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This web page features the full text of
CIRCULAR NO. 3-89.
CIRCULAR NO. 3-89
   
TO:  COURT OF APPEALS, SANDIGANBAYAN, COURT OF TAX APPEALS, REGIONAL TRIAL COURTS, METROPOLITAN TRIAL COURTS, MUNICIPAL TRIAL COURTS, MUNICIPAL CIRCUIT TRIAL COURTS, SHARI’A DISTRICT COURT AND SHARI’A CIRCUIT COURTS, ALL MEMBERS OF THE GOVERNMENT PROSECUTION SERVICE AND ALL MEMBERS OF THE INTEGRATED BAR OF THE PHILIPPINES

SUBJECT:  COMPLAINTS FILED WITH THE IBP AGAINST JUSTICES AND JUDGES OF THE LOWER COURTS.
  
For the information and guidance of all concerned, quoted hereunder is the Resolution of the En Banc dated January 31, 1989 clarifying Resolution dated November 29, 1988 in "Re: Letter of [Acting] Presiding Justice Rodolfo A. Nocon and Associate Justice Reynato S. Puno and Alfredo Marigomen of the Court of Appeals:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary

"The Court noted the letter dated December 19, 1988 by Dr. Leon M. Garcia, Jr., President, Integrated Bar of the Philippines [IBP] to the Supreme Court seeking a resolution "reconsidering/clarifying" the Resolution of this Court dated November 29, 1988 relating to complaints filed with the IBP against justices and judges of the lower courts.   "After careful consideration of Hon. Garcia’s letter, the Court Resolved to reiterate its Resolution dated November 29, 1988 directing that "all complaints against justices and judges of the lower courts filed with the Commission on Bar Discipline should promptly be referred to the Supreme Court for appropriate action." This Resolution is properly regarded as an interpretation of Section 1, second paragraph of Rule 139-B of the Revised Rules of Court, such that "attorney’s in the government service" should be understood as not including members of the Court of Appeals, the Sandiganbayan, the Court of Tax Appeals and Judges of the lower courts. In general, the Court is here referring to those who perform judicial functions and before whose courts the members of the IBP appear in the exercise of their profession.   "The Court still has under consideration the case of fiscals and other government prosecuting attorneys, as well as government lawyers whose office duties do not consist of the adjudication of cases or disputes. The Court will inform the IBP when it shall have reached a conclusion in respect of fiscals and prosecuting attorneys.   "The Court addresses below the 'matters which need clarification' set out in Hon. Garcia’s letter:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
      [1] The IBP (Board of Governors and Commission on Bar Discipline) shall forward to the Supreme Court, for appropriate action, all cases involving justices and judges of lower courts, whether or not such complaints deal with acts apparently unrelated to the discharge of their official functions, such as acts of immorality, estafa, crimes against persons and property, etc.

      [2] As noted above, this Resolution as well as our Resolution dated November 29, 1988 constitute an interpretation of Section 1, Rule 139-B.cralaw

      [3] In principle, the Supreme Court would not assign complaints filed with it against justices and judges of the lower courts to the IBP for investigation after the Supreme Court shall have found a probable cause in such charges. As a matter of long standing practice, the Court has assigned complaints against Municipal or Metropolitan Trial Judges to an Executive Judge, against Regional Trial Courts judges to a Justice of the Court of Appeals for investigation, report and recommendation, while a complaint against a member of the Court of Appeals would probably be assigned to a member of the Supreme Court for investigation, report and recommendation.cralaw

      [4] The IBP shall refer to the Supreme Court all cases filed against judges, including complaints charging judges jointly with practicing lawyers, whether filed directly with the IBP or transmitted to the IBP by the Office of the Solicitor General. The Supreme Court will examine these complaints individually and on a case by case basis. The Court may refer such a case for joint investigation to an Executive Judge of a Regional Trial Court or to a justice of the Court of Appeals. There may, however, be instances when the case against the practicing lawyer may be separable and conveniently referred to the IBP for investigation.cralaw

      [5] The Court will scrutinize very carefully any claim by other lawyers in the government service that complaints against them be referred to this Court rather than to the IBP. The Court looks forward to comments thereon by the IBP should such claims be made.cralaw

      [6] It appears to the Court that the IBP has been quite busy with the number of cases already referred to it involving private petitioners.  The Court continues to follow the work of the IBP in this area with great interest and high expectations."

February 6, 1989.

      

[Sgd.] MARCELO B. FERNAN
Chief Justice
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