Decena v. Malanyaon : Am RTJ-02-1669 : April 14, 2004 : J. Tinga :
Second Division : Resolution
[A.M. NO. RTJ-02-1669.
April 14, 2004]
HON. JULIETA A. DECENA, HON. VIRGILIO D. PONTANAL, HON.
AMELITA A. IBASCO, HON. GERRY D. RAA, HON. PEDRO N. MORA. JR., and HON.
FERDINAND T. AGUILAR,
JUDGE NILO A. MALANYAON,
Presiding Judge of the Regional Trial Court (RTC),
Branch 32, Pili, Camarines
R E S O L U T I O N
The regular session of a municipal council was interrupted by a
heckler in the audience hurling various accusatory remarks and insults at the
The heckler is a
judge, the incident, the subject of this case.
On 26 May 2000, the Office of the Court Administrator received a
Joint Affidavit-Complaint executed by various municipal officials of
Bula, Camarines Sur.
affiants-complainants, Mayor Julieta A. Decena (Decena),
D. Pontanal (Pontanal), and Councilors Amelita A. Ibasco (Ibasco),
Pedro N. Mora, Jr. (Mora), and Ferdinand T. Aguila (Aguilar)
sought the dismissal from the service and the disbarment of respondent Judge
Nilo A. Malanyaon (Judge Malanyaon),
Presiding Judge of the Regional Trial
Branch 32, of Pili, Camarines Sur, on account of his conduct
during the 21 February 2000 session of the Sangguniang Bayan of Bula.
In a Resolution dated 19 June 2002, the Court referred the
matter for investigation, report and recommendation to Court of Appeals Justice
Eriberto U. Rosario, Jr.1 After Justice Rosario sought to be excused owing to his forthcoming retirement
then,2 the Court referred the matter to the Court of Appeals for assignment to a
Justice by court-wide raffle.3 The case was raffled to Justice Andres B. Reyes, Jr. After conducting several
hearings on the case, Justice Reyes, Jr. rendered a Report and
which was received by this Court on 22
July 2003. From the Report, we draw the following antecedent facts:chanroblesvirtua1awlibrary
On 21 February 2000, the Sangguniang Bayan of Bula, Camarines Sur
convened its regular session, with Vice-mayor Pontanal presiding. Among the
matters on the agenda was the revocation of two previous council resolutions4 authorizing Rolando N. Canet (Canet) to operate a cockpit in the
A former vice-mayor of
Bula, Canet is also the nephew-in-law of Judge Malanyaon. Both Judge Malanyaon
and Canet attended the 21 February 2000 session of the Sangguniang Bayan.
Canet, however, came along with many
supporters.5 Noticing his presence, the Sanggunian offered to recognize Judge Malanyaon; but
he declined, saying that he merely wanted to be an observer.6 cralawred
From that point on, the episode during the Sanggunian session as
culled in the Report on the basis of the submitted affidavits transpired
in this wise:chanroblesvirtua1awlibrary
Subsequently, during the deliberations, the vice mayor attested
that respondent interrupted the session by shouting comments in their
vernacular such as:
iyan (lies, they are lies); Butig! Caya mo yan? Maski Butig!
Maski Piglalado Camo!
Can you do that? Even if they are lies?
Even if you are being deceived?) and Dale Sana Camong Dale!
(You do things recklessly). During the deliberations relative to the authority of Mr. Rolando N. Canet
to operate a cockpit, the respondent judge, with blazing eyes and a red face
further interrupted the session by lambasting the municipal councilors with
disparaging and insulting remarks, which left the whole proceedings in
In the heat of respondents outbursts, he uttered the following
remarks to the vice mayor:chanroblesvirtua1awlibrary
Ika Bondying (the vice mayors nickname),. So kag-igin MO BUKO
ADTONG MADAYA, Di adto nag gagamit kana kuwa kan municipyo, o camo ginagamit mo
si Revo mo!
Mag adal kamo, a biente uno
mil, susmareosep kamo. Sabi co ka ninyo mig-lecture aco pero abo man kamo, o
taono, basta camo matugaan ni alkalde?
Mga uda ugali!
Bodying, your father was not deceitful. He was not using the property of the
municipality, now you are using your Revo.
You all study!
You are receiving
twenty one thousand pesos, my god, I told you I will lecture you, but you did
not want me to. Why?
As long as you
were promised by the mayor?
You have no
O Bondying ika, maski
ambugan camo kana alkalde, tutubudon ninyo?
Urgent na ono?
Din a kamo
Amo yan sabihon ko ka ninyo!
(You Bondying, even if the mayor is
telling you lies, will you follow her?
You could not be
lied upon again!
You are being
deceived, thats what I will tell you!)
Pedro N. Mora, former municipal councilor of Bula, Camarines Sur,
in his affidavit also conformed that he heard the respondent
judge utter: Ambog, Ambog iyan
lies, they are lies) ; Butig!
Caya mo yan?
Maski Piglalado Camo!
Can you do that?
Even if they
Even if you are being
deceived?) and Dale Sana Camong Dale!
(You do things recklessly) during the session of Sangguniang Bayan of Bula, held on 21
Ferdinand T. Aguilar, another former councilor of Bula, Camarines
Sur, likewise attested to the intemperate language used by the respondent
during the regular session of the Sangguniang Bayan of Bula on 21 February
Aguilar however adds that he too
became the object of respondents ire when the latter publicly told him the
O, Aguilar, ono pigsusunod
Ilinga, ilinga tolos ninyo, ono
regal, o ono regal ninyo?
suspend the rule without 2/3 votes!
Ono, magbasa kamo!
What are you following?
Look, look at
this, what is the regulation, what are your regulations?
You cannot suspend the rule without the 2/3
votes! You read!
Your salary is just a
O, ika (pointing at Aguilar)
O ono pigsusunod mo?
O, kua raw, basaha
Onong klaseng Sanggunian
Di nagsusunod sa regal a, Ferdinand?
Di ninyo piggagamit to mga payo ninyo! O,
ilinga! Basaha Ferdinand. (You, [pointing at Aguilar] what are you
You get [the rules] and read
them! What kind of Sanggunian is this?
You not following the rules a, Ferdinand?You are not using your head!
You look and read it, Ferdinand.);
Ika sana Ferdinand saying kito alintak mo!
Uray ni ina nya, onong urgent na nakakaptan
Kon pig-gagamit ya mga gamit kot
munisipyo, di ninyo pigaactibaran!
You Ferdinand you what is in your head is such a waste.
Ass of your mother!
To what urgent matter that you are holding
If it is the property of this
municipality is the one being used, you are not acting on it.) ;chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
Ika Ferdinand nag-aadal ka kin abugasiya, nagpapabuta man ika,
ining, pigbubutigan na kamo?
(You Ferdinand, you are studying law and
yet you were blinded even though you are cheated);chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
Ika, Ferdinand basahon ko, kon gusto mo bikolon ko, di san
sinasabing bago magtaong permit agko Ordinansa. Si isay ya nagsasabi?
Ya tinatawam kin poder ngowan uya
Sangguniang Bayan ya
Tinawan na kin lisensa o ono
pa? (You Ferdinand, I will read to you, if you want I will read it to you
in our dialect. That it is never stated there that before issuing permit, there
should be an ordinance first.
The one that is given the power
is the Sangguniang Bayan the one that will issue the license!
He [Rolando Canet] was already given a
license, what else?);
Ika Aguilar, basahon mo iton
da siton nagsasabing bago tawan kin
lisensya, kumasta ngona kin ordinansa!
O sa cockfighting o kon sa demonyo!
Ining sa bulangan na ini 1964 pa ako, a!ngani ninyong maintindihan. Ngowan, si Rolando Canet agko
lisensiya, huli ta abo ni Decena, natugon man kamo gusto ninyong anularan!
Ngowan, gusting bumayad abong pabayadon.
Magbasa kamo, 21 mil, buray ni ina niya!
Ako, nag-absent akong kabangang aldow para magatender kading session,
sangribo ana nauda kanako!
sanang porbaran kamo adding osipon na kon talagang nakastahan na kamo!
Magbasa kamo, 21 mil, buray ni ina niya, 21
(You Aguilar, read that
[referring to the rules], it is never stated here that before you issue a
license, you have to pass first an ordinance, in the cockfighting or whatever
devil is that!
This law about the
cockfighting this has been the law since 1964 so that you will understand.
Now, Rolando Canet has a license, just
because Decena does not want to give permit you want the same annulled. Now, he
wants to pay but does not want to accept the same. You read, 21 thousand
[referring to our salary]
ass of your
mother! I did not report for half a day just to attend this session and I lost
P1,000.00 in the process
in the form of
salary just so I will be able to prove for myself about the rumors that you
have been bought [or to that effect]! You read!Twenty one thousand! Ass of your mother, twenty one thousand!)
Sayang Ferdinand, kun arog
ya naturan mo, di ida makakapasar, amo yan sasabihon ko kanimo!
Kon arog kito ya studio mo, babaliktaron mo
to demonyong iton, a, maski ton butig, amo tutuboron mo a, tibaad di ika maka-abogado,
kon maka-abogado man, makakarsel ka!
(What a waste Ferdinand, if
thats what you learned, you will not pass [the Bar exams] thats what I will
What are you going to tell
them, if that is how you understand, that you will reverse this kind of devil
even if it is a lie and yet you will follow the same.You might not become a lawyer, and if you become one you will go
Ernesto B. Ballaber, who is the incumbent Barangay Captain of
Salvacion, Bula, Camarines Sur, testified through his affidavit that he was
present and seated beside the respondent judge on the date in question.
He noticed that the respondent judge was
drunk as the latter gave off a strong alcoholic scent. Moreover, Ballebar
observed that the respondents eyes were watery and red.
Ballebars deduction that Judge Malanyaon was drunk was reinforced
when the respondent stood up, banged the table and shouted in the
Butig!, Butig! Butig!
Lies! Lies! Lies!) and Ambog! Ambog iyan! (
Its a lie!)
during the session.
Ballebar further testified that the respondent also verbally abused the members
of the Sangguniang.
Gerry D. Raa asseverated that when the issue on the resolutions
affecting the operation of the cockpit arena by Rolando N. Canet was being
taken up by the council, Judge Malanyaon suddenly pushed the table in front of
him, bolted from his chair and fiercely castigated the members of the
Sangguniang Bayan with every personal attacks.
In fact, Raa attested that the respondent publicly discredited and
humiliated him during the session by imputing that he was operating an illegal
cockpit in the municipality.7 (Emphasis not ours.)
Mora and Raa, as well as two other witnesses8 for the complainants confirmed that Judge Malanyaon reeked of liquor as he
proceeded with his tirade.
According to Bartolome D. Parro, the Sangguniang Bayan OIC
Secretary, because of the outbursts of Judge Malanyaon the session was
suspended. Meanwhile, the Sanggunian members were involuntarily detained at the
They were unable to leave
as the entrance and exits were blocked by supporters of Canet.
Meanwhile, Judge Malanyaon continued his
outbursts against the councilors.9 cralawred
Admitting his presence during the Sanggunian session, Judge
Malanyaon explained, however, that he was there not as a judge but in his
private capacity as a taxpayer.
denied he was drunk, even as he admitted he was enraged and furious over the
proceedings at the Sanggunian.
not deny delivering a diatribe, but he claimed his actions were appropriate since
the proposed revocation of his nephew-in-laws cockpit license was illegal in
his estimation.10 cralawred
All told, Judge Malanyaon did not dispute the facts as laid down
by the complainants and the latters witnesses.He justified his behavior though as the fulminations of a
righteously outraged citizen which according to him should be segregated from
his function as a judge.
Judge Malanyaon deserves to be taken to task for his outrageous
behavior as it clearly violates the Code of Judicial Conduct.
uttered are patently defamatory and even vulgar. Indeed, such utterances should
not be expected of a public official worthy of his office.
At fault is not the sentiment harbored, but
of words employed to express such sentiment.11 It is not even particularly relevant if Judge Malanyaon was inebriated at that
time, for the reckless character of his remarks are in themselves palpable,
whether they were delivered in a drunken or sober state.
Malanyaons harangue was directed at the members of the Sangguniang Bayan in
the course of a regular session of the body.
The members of the Sanggunian are, by reason of their public office,
entitled to the respect of other people, especially their fellow public
Judge Malanyaons diatribe
indicates his inability to accord his fellow public officials their due.
Malanyaon made his remarks in a public forum. Obviously, however, he forgot or
even failed to realize that he is a representative of the judicial branch of
government, the judge being the visible representation of the law and, more
importantly, of justice.12 The judiciary is loathe to interfere with the due exercise by co-equal branches
of government of their official functions, absent any justiciable action
brought in due course.
Fourth. It must be understood that Judge Malanyaons
remarks were aimed at preventing the Sanggunian from revoking the cockpit
license of Canet.
In doing so, he was
attempting to interfere with the will of the Sanggunian as an independent
As observed by
Investigating Justice Reyes, Jr., the awkward situation was aggravated when
Judge Malanyaon publicly humiliated the councilors in front of their
constituents, making them look witless and obtuse, and thereby creating a
mockery of the proceedings.13 The disruptive presence of several supporters of Canet, a local town
politician, porated the protest against the plan to revoke the cockpit license
with political color.
active participation in apparent concert with Canets supporters exposed him as
nothing but a common lobbyist, as he forgot to act as a judge with the standard
judicial temperament and prudence.
Fifth. Judge Malanyaon obstructed the Sangguniang members
from performing their official duties.
As Investigating Justice Reyes, Jr. pointed out, the acts complained of
Judge Malanyaon is no less a crime under Article 144 of the Revised Penal Code.14 As a judge, respondent should very well know how deleterious it would be to the
discharge of his functions if the court hearings he presides over would be
rudely interrupted by fulsome tirades delivered by a spectator in the
If such a situation arise in
his courtroom, Judge Manlayaon would have every right to take offense to the
disruption in the proceedings.
legislative session is no less an official proceeding as a court session and
any one who disrupts either proceedings deserves to be sanctioned.
Sixth. The Code of Judicial Conduct requires that a judge
shall neither allow family relationships to influence judicial conduct or
judgment, nor allow the prestige of judicial office to be used or lent to
advance the private interests of others.15 It does not escape our attention that Judge Malanyaon was agitated during the
Sanggunian session because the interests of his nephew-in-law were under
Perhaps, Judge Malanyaon
honestly believed that the revocation of Canets cockpit license was illegal.
Yet, it would not justify his undisguised attempt to prevent the threatened
detrimental action against his relative with his influence. We agree with the
conclusion of Investigating Justice Reyes, Jr. that Judge Malanyaon allowed
himself to be used by his nephew-in-law to promote the latters private
interests, in contravention of the Code of Judicial Conduct.16 cralawred
Judge Malanyaon needs to be reminded that his judicial identity
does not terminate at the end of the day when he takes off his judicial
Even when garbed in casual wear
outside of the halls of justice, a judge retains the air of authority and moral
ascendancy that he or she wields inside the sala.
As the Court once held:chanroblesvirtua1awlibrary
Being the subject of constant public scrutiny, a judge should
freely and willingly accept restrictions on conduct that might be viewed as
burdensome by the ordinary citizen.
A judge should personify judicial integrity and exemplify honest
public service. The personal behavior of a judge, both in the performance of
official duties and in private life should be above suspicion.17 cralawred
It may strike perhaps as a poetically tragic notion, but for very
good reasons, a judge's official life cannot simply be detached or separated
from his personal existence.18 Indeed, the Code of Judicial Conduct, Canon 2 in particular, mandates that a
judge should avoid impropriety and the appearance of impropriety in all
activities, as well as behave at all times as to promote public confidence in
the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary.19 Thus, the Court has to dismiss outright Judge Malanyaons suggestion that his
actions be evaluated as one of a taxpayer or ordinary citizen and not as that
of a judge. In fact, his utterances were not made under a cloak of anonymity,
for the members of the council, as well as some of the people in the gallery
knew very well that he was a judge.
highly probable that his invectives took on a greater imperative on the
listeners precisely because he was a judge, with all the authority attendant to
The conduct of Judge Malanyaon relative to the 21 February 2000
legislative session of the Sangguniang Bayan of Bula is inexcusable and simply
cannot be condoned. His actuations constitute palpable violations of the Code
of Judicial Conduct:chanroblesvirtua1awlibrary
CANON 2 A JUDGE SHOULD AVOID IMPROPRIETY AND THE APPEARANCE OF
IMPROPRIETY IN ALL ACTIVITIES.
Rule 2.01. A judge should
so behave at all times as to promote public confidence in the integrity
and impartiality of the judiciary
Rule 2.03. A judge shall not allow family, social, or other
relationships to influence judicial conduct or judgment. The prestige of
judicial office shall not be used or lent to advance the private interests of
others, nor convey or permit others to convey the impression that they are in a
special position to influence the judge.
The Office of the Court Administrator recommends that respondent
be fined Five Thousand Pesos (
P5,000.00) .In his seventeen (17) years in the judiciary, Judge Malanyaon has
not been sanctioned, except once by reprimand. With the comparative seriousness
of the offense, a fine of Twenty Thousand Pesos ( P20,000.00) would serve
as an appropriate penalty.
Judge Nilo A. Malanyaon is hereby found GUILTY of conduct unbecoming of a
judge, in violation of Canon 2, Rule 2.01 and Rule 2.03 of the Code of Judicial
He is ordered to pay a FINE of
TWENTY THOUSAND PESOS (
P20,000.00) with a STERN WARNING that the
commission of the same or a similar act or omission in the future will be dealt
with more severely.
Quisumbing, and Callejo,
Sr., JJ., concur.
Puno, (Chairman), J., no part
due to close relation to the parties.
Austria-Martinez, J., no part
in view of close relation to one of the parties.
Namely, Sangguniang Bayan Resolutions 049 and 063, series of 1998.
See Report and Recommendation of Associate
Justice Andres B. Reyes, Jr. (Report),
The two witnesses were Ernesto B. Ballebar, Barangay Captain of Salvacion,
Bula, Camarines Sur, and Jesus Saluna, a resident of Bula. Report, pp. 9, 10.
[F]rom the standpoint of conduct
demeanor expected of a judge, resort to intemperate language only detracts from
the respect due a member of the judiciary and becomes self-destructive. Galang v
Judge Santos, 367 Phil. 81, 88 (1999).
. Judge Pajares, 226 Phil. 53, 61 (1986),
Inutan, 64 SCRA 540 (1975).
Article 144 of the Revised Penal Code provides: Disturbance of proceedings
The penalty of arresto mayor
or a fine from 200 to 1,000 pesos shall
be imposed upon any person who disturbs the meetings of the National Assembly
(Congress of the Philippines) or of any provincial board or city or municipal
council or board, or in the presence of any such bodies should behave in such a
manner as to interrupt its proceedings or to impair the respect due it.
Rule 2.03, Canon 2, Code of Judicial Conduct.
. Judge Calanog, G.R. No. RTJ- 90-447, 12 July 1991, 199 SCRA
18 Talens-Dabon v. Arceo, G.R.
25 July 1996, 259 SCRA 354, 368. A judge's private as
well as official conduct must at all times be free from all appearances of
impropriety, and be beyond reproach. Garcia, et. al v. Judge Valdez, 354 Phil.
475, 480 (1998),
. Calanog, Jr.,
75, 83 (1991) and Dysico v.
262 SCRA 275, 283 (1996).
Canon 2, Code of Judicial Conduct, and Rule 2.01, Canon 2, id.
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