ChanRobles™ Virtual Law Library | chanrobles.com™  
Main Index Law Library Philippine Laws, Statutes & Codes Latest Legal Updates Philippine Legal Resources Significant Philippine Legal Resources Worldwide Legal Resources Philippine Supreme Court Decisions United States Jurisprudence
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)
 

 
Chan Robles Virtual Law Library
 









 

 
UNITED STATES SUPREME COURT JURISPRUDENCE
 

 
PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT JURISPRUDENCE
 

   
September-2003 Jurisprudence                 

  • A.M. No. P-03-1705 September 2, 2003 - BALDOMERO DE VERA SOLIMAN, JR. v. PRINCESITO D. SORIANO

  • G.R. No. 138238 September 2, 2003 - EDUARDO BALITAOSAN v. SECRETARY OF EDUCATION, CULTURE AND SPORTS

  • G.R. No. 146980 September 2, 2003 - LUZ E. TAGANAS, ET AL. v. MELITON G. EMUSLAN, ET AL.

  • A.C. No. 3967 September 3, 2003 - ARTEMIO ENDAYA v. WILFREDO OCA

  • A.C. No. 6084 September 3, 2003 - FELICITAS BERBANO v. WENCESLAO BARCELONA

  • A.M. No. 02-10-614-RTC September 3, 2003 - RE: EDITORIAL OF THE NEGROS CHRONICLE AND OTHER CHARGES OF A CONCERNED CITIZEN AGAINST JUDGE ROGELIO CARAMPATAN

  • A.M. No. OCA-01-6 September 3, 2003 - DOMINADOR V. ASPIRAS v. ESMERALDA ABALOS

  • A.M. No. P-01-1466 September 3, 2003 - EDUARDO F. BAGO v. JOEL FERAREN

  • A.M. No. RTJ-99-1501 September 3, 2003 - ROMEO E. EJERCITO v. ILDEFONSO B. SUERTE

  • G.R. No. 131915 September 3, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. EDDIE LACHICA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 136274 September 3, 2003 - SUNFLOWER NEIGHBORHOOD ASSOCIATION, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 139400 September 3, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. MAURICIO WATIWAT

  • G.R. No. 140652 September 3, 2003 - OLIVERIO LAPERAL v. PABLO V. OCAMPO

  • G.R. No. 144312 September 3, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. CHUA TAN LEE

  • G.R. No. 145737 September 3, 2003 - CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION v. EVELYN P. CAYOBIT

  • G.R. No. 149617 September 3, 2003 - MARIANO JOAQUIN S. MACIAS v. MARGIE CORPUS MACIAS

  • G.R. No. 141527 September 4, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. RANDY G. BOCALAN

  • A.M. No. RTJ-03-1788 September 5, 2003 - JORGE F. ABELLA v. FRANCISCO L. CALINGIN

  • A.M. No. MTJ-02-1430 September 8, 2003 - ROMEO B. SENSON v. HERIBERTO M. PANGILINAN

  • G.R. No. 128296 September 8, 2003 - NASIPIT LUMBER CO., ET AL. v. NATIONAL WAGES AND PRODUCTIVITY COMMISSION, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 152957 September 8, 2003 - FAUSTINO ESQUIVEL v. EDUARDO REYES

  • A.M. No. MTJ-03-1480 September 10, 2003 - TRINIDAD CABAHUG v. JASPER JESSE G. DACANAY

  • G.R. No. 91486 September 10, 2003 - ALBERTO G. PINLAC, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 107271 September 10, 2003 - CITY OF CALOOCAN, ET AL. v. MAURO T. ALLARDE, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 125329 September 10, 2003 - ANN BRIGITT LEONARDO, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 140762 September 10, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ROGER C. ROXAS

  • G.R. No. 148912 September 10, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. TIMOTEO ESCARLOS

  • G.R. No. 151212 September 10, 2003 - TEN FORTY REALTY AND DEVELOPMENT CORP. v. MARINA CRUZ

  • A.M. No. P-02-1562 September 11, 2003 - ROMULO SG. VILLANUEVA v. CHARLIE C. LARCENA

  • A.M. No. RTJ-02-1742 September 11, 2003 - AVELINA MADULA v. RUTH CRUZ SANTOS

  • G.R. Nos. 136286-89 September 11, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. EFREN G. DE TAZA

  • G.R. No. 138366 September 11, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. RUBEN CAÑETE, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 138569 September 11, 2003 - CONSOLIDATED BANK and TRUST CORP. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 144785 September 11, 2003 - YOLANDA GARCIA v. PEOPLE OF THE PHIL.

  • G.R. No. 145407 September 11, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. LEONITO HEREVESE

  • G.R. No. 151081 September 11, 2003 - TOP RATE CONSTRUCTION & GENERAL SERVICES v. PAXTON DEV’T. CORP., ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 153126 September 11, 2003 - MONTEREY FOODS CORP., ET AL. v. VICTORINO E. ESERJOSE

  • G.R. No. 153845 September 11, 2003 - EFREN P. SALVAN v. PEOPLE OF THE PHIL.

  • A.M. No. RTJ-03-1799 September 12, 2003 - MARIA CRISTINA OLONDRIZ PERTIERRA v. ALBERTO L. LERMA

  • G.R. No. 127206 September 12, 2003 - PERLA PALMA GIL v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 135029 September 12, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. NESTOR CARRIAGA

  • G.R. No. 141600 September 12, 2003 - ROBERTO FULGENCIO, ET AL. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 144639 September 12, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. BENNY GO

  • G.R. Nos. 144972-73 September 12, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. RODOLFO JUNAS

  • G.R. No. 133365 September 16, 2003 - PLATINUM TOURS AND TRAVEL, INC. v. JOSE M. PANLILIO

  • G.R. Nos. 147814-15 September 16, 2003 - RAUL ZAPATOS v. PEOPLE OF THE PHIL.

  • G.R. No. 155278 September 16, 2003 - PRUDENCIO J. TANJUAN v. PHIL. POSTAL SAVINGS BANK

  • A.M. No. P-03-1740 September 17, 2003 - FRANKLIN Q. SUSA v. TEOFILA A. PEÑA

  • A.M. No. RTJ-01-1656 September 17, 2003 - EDGARDO D. BALSAMO v. PEDRO L. SUAN

  • G.R. No. 141120 September 17, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. FERNANDO BUENAVIDEZ

  • G.R. No. 146125 September 17, 2003 - NOVELTY PHIL., INC. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • A.M. No. MTJ-01-1347 September 18, 2003 - BENJAMIN TUDTUD v. MAMERTO Y. COLIFLORES

  • A.M. No. P-00-1370 September 18, 2003 - ALEJANDRO PAREDES, ET AL. v. JERRY MARCELINO

  • A.M. No. P-01-1510 September 18, 2003 - MARY ANN PADUGANAN-PEÑARANDA v. GRACE L. SONGCUYA

  • A.M. No. P-03-1691 September 18, 2003 - JOSE S. SAÑEZ v. CARLOS B. RABINA

  • A.M. No. P-03-1703 September 18, 2003 - EDNA FE F. AQUINO v. JOSE R. MARTIN

  • A.M. No. P-03-1724 September 18, 2003 - VICENTE ALVAREZ, Jr. v. JOSE R. MARTIN

  • A.M. No. P-03-1742 September 18, 2003 - SALVADOR L. BERNABE v. WINSTON T. EGUIA

  • G.R. No. 135559 September 18, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. MORENO OCUMEN

  • G.R. No. 135563 September 18, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. BOBBY P. SANCHEZ

  • G.R. No. 144913 September 18, 2003 - PEOPLE OF PHIL. v. GERONIMO C. CENIZA

  • G.R. No. 149627 September 18, 2003 - KENNETH O. NADELA v. CITY OF CEBU, ET AL..

  • G.R. No. 152351 September 18, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. JAMIL MALA

  • G.R. No. 152604 September 18, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. LEONCIO S.PEDRIGAL

  • G.R. No. 153571 September 18, 2003 - BENGUET MANAGEMENT CORP. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 156259 September 18, 2003 - GROGUN, INC. v. NAPOCOR

  • G.R. No. 157957 September 18, 2003 - CHARITO NAVAROSA v. COMELEC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 142974 September 22, 2003 - SPS. SHEM G. ALFARERO and AURELIA TAGALOG v. SPS. PETRA and SANCHO SEVILLA

  • G.R. No. 152529 September 22, 2003 - SPS. HENDRIK and ALICIA S. BIESTERBOS v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • A.M. No. MTJ-02-1450 September 23, 2003 - RAMIRO S. DE JOYA v. AUGUSTUS C. DIAZ

  • A.M. No. MTJ-03-1509 September 23, 2003 - HELEN GAMBOA-MIJARES v. MANUEL Q. LIMSIACO, JR., ET AL.

  • A.M. No. P-03-1732 September 23, 2003 - ROSENINA O. UY, ET AL. v. LOLITA R. EDILO

  • G.R. No. 123140 September 23, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. BERNARDO CORTEZANO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 135446 September 23, 2003 - COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE v. BPI

  • G.R. No. 136729 September 23, 2003 - ASTRO ELECTRONICS CORP., ET AL. v. PHIL. EXPORT AND FOREIGN LOAN GUARANTEE CORP.

  • G.R. Nos. 138716-19 September 23, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. JOSE PILLAS

  • G.R. No. 138725 September 23, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ALBERTO OLIVAR

  • G.R. No. 139360 September 23, 2003 - HLC CONSTRUCTION AND DEV’T. CORP., ET AL. v. EHSHA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 140982 September 23, 2003 - MARIO GUTIERREZ v. SINGER SEWING MACHINE COMPANY, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 141434 September 23, 2003 - ANTONIO LO v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 143132 September 23, 2003 - VAN MELLE PHILS. ET AL. v. VICTOR M. ENDAYA

  • G.R. No. 144533 September 23, 2003 - JIMMY L. BARNES v. TERESITA C. REYES, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 146786-88 September 23, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ANDRES T. DAÑO

  • G.R. No. 149295 September 23, 2003 - PHILIPPINE NATIONAL BANK v. GENEROSO DE JESUS

  • G.R. No. 149370 September 23, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. MARTIN ALEJO

  • G.R. No. 150905 September 23, 2003 - CITIBANK v. EFREN S. TEODORO

  • G.R. No. 151072 September 23, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. FELIPE NATIVIDAD, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 151931 September 23, 2003 - ANAMER SALAZAR v. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 152823-24 September 23, 2003 - RUFINA CHUA v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 152998 September 23, 2003 - SIMON Q. AÑONUEVO, JR., ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 156295 September 23, 2003 - MARCELO R. SORIANO v. SPS. RICARDO and ROSALINA GALIT

  • G.R. No. 156983 September 23, 2003 - In the Matter of the Application for the Habeas Corpus of JOSE VICTOR RIGOR y DANAO v. The Superintendent

  • A.M. No. P-00-1418 September 24, 2003 - OFFICE OF THE COURT ADMINISTRATOR v. CELESTINA B. CORPUZ

  • G.R. No. 124293 September 24, 2003 - JG SUMMIT HOLDINGS v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 130087 September 24, 2003 - DIANA M. BARCELONA v. CA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 136726 September 24, 2003 - PANFILO V. VILLARUEL v. REYNALDO D. FERNANDO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 148924 September 24, 2003 - TOYOTA MOTOR PHILS. v. CA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 153781 September 24, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. MATEO GREGORIO, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 153885 & 156214 September 24, 2003 - LEPANTO CONSOLIDATED MINING CO. v. WMC RESOURCES INTERNATIONAL PTY. LTD.

  • A.M. No. RTJ-03-1746 September 26, 2003 - ROGER F. BORJA v. ZORAYDA H. SALCEDO

  • G.R. No. 130330 September 26, 2003 - FERNANDO GO v. MICHAEL TAN and LOLITA TAN

  • G.R. No. 141217 September 26, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. EUSEBIO DUBAN

  • G.R. No. 144037 September 26, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. NOEL P. TUDTUD, ET AL.

  • A.C. No. 5480 September 29, 2003 - LEILANI OCAMPO-INGCOCO, ET AL. v. ALEJANDRO G. YRREVERRE, JR.

  • G.R. Nos. 137370-71 September 29, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. RAUL OCO

  • G.R. No. 139185 September 29, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ALFONSO RIVERA

  • G.R. No. 148902 September 29, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. DANILO ANDRADE

  • G.R. No. 149718 September 29, 2003 - MARIO VALEROSO v. PEOPLE OF THE PHIL.

  • G.R. No. 152057 September 29, 2003 - PT & T CORP. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • A.C. No. 5854 September 30, 2003 - NORA E. MIWA v. RENE O. MEDINA

  • G.R. No. 127593 September 30, 2003 - CLARA C. DE LA CRUZ, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 136742-43 September 30, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. DANILO Y. ALFARO

  • G.R. Nos. 140514-15 September 30, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. JUNE IGNAS

  • G.R. No. 142751 September 30, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. RODRIGO OPELIÑA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 143010 September 30, 2003 - MIGUEL DANOFRATA v. PEOPLE OF THE PHIL.

  • G.R. No. 144230 September 30, 2003 - ARTURO G. MACKAY v. ADORACION G. ANGELES, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 148332 September 30, 2003 - NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT COMPANY v. MADRIGAL WAN HAI LINES CORP.

  •  





     
     

    A.M. No. RTJ-99-1501   September 3, 2003 - ROMEO E. EJERCITO v. ILDEFONSO B. SUERTE

     
    PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT DECISIONS

    SECOND DIVISION

    [A.M. No. RTJ-99-1501. September 3, 2003.]

    (Formerly OCA IPI No. 98-567-RTJ)

    ROMEO E. EJERCITO, Complainant, v. JUDGE ILDEFONSO B. SUERTE, Respondent.

    R E S O L U T I O N


    AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ, J.:


    Before us is the administrative complaint filed by Romeo E. Ejercito against Judge Ildefonso B. Suerte of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Barili, Cebu (Branch 60) for abuse of authority, oppression and harassment.chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary

    In his Petition dated June 2, 1998, complainant alleges that respondent Judge is guilty of violating the law and the Constitution by committing the following acts: rendering of an unjust and illegal or unlawful order to arrest him on December 12, 1997; usurpation of a case already decided by another court; ignorance of the law and/or willful defiance of the law (Art. 92 of the Revised Penal Code); culpable violation of the constitutional mandate of due process; falsification of public document by purporting that the warrant of arrest dated May 31, 1991 is still valid although he knows that it has been invalidated in an Order of the Court dated March 9, 1992; culpable violation of the Bill of Rights that no person shall be put twice in jeopardy for the same offense; grave abuse of authority and conduct unbecoming a public official. Complainant prays that respondent Judge be dismissed from the Judiciary, perpetually disqualified to hold public office in the Philippines and disbarred from the Roll of Attorneys to practice law in the Philippines and the forfeiture of all emoluments due him from the government service. 1

    In his Answer dated August 10, 1998, respondent Judge emphatically denies the allegations of the complainant claiming that his charges are not only baseless, whimsical and preposterous but absurd. He further claims that complainant is a "litigation addict" having developed the propensity of filing various cases against several people; that the instant administrative case was filed to harass and molest respondent judge and is intended to destroy his image and reputation as an officer of the court. 2

    In a Memorandum addressed to Chief Justice Hilario G. Davide, Jr. the Office of the Court Administrator (OCA) recommended that the instant complaint be docketed as a regular administrative matter and that it be referred to an Associate Justice of the Court of Appeals for investigation, report and recommendation. 3

    In a Resolution issued by this Court dated October 20, 1999, the instant case was docketed as a regular administrative matter and was referred to then Court of Appeals Associate Justice Conchita Carpio-Morales (now a member of this Court) for investigation, report and recommendation. 4

    Justice Morales conducted hearings for the parties to present their respective evidence. However, pending resolution of the instant administrative matter, Justice Morales was appointed as an Associate Justice of this Court. Hence, in a Resolution dated December 9, 2002, the case was reassigned to Associate Justice Rebecca de Guia-Salvador of the Court of Appeals directing her to continue the proceedings until terminated and to submit to this Court her report and recommendation. 5

    In her Report and Recommendation dated June 30, 2003, the Investigating Justice summarized the established facts of the case, as follows:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    Charged with and convicted of the crime of falsification of public documents in Criminal Case No. CU-13 before Branch 17 of the Regional Trial Court of Cebu City, complainant was sentenced to suffer the penalty of imprisonment for one year and one day to three years, six months and twenty-one days as well as to pay the fine of P500.00. The affirmance of the said judgment of conviction on August 12, 1980 by the Court of Appeals caused the issuance of a warrant of arrest which complainant was, however, able to evade. An alias warrant of arrest was consequently issued on March 31, 1991 by Judge Jose P. Burgos, then the presiding judge of the trial court.

    The record further shows that upon complainant’s February 17, 1992 motion, Judge Burgos subsequently set aside the execution of the aforesaid judgment and ordered the quashal of the self-same alias warrant of arrest . . . in an order dated March 19, 1992. . . .

    On October 16, 1997, complainant’s picture was published in a local newspaper together with a news item regarding his conviction and the warrants earlier issued for his arrest. On December 12, 1997, he was further arrested by SPO3 Andres Alpas and SPO1 Renato Vergara, both operatives of the Barili Police Station, on the strength of the March 31, 1991 alias warrant of arrest issued by Judge Burgos. Turned over to Branch 17 of Cebu City Regional Trial Court upon respondent’s verbal instruction, complainant was, however, ordered released on the same day by Judge Jesus de la Pena, the said court’s presiding judge, on the ground that the warrant thus implemented had already been invalidated.

    On the belief that the newspaper publication as aforesaid and his erroneous arrest were engineered by respondent, complainant filed the instant complaint alongside several others singly and/or collectively against respondent, SPO3 Andres Alpas and SPO1 Renato Vergara. Docketed as OMB-VIS-CRIM-98-0206 before the Office of the Ombudsman (Visayas), the complaint against respondent for violations of Articles 171, 177, 204, 205, 267 and 269 of the Revised Penal Code and for grave abuse of authority was dismissed in the said office’s resolution dated May 18, 1998. Another complaint against respondent and said policemen — this time for arbitrary detention — was dismissed by the Office of the Cebu Provincial Prosecutor in the resolution dated August 18, 1998 issued in I.S. No. 98-13840.chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary

    On the other hand, although the administrative aspect of the case had already been declared closed and terminated in the April 28, 1999 resolution issued by the Office of the Deputy Ombudsman for the Military in OMB-Vis-98-1020, SPO3 Andres Alpas and SPO1 Renato Vergara were criminally charged for perjury and were subsequently ordered arrested in the warrant of arrest dated July 12, 1999 issued by Judge Leopoldo Canete, presiding judge of Branch 4 of the Municipal Trial Court of Cebu City, in Criminal Case No. 99039-R. Also confronted with a complaint for perjury docketed as I.S. No. 98-16398, respondent was further charged by complainant with estafa thru falsification of public documents and violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act for acts he allegedly committed while he was the COMELEC Registrar of Badian, Cebu from 1964-1971. Both the criminal and administrative aspects of the case were respectively dismissed in the October 16, 1997 resolution issued by the Office of the Ombudsman (Visayas) in OMB-VIS-CRIM-97-0835 and the March 22, 1999 resolution issued by the Third Division of the Supreme Court in Administrative Matter OCA IPI No. 98-514-RTJ.

    In his June 17, 1999 amended complaint-petition, complainant gave a detailed account of the long-standing conflict between his family and that of the respondent which purportedly motivated the latter to perpetrate the acts complained of. Having earlier denied the imputations against him and called the Court’s attention to the various cases commenced by complainant, respondent for his part, filed a motion to dismiss on the ground of forum shopping. Despite due notice, he likewise repeatedly failed to appear at the hearings conducted in the case, hence, this evaluation solely on the basis of the oral and documentary evidence adduced by complainant. 6

    After evaluation of the evidence presented, the Investigating Justice concluded that complainant’s charges are not supported by sufficient and competent evidence. The Investigating Justice ruled:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    Aside from the apparent insufficiency of the evidence adduced by complainant, the record is replete with ample showing that the complaint is just another episode in what appears to be the acrimonious history between the parties’ families. More than the multiple complaints he commenced against respondent, complainant himself lent credence to this observation by dredging up the political differences between him and respondent’s father as well as the political rivalry between their siblings. Going well beyond the allegations in his complaint and virtually throwing the proverbial kitchen sink against respondent, complainant even facetiously tried to attribute his arrest to the former’s proprietary interest over his family’s property which was extra-judicially foreclosed by the Rural Bank of Barili (Cebu), Inc.

    That complainant’s cause is more apparent than real is, however, readily evident from the record.

    It bears emphasizing that, in addition to the publication of complainant’s picture and arrest in the local newspaper, one Ernesto Sandalo has already claimed responsibility for causing the arrest of complainant. Attached as Annex "J" to complainant’s amended complaint-petition, the November 19, 1998 affidavit the said Ernesto Sandalo executed contained the following categorical admissions:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    x       x       x


    That I was able to obtain a copy of the alias warrant of arrest for convict Romeo Ejercito for execution of judgment from Branch 17 sometime in 1992;

    That as soon as I noticed that the convict was already roaming around, I went to Barili, Cebu to refer the said warrant;

    That I approached Judge Suerte and showed to him the copy of the alias warrant and he instructed one of this subordinates or members of his staff to accompany me to the PNP, Barili, Cebu and so I went to the PNP Office and gave the said warrant to the one (he was alone) sitting beside a table and after that I went home.chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary

    x       x       x


    The foregoing circumstances are obviously the reasons why the respondent’s name is mentioned in the December 23, 1997 Extract Copy from the Barili Police Station submitted in evidence as Exhibit "B" .

    By and of themselves, the following entries from the self-same extract from the Barili Police Blotter do not prove respondent’s supposed responsibility for complainant’s arrest, viz:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    At abt 121010H December 1997, one Romeo Ejercito, Accused in Criminal Case No. CBU-CU 13 for Falsification of Public Documents was arrested by PO3 Andres Alpas and PO1 Renato Vergara by virtue (sic) of an order of arrest issued by Judge Jose P. Burgos, Presiding Judge, RTC Branch 17 for Execution of Judgment dated May 31, 1992. Subject person was turnover to Judge Jose Burgos, RTC, Branch 17 per verbal order of Judge Suerte of RTC Branch 60 of Barili, Cebu.

    Rather than the concrete evidence of respondent’s abuse of authority which complainant represents them to be, the foregoing entries indicate that complainant’s arrest was effected not so much because respondent ordered the same but because the policemen were ill-informed about the subsequent developments in Criminal Case No. CU-13. While it may be conceded that the verbal directive from respondent smacked of irregularity — more so, in view of the apparent bad blood which exists between the parties — the same, having been given after complainant had been arrested, cannot serve as sufficient basis for holding him liable for oppression and harassment.

    x       x       x


    Even without the benefit of a cross-examination from respondent, the falsity of complainant’s testimony is, however, evident from the fact that the March 31, 1991 alias warrant issued for his arrest was only quashed on March 19, 1992 or roughly five months after his supposed arrest by operatives of the Cebu City Police on October 16, 1991. This material discrepancy as to dates belies complainant’s claim that as early as his first arrest, Judge Jesus dela Pena ordered his release on the ground that the alias warrant being enforced had already been quashed. 7

    x       x       x


    . . . Viewed alongside the categorical denial by SPO3 Andres Alpas and SPO1 Renato Vergara of respondent’s complicity in the arrest, the inconsistencies in and the inconclusiveness of complainant’s evidence, in fine, bolster confidence in Ernesto Sandalo’s acknowledgment of his direct involvement in respondent’s arrest.

    The veracity of respondent’s complicity in the arrest thus discounted, it matters little that Angel Cang testified regarding the prior threats the former supposedly made to have complainant arrested. Even if accorded precipitate credibility on its face, said testimony is insufficient to hold respondent liable for the charges imputed against him in the complaint. Together with a reminder that forum shopping exists only when the elements of litis pendentia are present or where a final judgment in one case will amount to res judicata in another, respondent may, at most, be sternly warned to be more circumspect in his official and personal deportment. A judge is the visible representation of the law and the embodiment of the people’s sense of justice. Accordingly, he should constantly keep himself away from any act of impropriety, not only in the performance of his official duties but also in his everyday actuations.

    Not having been supported by substantial evidence which is the quantum of proof required in administrative cases such as this, the complaint against respondent judge must correspondingly fail. 8 (Emphasis supplied)

    Accordingly, the Investigating Justice recommends that the complaint against respondent judge be dismissed.

    We agree with the findings and recommendation of the Investigating Justice.chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary

    In administrative proceedings, the burden of proof that respondent committed the acts complained of rests on the complainant. 9 In the present case, complainant contends that respondent judge caused his arrest on December 12, 1997 on the basis of the already invalidated warrant of arrest dated May 31, 1991 as the case against him had already been dismissed. However, we find a dearth of evidence to support this allegation. None of the documentary evidence presented by complainant directly links respondent to his arrest. Neither did the testimonies of complainants’ witnesses, Philip Medel, Jr. 10 and Angel Cang 11 prove that respondent is the one responsible for said arrest. Complainant simply relies on the alleged statements made by the arresting officers that they were acting on the strength of the verbal order made by respondent judge directing them to arrest complainant. However, in their sworn Joint Counter-Affidavits, arresting officers SPO3 Andres Alpas and SPO1 Renato Vergara categorically denied that it was respondent Judge who instructed them to arrest complainant. 12

    Ernesto Sandalo, in a sworn affidavit, admitted responsibility in causing the complainant’s arrest. 13 Sandalo asserts however that after obtaining a copy of the alias warrant of arrest, he approached respondent judge and showed him a copy of the said warrant. Upon instructions of respondent Judge, he was accompanied by a member of respondent Judge’s staff when he referred the warrant to the PNP, Barili, Cebu.

    Complainant’s evidence further shows that after his arrest, he was initially brought before the sala of respondent Judge and it was the latter who verbally ordered that complainant be turned over to Judge Jose Burgos, the judge who issued the warrant of arrest.

    In Ermelyn A. Limbona v. Judge Casan Ali Limbona, we held that even in an administrative case, the Rules of Court require that if the respondent judge should be disciplined for grave misconduct or any graver offense, the evidence against him should be competent and should be derived from direct knowledge. The judiciary to which the respondent belongs demands no less. Before any of its members could be faulted, competent evidence should be presented, especially since the charge is penal in character. 14

    Moreover we have held in De Guzman v. Dy 15 that:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    The ground for the removal of a judicial officer should be established beyond reasonable doubt. Such is the rule where the charges upon which the removal is sought is misconduct in office, willful neglect, corruption or incompetence. The general rules in regards to admissibility of evidence in criminal trials apply.

    In the present case, we find that complainant failed to discharge the burden of proving the allegations in his complaint by the required quantum of evidence.

    Nevertheless, the Court agrees with the observation of the Investigating Justice that respondent, under the facts and circumstances of the case, should be admonished to be more circumspect in his official and personal deportment. Upon being shown a copy of the alias warrant of arrest, he should have advised Sandalo to go to the sala of Judge Burgos who had issued the same so as to avoid any misapprehension against him (respondent) as what happened in this case.

    WHEREFORE, the present administrative complaint against respondent Judge Ildefonso B. Suerte is DISMISSED for insufficiency of evidence. However, respondent is admonished to be more circumspect in his official and personal deportment.chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary

    SO ORDERED.

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

    Endnotes:



    1. Rollo, pp. 6-8.

    2. Id., at 17.

    3. Id., pp. 61-63.

    4. Id., p. 64.

    5. Id., p. 210.

    6. Report and Recommendation, pp. 1-4.

    7. Id., pp. 4-7.

    8. Id., p 10.

    9. Cea v. Paguio, A.M. No. MTJ-03-1479, February 17, 2003.

    10. TSN, April 25, 2000.

    11. TSN, June 9, 2003.

    12. Annex "A", Rollo, p. 19.

    13. Annex "J", Rollo, p. 55.

    14. A.M. No. SCC-03-08, June 16, 2003.

    15. A.M. No. RTJ-03-1755, July 3, 2003.

    A.M. No. RTJ-99-1501   September 3, 2003 - ROMEO E. EJERCITO v. ILDEFONSO B. SUERTE


    Back to Home | Back to Main

     

    QUICK SEARCH

    cralaw

       

    cralaw



     
      Copyright © ChanRobles Publishing Company Disclaimer | E-mail Restrictions
    ChanRobles™ Virtual Law Library | chanrobles.com™
     
    RED