Please take notice that the Court, Second Division, issued a Resolution dated 28 November 2011 which reads as follows:cralaw
G. R. No. 145817 (Urban Bank v. Magdaleno M. Peña); G. R. No. 145822 (Delfin C. Gonzalez, Jr., Benjamin L. de Leon, and Eric L. Lee v. Magdaleno M. Peña); G. R. No. 162562 (Magdaleno M. Peña, v. Urban Bank, Inc., Teodoro Borlongan, Delfin C. Gonzalez, Jr., Benjamin L. de Leon, P. Siervo H. Dizon, Eric L. Lee, Ben T. Lim, Jr., Corazon Bejasa, and Arturo Manuel, Jr.) - For the Court's consideration are the following: (a) the Letter to Chief Justice Renato C. Corona dated 02 September 2011; (b) the Second Supplement to Very Urgent Motion for Re-Raffle and Motion for Reconsideration of the 31 August 2011 Resolution dated 14 October 2011; and (c) the Third Supplement to Very Urgent Motion for Re-Raffle dated 26 October 2011, all filed by Atty. Magdaleno Peña. The Letter to the Chief Justice was transmitted by the Office of the Chief Justice to the Second Division.
Letter to the Chief Justice
In the Letter dated 02 September 2011 addressed to the Chief Justice, Atty. Peña lamented the denial by this Court of his two Motions for Inhibition against Justice Maria Lourdes P. A. Sereno in the above-captioned cases. In the Resolutions dated 04 April 2011 and 17 October 2011, the Court previously denied Atty. Peña's Very Urgent Motion to Inhibit dated 30 March 2011 and Very Urgent Motion to Inhibit dated 22 August 2011, respectively.
Atty. Peña's grounds for inhibition were based on information passed to him by his unnamed sources that the appointment of Justice Sereno to the Court was due to the recommendation of Justice Antonio T. Carpio and his former law office. Hence, her impartiality with respect to deciding the case was allegedly questionable.
Thus, he requested assistance from the Chief Justice to ensure that the present Petitions be resolved with impartiality, and that Justice Sereno allow the re-raffle of these consolidated cases to another division.
Second Supplement to the Very Urgent Motion for Re-Raffle and Motion For Reconsideration of the Order De-consolidating the Above Cases from Administrative Case No. 6332
Atty. Peña raised additional arguments in his Second Supplement to bolster his earlier Motion for Re-raffle of the consolidated cases to other divisions based on his belief that Justices Carpio and Sereno would be partial against him. To recall, we had earlier denied this Motion for Re-Raffle dated 01 September 2011 as well as the First Supplement to the Very Urgent Motion for Re-raffle dated 20 September 2011 for lack of merit in a Resolution dated 17 October 2011. We reiterate that Justice Carpio has long inhibited himself from this case.
Atty. Peña complains that the 31 August 2011 Resolution denying his Motion to Inhibit was purposely not furnished him, since his copy was mailed to his previous Makati office address, but that he had on 31 May 2011 requested that pleadings be sent to his provincial home in Pulupandan, Negros Occidental (cf. Manifestation dated 18 May 2011) In the Second Supplement, he states:
10. Considering that, (i) respondent/petitioner was not served/furnished a copy of the Resolution dated 31 August 2011; and (ii) Admin Case No. 6332 which contains findings and issues that are related to the other consolidated cases, was "Deconsolidated" from the above-captioned consolidated cases; it is clear, with all due respect, that the impartiality of the Honorable Justice Sereno is questionable. In fact, with all due respect, the Honorable Justice Sereno shows bias in favor of the Honorable Justice Carpio and opposing parties and the deconsolidation is a way for her to protect them. (Further, considering that the respondent/petitioner has filed a Complaint with the Committee on Ethics and Ethical Standards). Furthermore, opposing counsel, Atty. Vinluan filed a Comment defending the Honorable Justice Sereno and, in a guise, also added an additional request for the early resolution of the other consolidated cases. Considering [Atty. Vinluan's] abilities, the timing is uncanny.
He also prays for the reconsideration of the 31 August 2011 Resolution, which deconsolidated the instant petitions from the administrative case (A. C. No. 6332). He alleges that. Justice Sereno, in separating from the main case the confidential findings in the Report of the Office of the Bar Confidant (OBC) on the administrative case will attempt to protect Justice Carpio, Atty. Peña contends:
12. On the issue of the "Deconsolidation" of Admin. Case No. 6332[,] [r]espondent/petitioner respectfully moves for the Reconsideration of the same. Admin. Case No. 6332 contains issues and findings that are so intricately linked to the other consolidated cases there is no basis for its separation. Among those issues is the 13 November 2002 Resolution of the Honorable Justice Carpio regarding the auction sale of several properties of opposing parties. (Clearly the same is pertinent to the other consolidated cases.)
13. Admin. Case No. 6332 is an offshoot of the other consolidated cases and was a result of the 13 November 2002 Resolution of the Honorable Justice Carpio and the manner in which he issued the same. It is so linked that the first forty-six pages concern matters that occurred in the other consolidated cases. Thus, the only possible reason, for the Honorable Justice Sereno, to remove the Admin Case No. 6332 is to disregard the same in order to protect the Honorable Justice Carpio and opposing counsel in the resolution of the oilier consolidated cases.
Third Supplement to the Very Urgent Motion for Re-Raffle
In the third Supplement, Atty. Peña attached as an additional ground for his Motion for Re-raffle the Letter dated 18 October 2011 sent to him by the Supreme Court Clerk of Court. In the said Letter, the Clerk of Court in informed him that his earlier administrative Complaint against Justices Carpio and Sereno had already been referred to the Committee on Ethical Standards.
Atty. Peña claims that because his Complaint against Justices Carpio and Sereno has been referred to the Court's Committee on Ethics and Ethical Standards, "it is prudent for the present cases to be Re-Raffled to another Division of this Honorable Court." He asserted in his Third Supplement that:
2. Thus, with all due respect, it is prudent for the present cases to be Re-Raffled to another Division of this Honorable Court. The impartiality of any decision promulgated will be questioned by any of the parties. If it is favorable to opposing parties, the same could [have] arisen out of spite, ill will, etc. If the same is favorable to respondent/petitioner, opposing parties may claim the same arose out of being pressured by the above-mentioned admin complaint....
3. Thus, it is confirmed that the Honorable Justice Carpio, the Chairman of this Division, has a close relationship with at least one member of opposing counsel. Considering that the Honorable Justice Sereno was appointed in no small part by the efforts of the Honorable Justice Carpio and that some of the issues herein concern the Honorable Justice Carpio, it does not take a stretch of the imagination that any decision arrived at will be favorable to the interests of opposing parties, counsel and the Honorable Justice Carpio. Further, the same was affirmed when Admin Case No. 6332 was deconsolidated from the other consolidated cases.
Atty. Peña's Letter to the Chief Justice is effectively a motion for reconsideration of the Court's denial of his Motion for Inhibition against Justice Sereno. In seeking a different venue for his alleged grievances against Justice Sereno, he merely rehashed his earlier accusations of her partiality, allegations that have all been declared to be unmeritorious and unfounded by the Court in its earlier Orders.
Considering that the Court has already denied the Motion for Re-Raffle, the Second Supplement thereto is moot and academic. In addition, Atty. Peña's Motion for Reconsideration simply reiterates his unsupported fear that Justice Sereno will protect Justice Carpio by separating the OBC's findings in the administrative case from the consolidated main cases.
In our Decision dated 19 October 2011, we fully disclosed his allegation of fraud against Justice Carpio and considered it to be unrelated to how we would dispose of the main case. The administrative case is still pending and Atty. Peña can continue reminding this Court, if he is so minded, of whatever allegations against Justice Carpio the former has and believes are material to the resolution of the case.
Furthermore, with respect to the alleged error in sending the 31 August 2011 Resolution, the responsibility of releasing decisions and resolutions are lodged with the Division Clerk of Court and cannot be imputed to the individual members of the Court. (Internal Rules of the Supreme Court, Rule 13, Sec. 10) Unless he has proof to the contrary, the mistake in sending out the Notice of the 31 August 2011 Resolution to Atty. Peña's old Makati office address, not to his provincial address, should only be considered to be a mere clerical oversight by the Office of the Division Clerk of Court, and not a deliberate attempt to deprive him of notices from the Court.
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Court NOTES WITHOUT ACTION the Letter dated 02 September 2011 to Chief Justice Renato C. Corona sent by Atty. Magdaleno M. Peña. The Letter, which is effectively a motion for reconsideration, merely reiterated grounds for the inhibition of Justice Maria Lourdes P. A. Sereno in this case, grounds already twice considered by this Court to be unfounded, and unmeritorious in the Resolutions dated 04 April 2011 and 17 October 2011.
The Court also NOTES WITHOUT ACTION the Second Supplement to Very Urgent Motion for Re-Raffle dated 14 October 2011, since the Court has already denied the main Motion for Re-raffle, which was sought to be supplemented with the instant pleading, as well as for independent lack of merit. (cf. Resolution dated 17 October 2011)
The Motion for Reconsideration attached to the Second Supplement of Atty. Peña, with respect to the Court's Resolution dated 31 August 2011 ordering the de-consolidation of the instant main cases from Administrative Case No. 6332, is hereby DENIED. No substantial arguments have been raised to warrant the reversal of the said Resolution, which was issued for purposes of orderly administration of justice and speedy disposition of the cases, and not for any ill motive ascribed by Atty. Peña in his motion.
The Third Supplement to the Very Urgent Motion for Re-Raffle is likewise NOTED WITHOUT ACTION for being moot and for utter lack, of merit. All of the claims of Atty. Peña against Justice Sereno are based on speculations and his theory that any unfavorable decision against him cannot be based on anything else than bias on her part.
The Division Clerk of Court is REMINDED to exert additional caution and care and to send all notices, orders, resolutions, decisions and other related documents of this Court with respect to these consolidated Petitions to Atty. Peña's address at Ubay, Pulupandan, Negros Occidental.
In order to minimize any possible mishap in the service of such documents from this Court, the Division Clerk of Court is ORDERED to send them by regular registered mail as well as through a duly accredited private courier service. This mode of mailing to Atty. Peña should include not only this Resolution but also all future issuances of this Court. The Division Clerk of Court is also DIRECTED to send an additional copy and notice of the Court's Decision dated 19 October 2011 through private courier service as described above, so that no right of Atty. Peña vis-à-vis the said Decision may be impaired by any mishap in delivery. (Brion, J., acting chairperson, Villarama, J., additional member vice Carpio, J., per Raffle dated 7 June 2010).cralaw
Very truly yours,
MA. LUISA L. LAUREA
Division Clerk of Court
(Sgd.) TERESITA AQUINO TUAZON
Deputy Division Clerk of Court