - DONNA MARIE S. AGUIRRE v. EDWIN L. RANA

  • A.M. No. 99-6-81-MTCC June 10, 2003 - REPORT ON THE JUDICIAL AUDIT CONDUCTED IN THE MTCC OF PALAYAN CITY

  • A.M. No. MTJ-99-1203 June 10, 2003 - NELIA A. ZIGA v. RAMON A. AREJOLA

  • A.M. No. P-96-1214 June 10, 2003 - BERNARDINO M. FABIAN, ET AL. v. LEILA (LAILA) M. GALO

  • A.M. No. RTJ-03-1751 June 10, 2003 - ANDREA D. DOMINGO v. ERNESTO P. PAGAYATAN

  • G.R. No. 111159 June 10, 2003 - NORDIC ASIA LIMITED, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 116463 June 10, 2003 - REPUBLIC OF THE PHIL. thru the DPWH v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 119293 June 10, 2003 - SAN MIGUEL CORP. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 123054 June 10, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. FAUSTO B. OBEDO

  • G.R. No. 125778 June 10, 2003 - INTER-ASIA INVESTMENTS INDUSTRIES, INC. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 125838 June 10, 2003 - DEVELOPMENT BANK OF THE PHIL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 126281 June 10, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. SERGIO A. CARATAO

  • G.R. No. 131842 June 10, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. DIONISIO JACKSON

  • G.R. No. 139561 June 10, 2003 - SPS. FEDERICO & SARAH ATUEL, ET AL. v. SPS. BERNABE & CONCHITA VALDEZ

  • G.R. No. 141115 June 10, 2003 - POSADAS-MOYA and ASSOC. CONST. CO. v. GREENFIELD DEV’T. CORP.

  • G.R. No. 142467 June 10, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ABELARDO DE CASTRO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 143076 June 10, 2003 - PHILIPPINE RURAL ELECTRIC COOPERATIVES ASSOCIATION, ET AL. v. SECRETARY, DILG, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 143125 June 10, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL .vs. DIOSDADO R. CORIAL

  • G.R. No. 144157 June 10, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. LOWELL SALUDES

  • G.R. Nos. 144523-26 June 10, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. FLORENTINO QUIJANO SR.

  • G.R. Nos. 145452-53 June 10, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. LARRY CARITATIVO

  • G.R. Nos. 146749 & 147938 June 10, 2003 - CHINA BANKING CORP. v. COURT OF APPEALS

  • G.R. No. 149154 June 10, 2003 - RODOLFO S. DE JESUS, ET AL. v. COMMISSION ON AUDIT

  • G.R. No. 150611 June 10, 2003 - JACINTO SAGUID v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 153660 June 10, 2003 - PRUDENCIO BANTOLINO, ET AL. v. COCA-COLA BOTTLERS PHILS.

  • A.M. No. RTJ-02-1724 June 12, 2003 - RODOLFO O. MACACHOR v. ROLINDO D. BELDIA JR.

  • G.R. No. 138541 June 12, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. JOSE LARRY COLONIA

  • G.R. No. 148327 June 12, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ROMEO P. DESALISA

  • A.M. No. P-03-1679 June 16, 2003 - OFFICE OF THE COURT ADMINISTRATOR v. BEL EDUARDO F. NITAFAN, ET AL.

  • A.M. No. SCC-03-08 June 16, 2003 - ERMELYN A. LIMBONA v. CASAN ALI LIMBONA

  • G.R. No. 95901 June 16, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ANTONIO B. SIBONGA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 138692 June 16, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. OSCAR AREO

  • G.R. Nos. 141280-81 June 16, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. RICKY L. SODSOD, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 144589 June 16, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. JUANITO PACUANCUAN

  • G.R. No. 149683 June 16, 2003 - ILOILO TRADERS FINANCE INC. v. HEIRS OF OSCAR SORIANO JR., ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 149750 June 16, 2003 - AURORA ALCANTARA-DAUS v. SPS. HERMOSO & SOCORRO DE LEON

  • A.M. No. MTJ-96-1106 June 17, 2003 - CELESTINA B. CORPUZ v. ORLANDO ANA F. SIAPNO

  • A.M. No. RTJ-02-1710 June 17, 2003 - EVANGELINA C. SAMSON v. JULES A. MEDIA

  • A.M. No. RTJ-03-1784 June 17, 2003 - MANUEL M. ROSALES v. ROMULO S.G. VILLANUEVA

  • G.R. No. 123146 June 17, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ALONA BULI-E, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 128225 June 17, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. DANTE A. NARRA

  • G.R. No. 137042 June 17, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. FELIPE MUSA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 144225 June 17, 2003 - SPS. GODOFREDO and CARMEN ALFREDO v. SPS. ARMANDO and ADELIA BORRAS

  • G.R. No. 145993 June 17, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. RUFINO I. MALLARI

  • G.R. No. 148668 June 17, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. TONY L. PEDRONAN

  • G.R. No. 151440 June 17, 2003 - HEIRS OF SIMPLICIO SANTIAGO v. HEIRS OF MARIANO E. SANTIAGO

  • A.M. No. MTJ-03-1493 June 18, 2003 - RENE BOY GOMEZ v. MANUEL D. PATALINGHUG, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 123161 June 18, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. LIBERATO SOLAMILLO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 125305 June 18, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. BERNABE MONTEMAYOR

  • G.R. Nos. 127756-58 June 18, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. BENJAMIN P. MEDINA SR.

  • G.R. Nos. 131926 & 138991 June 18, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. MICHAEL U. PAGALASAN, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 134981 June 18, 2003 - FREDELITO P. VITTO v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 135857 June 18, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ADRIANO ARCA

  • G.R. Nos. 140439-40 June 18, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. FELIX HERMOSA

  • G.R. No. 144975 June 18, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. AMADOR SAPIGAO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 149147 June 18, 2003 - FELIX BAROT v. COMELEC CITY BOARD OF CANVASSERS OF TANJAY CITY, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 150327 June 18, 2003 - REPUBLIC OF THE PHIL. v. MARILYN A. PERALTA, ET AL.

  • A.M. No. 01-6-314-RTC June 19, 2003 - RE: REQUEST OF JUDGE ROBERTO S. JAVELLANA, RTC-BR. 59, SAN CARLOS CITY

  • A.M. No. MTJ-92-710 June 19, 2003 - PEDRITA M. HARAYO v. JUDGE MAMERTO Y. COLIFLORES

  • G.R. No. 154411 June 19, 2003 - NATIONAL HOUSING AUTHORITY v. HEIRS OF ISIDRO GUIVELONDO, ET AL.

  • A.M. No. P-03-1701 June 20, 2003 - BALTAZAR LL. FIRMALO v. MELINDA C. QUIERREZ

  • A.M. No. RTJ-00-1594 June 20, 2003 - PASTOR SALUD v. FLORENTINO M. ALUMBRES

  • G.R. No. 122766 June 20, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. FELIPE ESPONILLA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 127275 June 20, 2003 - PHILIPPINE COMMERCIAL INTERNATIONAL BANK v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 130759 June 20, 2003 - ASIATRUST DEVELOPMENT BANK v. CONCEPTS TRADING CORP.

  • G.R. No. 139332 June 20, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL v. NOLI A. NOVIO

  • G.R. No. 140698 June 20, 2003 - ROGELIO ENGADA v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 142503 June 20, 2003 - ROMUALDO C. PEREZ v. APOLONIO CRUZ

  • G.R. No. 142820 June 20, 2003 - WOLFGANG O. ROEHR v. MARIA CARMEN D. RODRIGUEZ, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 143604 June 20, 2003 - PRISCO LANZADERAS, ET AL. v. AMETHYST SECURITY AND GENERAL SERVICES, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 146595 June 20, 2003 - CARLO A. TAN v. KAAKBAY FINANCE CORP., ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 152436 June 20, 2003 - NPC v. SPS. IGMEDIO CHIONG, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 152766 June 20, 2003 - LILIA SANCHEZ v. COURT OF APPEALS

  • G.R. No. 140872 June 23, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. PABLITO T. INGGO

  • G.R. Nos. 142683-84 June 23, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. SERGIO JOROLAN

  • G.R. Nos. 143760-63 June 23, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ROMEO B. MANLUCTAO

  • G.R. No. 144018 June 23, 2003 - FAR EAST BANK AND TRUST CO. v. TOMAS TOH, SR., ET AL.

  • A.C. No. 3849 June 25, 2003 - FELICIDAD VDA. DE BERNARDO v. JOSE R. RESTAURO

  • G.R. Nos. 105416-17, 111863 & 143715 June 25, 2003 - PHILIPP BROTHERS OCEANIC, INC. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 122109 June 25, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. JESUS TORIO

  • G.R. No. 123896 June 25, 2003 - ROSALINDA SERRANO v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 126113 June 25, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ANTONIO B. GUIHAMA

  • G.R. No. 135323 June 25, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. EDELMA LAGATA

  • G.R. No. 136773 June 25, 2003 - MILAGROS MANONGSONG v. FELOMENA JUMAQUIO ESTIMO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 146018 June 25, 2003 - EDGAR COKALIONG SHIPPING LINES v. UCPB GENERAL INSURANCE COMPANY

  • G.R. Nos. 147589 & 147613 June 25, 2003 - ANG BAGONG BAYANI-OFW LABOR PARTY v. COMELEC, ET AL.

  • A.M. No. P-01-1472 June 26, 2003 - ADRIANO V. ALBIOR v. DONATO A. AUGUIS

  • A.M. No. P-02-1544 June 26, 2003 - ERNESTO LUMANTA v. WILFREDO M. TUPAS

  • A.M. No. RTJ-02-1670 June 26, 2003 - SPS. CAROLINA AND VILLAMOR GRAGERA v. PABLO B. FRANCISCO

  • A.M. No. RTJ-02-1736 June 26, 2003 - SPS. ARTURO and JOSEFINA DE GUZMAN v. FERNANDO VIL PAMINTUAN

  • A.M. No. RTJ-99-1519 June 26, 2003 - GREGORIO LIMPOT LUMAPAS v. CAMILO E. TAMIN

  • G.R. No. 137296 June 26, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. DIONISIO Q. VICENTE

  • G.R. No. 140967 June 26, 2003 - EMERITA ACOSTA v. EMILIO ENRIQUEZ

  • G.R. No. 141863 June 26, 2003 - BASILIO RIVERA, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 144090 June 26, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. MICHAEL S. MAGUING

  • G.R. No. 145305 June 26, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. REDANTE C. SANTOS

  • G.R. No. 145731 June 26, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. GREGORIO GERAL, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 148730 June 26, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. JOSE D. DELA CRUZ, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 154705 June 26, 2003 - REPUBLIC OF INDONESIA, ET AL. v. JAMES VINZON

  • G.R. No. 121828 June 27, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. RENE GAYOT PILOLA

  • G.R. Nos. 124830-31 June 27, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. GERARDO P. EVINA

  • G.R. No. 138993 June 27, 2003 - PHILIPPINE VETERANS BANK v. SANTIAGO G. ESTRELLA, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 139217–24 June 27, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. NELSON ESPERANZA

  • G.R. No. 143643 June 27, 2003 - NATIONAL POWER CORPORATION v. SPS. JOSE & MA. CLARA CAMPOS

  •  





     
     

    A.M. No. MTJ-92-710   June 19, 2003 - PEDRITA M. HARAYO v. JUDGE MAMERTO Y. COLIFLORES

     
    PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT DECISIONS

    SECOND DIVISION

    [A.M. No. MTJ-92-710. June 19, 2003.]

    PEDRITA M. HARAYO, Complainant, v. JUDGE MAMERTO Y. COLIFLORES, Respondent.

    D E C I S I O N


    BELLOSILLO, J.:


    Complainant Pedrita M. Harayo, former clerk-stenographer, Municipal Trial Court, Minglanilla, Cebu, in a sworn complaint dated 15 September 1992, charged respondent Judge Mamerto Y. Coliflores, Presiding Judge of the same court, with grave misconduct for (a) dismissing for monetary consideration Crim. Case No. 2307 for violation of PD No. 1866 1 and Crim. Case No. 2308 for violation of RA No. 6425; 2 (b) assigning Court Aide Jose M. Agosto as domestic helper and driver of respondent’s passenger jeepney; (c) solemnizing illegal marriages and collecting fees therefor; (d) allowing her name (complainant’s) to be placed as witness in a marriage contract by forging her signature; (e) falsifying the date when he signed the verification portion of the complaint and the joint affidavit of the arresting officers in Crim. Case No. 2388; and, (f) changing for monetary consideration the joint affidavit of arresting officers Jerome Abatayo, Erasmo Gako and Eugene Hernani relative to Crim. Cases Nos. 2307 and 2308.chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary

    In a related letter-complaint dated 7 September 1992 complainant Pedrita Harayo charged respondents Josefina R. Hermosa and Jose M. Agosto, Clerk of Court and Court Aide respectively, of MTC, Minglanilla, Cebu, with falsification of entries in their daily time record and daily attendance book.

    By way of comment, respondent Judge denied the allegations in the complaint and countered that complainant might have been prompted to file the instant complaint after he indorsed Josefina Hermosa over complainant for the position of Clerk of Court II. He added that complainant likewise vented her ire on Hermosa and Agosto when Hermosa did not accede to her request not to pursue her application for Clerk of Court, and the latter, when he chided her about her belligerent attitude towards Hermosa and his remark that after all she (complainant) was not qualified for the position she was seeking and even as court stenographer since she had no knowledge of steno-typing.

    On the matter of the illegal marriage, charged in the complaint, respondent claimed that he desisted from officiating the marriages upon discovery that the documents were not complete despite assurances by complainant to the contrary.

    This Court in a resolution dated 23 February 1993 referred the instant case to the Office of the Court Administrator (OCA) for evaluation, report and recommendation. Thereafter, the OCA submitted its memorandum dated 29 March 1993 prepared by Deputy Court Administrator Eutropio Migriño recommending the dismissal of the complaints for lack of merit.

    On 11 May 1993 the Court again passed a resolution referring the instant case to Executive Judge Generoso Juaban of the Regional Trial Court, Cebu, for investigation, report and recommendation. In his report, Judge Juaban recommended that respondent be exonerated on the first and third charges, i.e., that he dismissed cases for monetary consideration, and that he utilized Court Aide Jose Agosto as his domestic helper and personal driver. However, on the charge that he performed illegal marriages, Judge Juaban recommended that respondent be admonished and his salary equivalent to one (1) or two (2) months be suspended for having signed three (3) marriage contracts before the corresponding marriage licenses were obtained by the parties. Judge Juaban reported that —

    While there is no hard proof that respondent Judge demanded money in the solemnization of these marriages, suspicion is strong that there could be some monetary consideration. The investigator now seems to doubt the verity of respondent’s denial. If the marriage contracts were signed by him and no solemnization ever had, as he alleges, because he desisted from doing so in the first instance, why did he repeat the same procedure in the second and the third time? Signing the marriage contracts before the marriage licenses were so obtained on these three (3) marriages is indicative of respondent’s imprudence in this respect that calls for appropriate measures of admonition. 3

    On 9 August 1994 this Court referred the report of Judge Juaban to the OCA for further evaluation, report and recommendation. Accordingly, on 15 September 1994 the OCA submitted a memorandum essentially adopting the recommendations of Investigating Judge Juaban but with the proposal that with regard to the second charge, respondent be fined in the amount equivalent to his one (1) month salary.

    In an En Banc resolution dated 30 May 1995, the Supreme Court noted that the report of Judge Juaban failed to address certain key issues which were likewise raised in the complaint, namely: (a) that respondent allowed complainant’s name to be placed as witness in the marriage contract signed by Emmanuel Plantar and Elizabeth Nacor on 10 May 1989 by forging her signature; (b) that he falsified the date when he signed the verification portion of the complaint and the joint affidavit of the arresting officers in Crim. Case No. 2388 by making it appear that he was in the office and signed the documents on 15 August 1992 when in fact it was only on 20 August 1992 that he went to the court and signed the same; and, (c) that for monetary consideration, he changed the joint affidavit of the arresting officers in order to lay the groundwork for the dismissal of Crim. Cases Nos. 2307 and 2308.

    In justifying the inclusion of the above-mentioned charges, the Court opined that these accusations should have been included in the investigation as they were embodied in the reply of complainant to the comment of respondent Judge. Consequently, the Court directed the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), Cebu City, to conduct an investigation and submit its report and recommendation on the (a) alleged forgery of complainant’s signature on the marriage contract signed by Emmanuel Plantar and Elizabeth Nacor on 10 May 1989; and (b) purported falsification of the joint affidavit of the arresting officers in Crim. Cases Nos. 2307 and 2308, and of the date affixed in the verification of the complaint in Crim. Case No. 2388.chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary

    In partial compliance with the Court’s directive, the NBI through Regional Director Florencio Villarin submitted a report on 2 November 1995 which contained its findings and conclusions on the examination of the marriage contract containing complainant’s alleged forged signature. It concluded that" (t)he questioned signatures ‘Pedrita Harayo’ and the standard/sample signatures and handwritings of one ‘Pedrita Harayo’ were not written by one and the same person." 4

    With respect to the alleged falsification of the joint affidavit of the arresting officers, and of the date affixed in the verification of the complaint in Crim. Case No. 2388, the NBI reports disclosed the following:" (a) as regards the joint affidavit executed on 23 August 1991,." . . indicative that they were not typed from one and the same source/typewriter, 5 (b) as regards the joint affidavit executed on 15 August 1992." . . indicative that they were not typed from one and the same source/typewriter;" 6 and (c) "the questioned and the standard sample/signatures (of) Jesus P. Carel WERE WRITTEN by one and the same person. The questioned typewritten entries/figures reading ‘15’ is NOT altered." 7

    Upon receipt of the last report of the NBI, the Second Division of this Court again referred the matter to the OCA which in turn recommended that the matter be "REFERRED BACK" to the executive judge of RTC, Cebu, for a more exhaustive investigation, report and recommendation, particularly on those matters raised by the complainant but were not touched in the investigation conducted by former Executive Judge Generoso Juaban.

    On 8 January 2003, Investigating Judge Galicano Arriesgado, who replaced Judge Generoso Juaban as Executive Judge, RTC-Cebu, together with Judges Isaias Dicdican and Pampio Abarintos, First Vice-Executive Judge and Second Vice-Executive Judge, respectively, submitted their report with the recommendation that all the charges against respondent Judge be dismissed for lack of merit. 8 In arriving at their findings and conclusions, the Investigating Judges said — 9

    On the charge that respondent judge allowed the forging of complainant’s signature in the marriage contract . . . no sufficient proof was adduced that respondent judge had personal knowledge, much less, allowed the commission of the forgery. While it is true that the NBI result impliedly reported a forgery, however, the same cannot be directly pointed to Respondent. . . .

    On the second charge of falsifying the date in the verification portion of the joint affidavit of the police officers in Criminal Case 2388, the investigation revealed a total lack of evidence to support the same . . . . In the absence of proof to the contrary, the best evidence is the document, which has been, for all intents, proven not only to be regular, but also to be without any alterations. Hence, in the normal course of things, it is logical to presume that the document was signed by respondent on the 15th and have been filed with and received by the court on the 18th as appearing on the official stamp . . . .

    On the charge that respondent judge changed the joint affidavits of the arresting officers in order to facilitate the dismissal of Criminal Cases Nos. 2307 and 2308, the same June 1, 2000 report of the NBI did not yield conclusive results that the questioned affidavits were typed at the MTC Minglanilla . . . .

    On the first charge, there is absolutely no proof, other than the unsubstantiated allegation of the complainant, that respondent Judge had received pecuniary consideration from a brother of the accused in exchange for the dismissal of Crim. Cases Nos. 2307 and 2308. If we were to believe complainant’s account of the incident, the payoff was supposed to have been made outside the chambers of respondent Judge and in the presence of lawyers and court employees; in other words, in open public view — a venue which no sensible perpetrator of a crime would choose as it would unnecessarily expose him to the dangers of eventual prosecution. Moreover, her allusion that respondent offered her P100.00, apparently as goodwill money, becomes even more preposterous considering that a considerable amount, P15,000.00 or P20,000.00, was supposed to have changed hands. As pointed out by respondent, P100.00 is an amount too miniscule to buy the silence of a potential witness to a crime.

    On the second charge, we also find unpersuasive complainant’s allegation that respondent improperly utilized the services of Court Aide Jose Agosto as domestic helper and driver of his passenger jeepney. This bare accusation, devoid of corroboration, cannot nudge this Court into precipitate belief.

    On the charge that respondent Judge solemnized civil marriages for exorbitant fees without the requisite marriage license, the records would reveal that on three (3) different occasions he had indeed signed marriage contracts, which were undated as to the time the marriages were solemnized and with the space provided for the license number left blank.

    In his comment, respondent Judge denied having solemnized marriages without a license. He explained that in the first instance involving the marriage between Didier and Basan, he signed the marriage contract only after assurances were made by complainant that the papers were in order but collected said documents back and kept them inside his drawer soon after learning that the marriage license was indeed missing. In the other two (2) instances, he also denied having officiated at the marriage between Bin Osman and Librea and that of Cabreros and Batto when informed that the contracting parties could not produce their respective marriage licenses.

    Indeed, there is nothing in the records that would indicate that respondent had in fact solemnized the marriages without the mandated license. After all, who could best prove the existence of this fact other than the contracting parties themselves? Nonetheless, there is an inescapable showing that in at least three (3) different occasions respondent Judge actually signed the marriage contracts, admittedly prior to the issuance of the licenses.

    Be that as it may, we cannot reject outright, in the absence of a more convincing evidence en contra by the complainant, the verity of respondent’s assertion that he desisted from performing marriages upon learning of the contracting parties’ failure to produce the requisite marriage licenses, which was corroborated by other defense witnesses. But we cannot also help but register our strong suspicion that there are more serious irregularities than meet the eye behind respondent’s actuations. Committing the same act of imprudence three (3) times is one too many for comfort, casting respondent’s motives in serious question. In the absence however of clear and convincing proof that he actually solemnized the three (3) marriages without the marriage licenses, no culpability of such nature can be ascribed to him.

    Nonetheless, respondent’s admission of signing the marriage contracts before the issuance of the requisite marriage licenses, although not necessarily fraudulent, amounts to gross negligence, if not gross irresponsibility, in performing his official functions.

    On the charge of forgery by respondent of complainant’s signature as witness in a marriage contract, there appears to be sufficient basis for the conclusion of the NBI of an implied forgery on the documents in question although there is no direct evidence on who actually committed the forgery. But the fact is that it happened with respondent’s apparent tolerance, if not acquiescence, for which he should be held accountable.

    As regards the allegation of complainant that respondent falsified the date when he signed the verification portion of the complaint and the joint affidavit of the arresting officers in Crim. Case No. 2388, and that he changed for monetary consideration the joint affidavit of the arresting officers in connection with Crim. Cases Nos. 2307 and 2308, we can only rely, in the absence of proof to the contrary, on the findings of the NBI that no alterations were made on the subject documents.

    In sum, respondent, for gratuitously signing marriage contracts in utter disregard of its legal effects, had been remiss in his duty of exercising due care and circumspection in the performance of his official duties. In doing so, he exhibited a cavalier proclivity of ignoring the norms of diligence, efficiency, competence and dedication expected of a man donning a judicial robe. Thus, he deserves a more severe disciplinary sanction than that recommended.

    Although the accusations against respondent Judge do not appear to have been fully substantiated, the Court cannot let him go unpunished. In Negre v. Rivera, 10 we admonished a municipal judge for signing a marriage contract where no marriage license had been issued. Considering that in the instant case, respondent repeatedly committed these procedural gaffes, a penalty more severe must be meted against him.

    His serious negligence and irresponsibility in signing three (3) marriage contracts, allegedly in blank, and without the requisite marriage license are simply too palpable for this Court to assume an air of nonchalance and suspend in midair the fall of the gavel when it should.

    WHEREFORE, the recommendations of Investigating Judges Generoso Juaban and Galicano Arriesgado are APPROVED, particularly exonerating respondent Judge Mamerto Y. Coliflores of the charges against him, with the exception of his act of signing the three (3) marriage contracts without the required marriage licenses for which the Court finds him administratively liable and is ORDERED suspended immediately for one (1) month and to pay a fine equivalent to two (2) months salary which shall be withheld from his retirement benefits when he retires.chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary

    SO ORDERED.

    Quisumbing and Callejo, Sr., JJ., concur.

    Austria-Martinez, J., is on leave.

    Endnotes:



    1. Codifying the laws on illegal/unlawful possession, manufacture, dealing in, acquisition or disposition, of firearms, ammunition or explosives or instruments used in the manufacture of firearms, ammunition or explosives, and imposing stiffer penalties for certain violations thereof and for relevant purposes.

    2. The Dangerous Drugs Act of 1972.

    3. Original Records, p. 327.

    4. Rollo, p. 346.

    5. Appearing in NBI report dated 1 June 2000 and 12 July 1999; see Investigation Report and Recommendation submitted by Investigating Judges Galicano Arriesgado, Isaias Dicdican and Pampio Abarintos; Rollo (no pagination).

    6. Ibid.

    7. Ibid.

    8. Ibid.

    9. Ibid.

    10. A.M. No. 343-MTJ, 22 June 1976, 71 SCRA 498.

    A.M. No. MTJ-92-710   June 19, 2003 - PEDRITA M. HARAYO v. JUDGE MAMERTO Y. COLIFLORES


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