Philippine Supreme Court Jurisprudence


Philippine Supreme Court Jurisprudence > Year 1974 > May 1974 Decisions > A.M. No. 655-MJ May 23, 1974 - CESAR G. OTERO v. JUAN G. ESGUERRA:




PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT DECISIONS

FIRST DIVISION

[A.M. No. 655-MJ. May 23, 1974.]

CESAR G. OTERO, Complainant, v. MUN. JUDGE JUAN G. ESGUERRA, Respondent.


R E S O L U T I O N


CASTRO, J.:


The respondent municipal judge Juan G. Esguerra of Taytay, Rizal, is here charged with gross ignorance of the law as well as conduct unbecoming a judicial magistrate. The complainant Cesar G. Otero alleged in his verified complaint that on November 8, 1971, at about 2:00 o’clock in the afternoon, appeared as counsel for Liberal Party mayoralty candidate Benjamin Esguerra before the respondent to oppose a petition for inclusion filed in behalf of one Natalia M. Austria; that the respondent immediately granted the petition after hearing the argument of Austria’s lawyer, whereupon Otero moved for reconsideration; that the respondent’s temper rose and he shouted at Otero, saying, "I told you to stop talking. I do not like to hear anything more from you! You get out of this courtroom! Sino ka dito?" ; that Otero was then ousted from the courtroom on orders of the respondent; and that the respondent likewise arbitrarily dismissed Otero’s appeal from the order granting the petition for inclusion.

The complaint was referred on December 7, 1971 by the then Undersecretary of Justice Estelito P. Mendoza to the Executive Judge, Court of First Instance, Pasig, Rizal for investigation, report and recommendation.

Answering the complaint, the respondent states that he wanted the petition for inclusion over Otero’s opposition because the petitioner, among other things, possessed a voter’s ID card; that he disapproved the appeal taken by the complainant Otero so as not to disenfranchise Austria, considering that it was then 2:50 o’clock in the afternoon and the elections were only up to 3:00 o’clock; and that he ordered a policeman to oust complainant from the courtroom in order to end Otero’s heated verbal argument which, in the presence of many persons, imputed to him gross ignorance of the law.

The CFI judge assigned to investigate set the case for hearing; before the investigation could commence, however, Otero filed a "Manifestation" withdrawing his complaint. In view of this development, the complaint stands unsubstantiated.

ACCORDINGLY, the administrative complaint against the respondent judge is dismissed. He is admonished, nevertheless, to refrain, at all times, from any official conduct that may well be regarded as not entirely free from the appearance of Impropriety or intemperateness.

Makalintal, C.J., Teehankee, Makasiar, Esguerra and Muñoz Palma, JJ., concur.




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