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[G.R. No.146551-52. October 22, 2001]

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES et al. vs. HON. ROSETE et al.

THIRD DIVISION

Gentlemen:

Quoted hereunder, for your information, is a resolution of this Court dated OCT 22 2001.

G.R. 146551-52(People of the Philippines and Rufina Chua vs. Hon. Maxwel S. Rosete, Acting Judge of Metropolitan Trial Court, Br. 58, San Juan and Wilfred N. Chiok)

On January 23, 2001, the People of the Philippines and Rufina Chua, petitioners, through a private prosecutor, filed with this Court a "Petition for Change of Venue" of Criminal Case Nos. 44739 and 51988, "People of the Philippines vs. Wilfred Chiok," both for violations of B.P. Blg. 22. On November 27, 2000, these cases were jointly decided by Judge Maxwell S. Rosete of the Metropolitan Trial Court, Branch 58, San Juan, Metro Manila, acquitting accused Wilfred Chiok and absolving him of any civil liability.

Aggrieved by the decision, petitioners filed a motion for reconsideration with the MTC. Petitioner Chua likewise filed complaints with the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) and Office of the Court Administrator (OCA) against Judge Rosete.

Sensing that Judge Rosete can no longer maintain impartiality, petitioners filed the present 'Petition" praying for a change of venue in order that their pending motion for reconsideration of the November 27, 2000 decision will be resolved by another judge.

In his comment, Wilfred Chiok vehemently opposed the "perceived inhibition" of Judge Rosete, claiming, inter alia, that the latter's decision was rendered after trial on the merits, where both prosecution and defense were given the opportunity to be heard; that double jeopardy has already set in; and that the grounds relied upon by the petitioners are based on speculations and conjectures and devoid of any legal or factual basis.

In their reply, petitioners insist that they are only asking this Court to order a change of venue so that the pending incident will be heard in an impartial forum.

Requests for change of venue in criminal cases are treated by this Court as administrative matters1 A.M. No. 99-12-08-SC, "Referral of Administrative Matters and Cases to the Divisions of the Court or to the Chief Justice and Chairmen of Divisions for Appropriate Actions." and are being referred to the OCA for evaluation, report and recommendation. However, the instant request, instead of being considered as an administrative matter, was inadvertently docketed as a "Petition" and the parties were required to file their respective memoranda within thirty (30) days from notice.

ACCORDINGLY, let this incident be converted into an administrative matter and be referred to the Court Administrator for evaluation and recommendation. He is required to submit his report within ten (10) days from notice.

SO ORDERED.

Very truly yours,

(Sgd.) JULIETA Y. CARREON

Clerk of Court


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