[A.M. NO. RTJ-03-1812 : November 18, 2004]
PABLITO R. SORIA, ET AL., Complainants, v. JUDGE FRANKLYN A. VILLEGAS, Regional Trial Court of Pagadian City, Branch 19, Respondent.
With due respect, I dissent from the decision of the majority to
partially grant the respondents second motion for reconsideration and to reduce
the penalty imposed on respondent from dismissal from the service to suspension
for a period reckoned from the time respondent received a copy of the decision
of 19 November 2003 until he shall re-assume office and to pay, within thirty
(30) days from notice of this Resolution, a fine of P50,000.00.
I maintain that the penalty of dismissal from the service imposed
is warranted owing to the gravamen of respondents misconduct. Neither good
faith nor an allegedly long unblemished service in the judiciary can justify
his administrative offense.1 For his refusal to heed not merely one but several directives issued by
the Court, respondent offered the lame excuse that he thought he was merely
being harassed and he believed that the complaint against him was filed to
influence the wheels of justice, which he could not countenance.2 cralawred
Respondent further insists that he did not commit a deliberate
act of ignoring the Court; rather his conduct should be considered simply as
an act of ignoring the complainants out of dismay, disbelief and emotional
sensitivities. In short, his emotions controlled his acts.3 Therein lies the
fatal absurdity in respondents explanation, for he cannot ignore complainants
without ignoring us. Indeed, respondent ignored not merely one but several
of our directives.
As a magistrate presiding over a court of law allegedly for over
two (2) decades, respondent, more than anyone else, should know that acts are
judged largely by their results and not by the underlying reasons or the
motives proffered to justify their commission. No man may be punished for what
he thinks. Cogitationis poenam nemo emeret.4 Respondents
personal beliefs that complainants charges lacked basis are no excuse for him
to ignore the Courts orders.
Besides the basic equipment of possessing the requisite learning
in the law, a magistrate must exhibit that hallmark judicial temperament of
utmost sobriety5 and self-restraint which are indispensable qualities of every judge.6 A judge anywhere
should be the last person to be perceived as a petty tyrant holding imperious
sway over his domain. Such an image is, however, evoked by the actuations of
respondent judge in this case. It has time and again been stressed that the
role of a judge in relation to those who appear before his court must be one of
temperance, patience and courtesy.7 cralawred
In recent case of Office
of the Court Administrator v. Villegas ,8 our attention was called to respondents delay of almost fifteen (15) years in
deciding Civil Case No. 1576 which had been pending in his sala since August
22, 1984. He was fined P1,000.00 during the course of the proceedings for his
continued failure to comply9 with our directives. The fine was increased to P2,000.00 in a Resolution dated
January 16, 2001.
IN THE LIGHT OF THE FOREGOING, I vote to DENY the
respondents Second Motion for Reconsideration for lack of merit.
1 Taran v. Jacinto, A.M. No. MTJ-92-1436, 12 January 2004, 419 SCRA 1.
2 See comment, With Prayer For Indulgence and Clemency, p. 8.
4 Aquino, Revised Penal Code, vol. 1, 1997 ed., p. 34.
5 Martinez v. Pahimulin, A.M. No. 78-MJ, 30 August 1982, 116 SCRA 136.
6 Ferrer v. Maramba, 352 Phil. 351 .
7 See Delgra, Jr. v. Gonzales, G.R. No. L-24981, 30 June 1970, 31 SCRA
237; Laguio v. Diaz, A.M. NO. (3167-V) P-2195, 29 May 1981, 104 SCRA
689; Retuya v. Equipilag, A.M. No. 1431-MJ, 16 July 1979, 91 SCRA 416.
8 A.M. No. RTJ-00-1526, 3 June 2004.
9 Id., 4th paragraph of Resolution.