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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
 

   
February-2013 Jurisprudence                 

  • A.M. OCA IPI No. 12-201-CA-J, February 19, 2013 - ETHELWOLDO E. FERNANDEZ, ANTONIO A. HENSON AND ANGEL S. ONG, Complainants, v. COURT OF APPEALS ASSOCIATE JUSTICES RAMON M. BATO, JR., ISAIAS P. DICDICAN AND EDUARDO B. PERALTA, JR., Respondents.

  • A.C. No. 9310, February 27, 2013 - VERLEEN TRINIDAD, FLORENTINA LANDER, WALLY CASUBUAN, MINERVA MENDOZA, CELEDONIO ALOJADO, ROSENDO VILLAMIN AND AUREA TOLENTINO, Complainants, v. ATTY. ANGELITO VILLARIN, Respondents.

  • G.R. No. 151334, February 13, 2013 - CAROLINA (CARLINA) VDA. DE FIGURACION, HEIRS OF ELENA FIGURACION-ANCHETA, NAMELY: LEONCIO ANCHETA, JR., AND ROMULO ANCHETA, HEIRS OF HILARIA A. FIGURACION, NAMELY: FELIPA FIGURACION-MANUEL, MARY FIGURACION-GINEZ, AND EMILIA FIGURACION-GERILLA, AND HEIRS OF QUINTIN FIGURACION, NAMELY: LINDA M. FIGURACION, LEANDRO M. FIGURACION, II, AND ALLAN M. FIGURACION, Petitioners, v. EMILIA FIGURACION-GERILLA, Respondents.

  • G.R. No. 154083, February 27, 2013 - OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN, Petitioner, v. SAMSON DE LEON, Respondents.

  • G.R. No. 157086, February 18, 2013 - LEPANTO CONSOLIDATED MINING COMPANY, Petitioner, v. THE LEPANTO CAPATAZ UNION, Respondents.

  • G.R. No. 158649, February 18, 2013 - SPOUSES QUIRINO V. DELA CRUZ AND GLORIA DELA CRUZ, Petitioners, v. PLANTERS PRODUCTS, INC., Respondents.

  • G.R. No. 159823, February 18, 2013 - TEODORO A. REYES, Petitioner, v. ETTORE ROSSI, Respondents.

  • G.R. No. 161596, February 20, 2013 - ROBERTO BORDOMEO, JAYME SARMIENTO AND GREGORIO BARREDO, Petitioners, v. COURT OF APPEALS, HON. SECRETARY OF LABOR, AND INTERNATIONAL PHARMACEUTICALS, INC., Respondents.

  • G.R. Nos. 164155 and 175543, February 25, 2013 - FORT BONIFACIO DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION, Petitioner, v. COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE, Respondents.

  • G.R. No. 164662, February 18, 2013 - MARIA LOURDES C. DE JESUS, Petitioner, v. HON. RAUL T. AQUINO,PRESIDING COMMISSIONER, NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION, SECOND DIVISION, QUEZON CITY,AND SUPERSONIC SERVICES, INC., Respondents.; G.R. NO. 165787 - SUPERSONIC SERVICES, INC., Petitioner, v. MARIA LOURDES C. DE JESUS, Respondents.

  • G.R. No. 168703, February 26, 2013 - RAMON G. NAZARENO, Petitioner, v. MAERSK FILIPINAS CREWING INC., AND ELITE SHIPPING A/S, Respondents.

  • G.R. No. 166282, February 13, 2013 - HEIRS OF FE TAN UY (REPRESENTED BY HER HEIR, MANLING UY LIM), Petitioners, v. INTERNATIONAL EXCHANGE BANK, RESPONDENT. - G.R. NO. 166283 - GOLDKEY DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION, PETITIONER. VS. INTERNATIONAL EXCHANGE BANK, Respondents.

  • G.R. No. 169677, February 18, 2013 - METROPOLITAN BANK AND TRUST COMPANY, AS SUCCESSOR-IN-INTEREST OF ASIAN BANK CORPORATION, Petitioner, v. HON. EDILBERTO G. SANDOVAL, HON. FRANCISCO H. VILLARUZ, JR. AND HON. RODOLFO A. PONFERRADA (IN THEIR CAPACITIES AS CHAIRMAN AND MEMBERS, RESPECTIVELY, OF THE SECOND DIVISION OF SANDIGANBAYAN) AND THE REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, Respondents.

  • G.R. No. 173357, February 13, 2013 - ROWENA DE LEON CRUZ, Petitioner, v. BANK OF THE PHILIPPINE ISLANDS, Respondents.

  • G.R. No. 173489, February 25, 2013 - ALILEM CREDIT COOPERATIVE, INC., NOW KNOWN AS ALILEM MULTIPURPOSE COOPERATIVE, INC., Petitioner, v. SALVADOR M. BANDIOLA, JR., Respondents.

  • G.R. No. 173987, February 25, 2013 - PADILLA MERCADO, ZULUETA MERCADO, BONIFACIA MERCADO, DAMIAN MERCADO AND EMMANUEL MERCADO BASCUG, Petitioners, v. SPOUSES AGUEDO ESPINA AND LOURDES ESPINA, Respondents.

  • G.R. No. 175369, February 27, 2013 - TEGIMENTA CHEMICAL PHILS. AND VIVIAN ROSE D. GARCIA, Petitioners, v. MARY ANNE OCO, Respondents.

  • G.R. No. 175108, February 27, 2013 - CHINA BANKING CORPORATION, Petitioner, v. COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE, Respondents.

  • G.R. No. 175602, February 13, 2013 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. P02 EDUARDO VALDEZ AND EDWIN VALDEZ, Accused-Appellants.

  • G.R. No. 175876, February 20, 2013 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. TOMAS TEODORO Y ANGELES, Accused-Appellant.

  • G.R. No. 177116, February 27, 2013 - ASIAN TERMINALS, INC., Petitioner, v. SIMON ENTERPRISES, INC., Respondents.

  • G.R. No. 178065, February 20, 2013 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. ARNOLD TAPERE Y POLPOL, Accused-Appellant.

  • G.R. No. 179965, February 20, 2013 - NICOLAS P. DIEGO, Petitioner, v. RODOLFO P. DIEGO AND EDUARDO P. DIEGO, Respondents.

  • G.R. No. 180269, February 20, 2013 - JOSE Z. CASILANG, SR., SUBSTITUTED BY HIS HEIRS, NAMELY: FELICIDAD CUDIAMAT VDA. DE CASILANG, JOSE C. CASILANG, JR., RICARDO C. CASILANG, MARIA LOURDES C. CASILANG, CHRISTOPHER C. CASILANG, BEN C. CASILANG, DANTE C. CASILANG, GREGORIO C. CASILANG, HERALD C. CASILANG; AND FELICIDAD Z. CASILANG, MARCELINA Z. CASILANG, JACINTA Z. CASILANG, BONIFACIO Z. CASILANG, LEONORA Z. CASILANG, AND FLORA Z. CASILANG, Petitioners, v. ROSARIO Z. CASILANG-DIZON, MARIO A. CASILANG, ANGELO A. CASILANG, RODOLFO A. CASILANG, AND ATTY. ALICIA B. FABIA, IN HER CAPACITY AS CLERK OF COURT AND EX-OFFICIO SHERIFF OF PANGASINAN AND/OR HER DULY AUTHORIZED REPRESENTATIVE, Respondents.

  • G.R. No. 180677, February 18, 2013 - VICTORIO P. DIAZ, Petitioner, v. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES AND LEVI STRAUSS [PHILS.], INC., Respondents.

  • G.R. No. 180882, February 27, 2013 - THE BAGUIO REGREENING MOVEMENT, INC., REPRESENTED BY ATTY. ERDOLFO V. BALAJADIA; CITY ENVIRONMENT AND PARKS MANAGEMENT OFFICE, REPRESENTED BY ITS OFFICER-IN-CHARGE, CORDELIA C. LACSAMANA; AND THE BUSOL FOREST RESERVATION TASK FORCE, REPRESENTED BY ITS TEAM LEADER, VICTOR DICTAG, Petitioners, v. ATTY. BRAIN MASWENG, IN HIS CAPACITY AS REGIONAL HEARING OFFICER, NCIP-CAR; ELIZABETH MAT-AN, FOR HERSELF AND AS REPRESENTATIVE OF THE HEIRS OF RAFAEL; JUDITH MARANES, FOR HERSELF AND AS REPRESENTATIVE OF THE HEIRS OF MOLINTAS; HELEN LUBOS, FOR HERSELF AND AS REPRESENTATIVE OF THE HEIRS OF KALOMIS; MAGDALENA GUMANGAN QUE, FOR HERSELF AND AS REPRESENTATIVE OF THE HEIRS OF GUMANGAN; SPOUSES ALEXANDER AMPAGUEY AND LUCIA AMPAGUEY; AND SPOUSES CARMEN PANAYO AND MELANIO PANAYO, Respondents.

  • G.R. No. 181354, February 27, 2013 - SIMON A. FLORES, Petitioner, v. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Respondents.

  • G.R. No. 182152, February 25, 2013 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES AND MIRIAM RUTH T. MAGSINO, Petitioners, v. PO1 RICARDO P. EUSEBIO, SPO2 ROMEO ISIDRO, AND JOJIT GEORGE CONTRERAS, Respondents.

  • G.R. No. 182431, February 27, 2013 - LAND BANK OF THE PHILIPPINES, Petitioner, v. ESTHER ANSON RIVERA, ANTONIO G. ANSON AND CESAR G. ANSON, Respondents.

  • G.R. No. 183102, February 27, 2013 - MACARIO DIAZ CARPIO, Petitioner, v. COURT OF APPEALS, SPOUSES GELACIO G. ORIA AND MARCELINA PRE ORIA, Respondents.

  • G.R. No. 184487, February 27, 2013 - HON. MEDEL ARNALDO B. BELEN, IN HIS OFFICIAL CAPACITY AS PRESIDING JUDGE OF THE REGIONAL TRIAL COURT, BRANCH 36, 4TH JUDICIAL REGION, CALAMBA CITY, Petitioner, v. JOSEF ALBERT S. COMILANG, Respondents.

  • G.R. No. 184681, February 25, 2013 - GERRY A. SALAPUDDIN, Petitioner, v. THE COURT OF APPEALS, GOV. JUM AKBAR, AND NOR-RHAMA J. INDANAN, Respondents.

  • G.R. No. 188363, February 27, 2013 - ALLIED BANKING CORPORATION, Petitioner, v. BANK OF THE PHILIPPINE ISLANDS, Respondents.

  • G.R. No. 188849, February 13, 2013 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. JONATHAN "UTO" VELOSO Y RAMA, Accused-Appellant.

  • G.R. No. 188969, February 27, 2013 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. JOHN ALVIN PONDIVIDA, Accused-Appellant.

  • G.R. No. 193804, February 27, 2013 - SPOUSES NILO RAMOS AND ELIADORA RAMOS, Petitioners, v. RAUL OBISPO AND FAR EAST BANK AND TRUST COMPANY, Respondents.

  • G.R. No. 194168, February 13, 2013 - LAND BANK OF THE PHILIPPINES, Petitioner, v. SPOUSES PLACIDO AND CLARA DY ORILLA, Respondents.

  • G.R. No. 195825, February 27, 2013 - SPOUSES ALFONSO AND MARIA ANGELES CUSI, Petitioners, v. LILIA V. DOMINGO, Respondent. : G.R. NO. 195871 - RAMONA LIZA L. DE VERA, Petitioner, v. LILIA V. DOMINGO AND SPOUSES RADELIA AND ALFRED SY, Respondents.

  • A.C. No. 7350 - Patrocinio V. Agbulos v. Atty. Roseller A. Viray

  • A.M. No. 10-2-41-RTC - Missing Exhibits and Court Properties in Regional Trial Court, Br. 4, Panabo City, Davao del Norte

  • A.M. OCA-IPI No. 07-2618-RTJ - A.M. OCA-IPI No. 07-2619-RTJ - A.M. OCA-IPI No. 07-2652-RTJ - A.M. OCA-IPI No. 07-2720-RTJ - A.M. OCA-IPI No. 07-2721-RTJ - A.M. OCA-IPI No. 08-2808-RTJ - Eduardo Panes, Jr. et al. v. Judge Oscar E. Dinopol, RTC, Branch 24, Koronadal City; Joewe Palad v. Judge Oscar E. Dinopol, RTC, Branch 24, Koronadal City; Roque C. Facura, et al. v. Judge Oscar E. Dinopol, RTC, Branch 24, Koronadal City; Eden V. Castro v. Judge Oscar E. Dinopol, RTC, Branch 24, Koronadal City; Rosalinda G. Farofaldane v. Judge Oscar E. Dinopol, RTC, Branch 24, Koronadal City; Engr. Roque C. Facura, et al. v. Judge Oscar E. Dinopol, RTC, Branch 24, Koronadal City

  • A.M. No. MTJ-10-1771 - Victoriano G. Manlapaz v. Judge Manuel T. Sabillo, MCTC, Lamitan, Basilan

  • A.M. No. MTJ-12-1818 - Atty. Manuel J. Jimenez, Jr. v. Presiding Judge Michael M. Amdengan, Municipal Trail Court, Angono Rizal

  • A.M. No. 10-9-15-SC - Re: Request of (Ret.) Chief Justice Artemio V. Panganiban for Re-Computation of his Creditable Service for the Purpose of Re-Computing his Retirement Benefits.

  • A.M. No. P-11-2967 - Erlinda C. Mendoza v. Pedro S. Esguerra, Process Server, RTC, Br. 89, Sto. Domingo, Nueva Ecija

  • G.R. No. 145336 - Reynante Tadeja, et al. v. People of the Philippines

  • A.M. No. P-12-3032 - Ray Antonio C. Sasing v. Celestial Venus G. Gelbolingo, Sheriff IV, RTC, Branch 20, Cagayan de Oro City

  • G.R. No. 169253 - Pacifico C. Velasco v. The Hon. Sandiganbayan (Fifth Division) and The People of the Philippines

  • G.R. No. 163037 - Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company, Inc. v. Eastern Telecom Philippines

  • G.R. No. 172044 - Cavite Apparel, Inc., et al. v. Michelle Marquez

  • G.R. No. 169899 - Philacor Credit Corporation v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue

  • G.R. No. 174385 - Republic of the Philippines v. Hon. Ramon S. Caguiao, etc., et al.

  • G.R. No. 177158 - People of the Philippines v. Linda Alviz y Yatco and Elizabeth Dela Vega y Bautista

  • G.R. No. 179096 - Joseph Goyanko, Jr., as administrator of the Estate of Joseph Goyanko, Sr. v. United Coconut Planters Bank, Mango Avenue Branch

  • G.R. No. 179965 - Nicolas P. Diego v. Rodolfo P. Diego and Eduardo P. Diego

  • G.R. No. 180325 - O. Ventanilla Enterprises Corporation v. Adelina S. Tan and Sheriff Reynante G. Velasquez, Presiding Judge

  • G.R. No. 182358 - Department of Health, et al. v. Phil Pharmawealth, Inc.

  • G.R. No. 183102 - Macario Diaz Carpio v. Court of Appeals, spouses Gelacio G. Gloria and Marcelina Pre Oria

  • G.R. No. 187474 - Government Service Insurance System v. Marilou Alcaraz

  • G.R. No. 187496 - People of the Philippines v. Malik Manalao y Alauya

  • G.R. No. 187919 - Rafael H. Galvez and Katherine L. Guy v. Asia United Bank; G.R. No. 187979 - Asia United Bank v. Gilbert, et al.; G.R. No. 188030 - Gilbert Guy, et al. v. Asia Untied Bank

  • G.R. No. 188551 - Edmundo Escamilla y Jugo v. People of the Philippines

  • G.R. No. 188659 - Heirs of Manuel H. Ridad, et al. v. Gregorio Araneta University Foundation

  • G.R. No. 187485 - Commissioner of Internal Revenue v. San Roque Power Corporation; G.R. No. 196113 - Taganito Mining Corporation v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue; G.R. No. 197156 - Philex Mining Corporation v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue

  • G.R. No. 190343 - People of the Philippines v. Saiben Langcua y Daimla

  • G.R. No. 191023 - Don Djowel Sales y Abalahin v. People of the Philippines

  • G.R. No. 191644 - Dennis A.B. Funa v. Acting Secretary of Justice Alberto C. Agra, etc., et al.

  • G.R. No 191726 - People of the Philippines v. Noel Bartolome y Bajo

  • G.R. No. 191740 - Susana R. Sy v. Philippine Transmarine Carriers, Inc., and/or SSC Ship Management Pte., Ltd

  • G.R. No. 193314 - Svetlana P. Jalosjos v. Commission on Elections, Edwin Elim Tupag

  • G.R. No. 194578 - Philip Sigrid A. Fortun v. Prima Jesusa B. Quinsayas, et al.

  • G.R. No. 195032 - Isabelo A. Braza v. The Honorable Sandiganbayan (1st Division)

  • G.R. No. 195198 - Loreli LIm Po v. Department of the Justice, et al.; G.R. No. 197098 - Antonio ng Chiu v. Court of Appeals, et al.

  • G.R. No. 197003 - Nerie C. Serrano v. Ambassador Hotel, Inc. and Yolanda Chan

  • G.R. No. 196577 - Land Bank of the Philippines v. Barbara Sampaga Poblete

  • G.R. No. 197299 - Office of the Ombudsman v. Rodrigo V. Mapoy and Don Emmanuel R. Regalario

  • G.R. No. 198115 - People of the Philippines v. Jose Alex Secreto y Villanueva

  • G.R. No. 198794 - People of the Philippines v. Victor De Jesus y Garcia

  • G.R. No. 199781 - Licomcen, Inc. v. Engr. Salvador Abainza, etc.

  • G.R. No. 204528 - Secretary Leila M. De Lima, Director Nonnatus R. Rojas and Deputy Director Reynaldo O. Esmeralda v. Magtanggol B. Gatdula

  • A.M. No. MTJ-11-1801 (Formerly OCA I.P.I. No. 11-2438 MTJ), February 27, 2013 - ANONYMOUS, Complainant, v. JUDGE RIO C. ACHAS, MUNICIPAL TRIAL COURT IN CITIES, BRANCH 2, OZAMIZ CITY, MISAMIS OCCIDENTAL, Respondents.

  • G.R. No. 201167, February 27, 2013 - GOTESCO PROPERTIES, INC., JOSE C. GO, EVELYN GO, LOURDES G. ORTIGA, GEORGE GO, AND VICENTE GO, Petitioners, v. SPOUSES EUGENIO AND ANGELINA FAJARDO, Respondents.

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    A.M. No. MTJ-11-1801 (Formerly OCA I.P.I. No. 11-2438 MTJ), February 27, 2013 - ANONYMOUS, Complainant, v. JUDGE RIO C. ACHAS, MUNICIPAL TRIAL COURT IN CITIES, BRANCH 2, OZAMIZ CITY, MISAMIS OCCIDENTAL, Respondents.

      A.M. No. MTJ-11-1801 (Formerly OCA I.P.I. No. 11-2438 MTJ), February 27, 2013 - ANONYMOUS, Complainant, v. JUDGE RIO C. ACHAS, MUNICIPAL TRIAL COURT IN CITIES, BRANCH 2, OZAMIZ CITY, MISAMIS OCCIDENTAL, Respondents.

    PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT DECISIONS

    THIRD DIVISION

    [A.M. No. MTJ-11-1801 (Formerly OCA I.P.I. No. 11-2438 MTJ), February 27, 2013]

    ANONYMOUS, Complainant, v. JUDGE RIO C. ACHAS, MUNICIPAL TRIAL COURT IN CITIES, BRANCH 2, OZAMIZ CITY, MISAMIS OCCIDENTAL, Respondents.

    R E S O L U T I O N

    MENDOZA, J.:

    Before the Court is an anonymous letter-complaint,1 dated August 2, 2010, alleging immorality and conduct unbecoming of a judge against respondent Judge Rio C. Achas (Judge Achas), Presiding Judge, Municipal Trial Court in Cities, Branch 2, Ozamiz City, Misamis Occidental.

    The letter calls on the Court to look into the morality of respondent Judge Achas and alleges that: (1) it is of public knowledge in the city that Judge Achas is living scandalously with a woman who is not his wife; (2) he lives beyond his means; (3) he is involved with illegal activities through his connection with bad elements, the kuratongs; (4) he comes to court very untidy and dirty; (5) he decides his cases unfairly in exchange for material and monetary consideration; and (6) he is involved with cockfighting/gambling.

    In the Indorsement,2 dated September 30, 2010, the Office of the Court Administrator (OCA) referred the matter to Executive Judge Miriam Orquieza-Angot (Judge Angot) for Discreet Investigation and Report.

    In her Report,3 dated November 26, 2010, Judge Angot found that Judge Achas had been separated from his legal wife for quite some time and  they are living apart; and that he found for himself a young woman with whom he would occasionally go out with in public and it was not a secret around town. Anent the allegations that Judge Achas was living beyond his means and was involved in illegal activities, Judge Angot reported that she could not be certain whether such were true, and only ascertained that he had established friendships or alliances with people of different social standings from around the city. Judge Angot opined that the allegation that Judge Achas would come to court untidy and dirty was a matter of personal hygiene and in the eye of the beholder. Lastly, she found the charge that Judge Achas decided cases unfairly in exchange for consideration to be vague and unsubstantiated.

    In his Comment,4 dated February 4, 2011, Judge Achas denied all the allegations against him and claimed that they were hatched to harass him, pointing to disgruntled professionals, supporters and local candidates who lost during the May 2010 elections. He asserted that after 28 years in the government service, he had remained loyal to his work and conducted himself in a righteous manner.

    In the Resolution, dated December 14, 2011, the Court resolved to re-docket the case as a regular administrative matter and to refer the same to the Executive Judge of the Regional Trial Court of Ozamiz City for investigation, report and recommendation.

    In her Report,5 dated April 4, 2012, Executive Judge Salome P. Dungog (Judge Dungog) stated that an investigation was conducted. Judge Achas and his two witnesses testified in his defense, namely, his Branch Clerk of Court, Renato Zapatos; and his Process Server, Michael Del Rosario. The anonymous complainant never appeared to testify. During the investigation, Judge Achas again denied all the charges but admitted that he was married and only separated de facto from his legal wife for 26 years, and that he reared game cocks for leisure and extra income, having inherited such from his forefathers. Judge Dungog found that “it is not commendable, proper or moral per Canons of Judicial Ethics to be perceived as going out with a woman not his wife,”6 and for him to be involved in rearing game cocks.

    In its Memorandum, dated December 17, 2012, the OCA recommended that Judge Achas be reprimanded as to the charge of immorality. It was further recommended that he be ordered to refrain from going to cockpits or avoid such places altogether, with a warning that the same or similar complaint in the future shall be dealt with more severely. The other charges were recommended to be dismissed for lack of merit.

    The Court agrees, with modification.

    Under Section 1 of Rule 140 of the Rules of Court, anonymous complaints may be filed against judges, but they must be supported by public records of indubitable integrity. Courts have acted in such instances needing no corroboration by evidence to be offered by the complainant. Thus, for anonymous complaints, the burden of proof in administrative proceedings which usually rests with the complainant, must be buttressed by indubitable public records and by what is sufficiently proven during the investigation. If the burden of proof is not overcome, the respondent is under no obligation to prove his defense.7

    In the present case, no evidence was attached to the letter-complaint. The complainant never appeared, and no public records were brought forth during the investigation. Respondent Judge Achas denied all the charges made against him, only admitting that he was separated de facto from his wife and that he reared fighting cocks.

    The charges that he (1) lives beyond his means, (2) is involved with illegal activities through his connection with the kuratongs, (3) comes to court very untidy and dirty, and (4) decides his cases unfairly in exchange for material and monetary consideration were, therefore, properly recommended dismissed by the OCA for lack of evidence.

    The charges that (1) it is of public knowledge that he is living scandalously with a woman not his wife and that (2) he is involved with cockfighting/gambling are, however, another matter.

    The New Code of Judicial Conduct for the Philippine Judiciary pertinently provides:

    CANON 2
    INTEGRITY

    Integrity is essential not only to the proper discharge of the judicial office but also to the personal demeanor of judges.

    SEC. 1. Judges shall ensure that not only is their conduct above reproach, but that it is perceived to be so in the view of a reasonable observer.

    SEC. 2. The behavior and conduct of judges must reaffirm the people’s faith in the integrity of the judiciary. Justice must not merely be done but must also be seen to be done.

    x x x                               x x x                             x x x


    CANON 4
    PROPRIETY

    Propriety and the appearance of propriety are essential to the performance of all the activities of a judge.

    SEC. 1. Judges shall avoid impropriety and the appearance of impropriety in all of their activities.

    SEC. 2. As a subject of constant public scrutiny, judges must accept personal restrictions that might be viewed as burdensome by the ordinary citizen and should do so freely and willingly. In particular, judges shall conduct themselves in a way that is consistent with the dignity of the judicial office.

    x x x                             x x x                             x x x

    Judge Angot’s discreet investigation revealed that the respondent judge found “for himself a suitable young lass whom he occasionally goes out with in public and such a fact is not a secret around town.”8 Judge Achas denied this and no evidence was presented to prove the contrary. He did admit, however, that he had been estranged from his wife for the last 26 years. Notwithstanding his admission, the fact remains that he is still legally married to his wife. The Court, therefore, agrees with Judge Dungog in finding that it is not commendable, proper or moral for a judge to be perceived as going out with a woman not his wife. Such is a blemish to his integrity and propriety, as well as to that of the Judiciary.

    For going out in public with a woman not his wife, Judge Achas has clearly failed to abide by the above-cited Canons of the New Code of Judicial Conduct for Philippine Judiciary.

    Regarding his involvement in cockfighting, however, there is no clear evidence. Judge Achas denied engaging in cockfighting and betting. He admitted, however, that he reared fighting cocks for leisure, having inherited the practice from his forefathers. While gamecocks are bred and kept primarily for gambling, there is no proof that he goes to cockpits and gambles.  While rearing fighting cocks is not illegal, Judge Achas should avoid mingling with a crowd of cockfighting enthusiasts and bettors as it  undoubtedly impairs the respect due him. As a judge, he must impose upon himself personal restrictions that might be viewed as burdensome by the ordinary citizen and should do so freely and willingly.

    The Court further notes that in A.M. No. MTJ-04-1564,9 Judge Achas was charged with immorality for cohabiting with a woman not his wife, and with gross misconduct and dishonesty for personally accepting a cash bond in relation to a case and not depositing it with the clerk of court, and for maintaining a flock of fighting cocks and actively participating in cockfights. The Court, in 2005, found him guilty of gross misconduct for personally receiving the cash bond and fined him in the amount of P15,000.00 with a stern warning. The charge of immorality was dismissed for lack of evidence. Although the Court, at the same time, noted that the charge of maintaining a flock of fighting cocks and participating in cockfights was denied by the respondent judge, it made no ruling on the charge.

    Seven years later, similar charges of immoral cohabitation and cockfighting have again been levelled against Judge Achas. Considering that his immoral behaviour is not a secret around town, it is apparent that respondent judge has failed to ensure that his conduct is perceived to be above reproach by the reasonable observer, and has failed to avoid the appearance of impropriety in his activities, to the detriment of the judiciary as a whole.

    No position demands greater moral righteousness and uprightness from its occupant than does the judicial office. Judges in particular must be individuals of competence, honesty and probity, charged as they are with safeguarding the integrity of the court and its proceedings. He should behave at all times so as to promote public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary, and avoid impropriety and the appearance of impropriety in all his activities. His personal behaviour outside the court, and not only while in the performance of his official duties, must be beyond reproach, for he is perceived to be the personification of law and justice. Thus, any demeaning act of a judge degrades the institution he represents.10

    Under Section 10 in relation to Section 11.C of Rule 140 of the Rules of Court, as amended, “unbecoming conduct” is classified as a light charge, punishable by any of the following sanctions: (1) a fine of not less than P1,000.00 but not exceeding P10,000.00; and/or (2) censure; (3) reprimand; (4) admonition with warning. The Court, thus, finds that the penalty of a fine in the amount of P5,000.00 and reprimand are proper under the circumstances.

    WHEREFORE, for violation of the New Code of Judicial Conduct, respondent Judge Rio Concepcion Achas is REPRIMANDED and FINED in the amount of FIVE THOUSAND PESOS (P5,000.00), ADMONISHED  not to socially mingle with cockfighting enthusiasts and bettors, and STERNLY WARNED that a repetition of the same or similar acts shall be dealt with more severely.

    SO ORDERED.

    Velasco, Jr., (Chairperson), Peralta, Abad, and Leonen, JJ., concur.

    Endnotes:


    1Rollo, p. 6.

    2 Id. at 8.

    3 Id. at 10.

    4 Id. at 15-16.

    5 Id. at 98-99.

    6 Id. at 99.

    7Go v. Judge Achas, 493 Phil. 343, 349 (2005).

    8Rollo, p. 10.

    9Go v. Judge Achas, supra note 7.

    10City of Tagbiliran v. Judge Hontanosas, Jr.  425 Phil. 592, 601 (2002).

    A.M. No. MTJ-11-1801 (Formerly OCA I.P.I. No. 11-2438 MTJ), February 27, 2013 - ANONYMOUS, Complainant, v. JUDGE RIO C. ACHAS, MUNICIPAL TRIAL COURT IN CITIES, BRANCH 2, OZAMIZ CITY, MISAMIS OCCIDENTAL, Respondents.


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