By Judge Gabriel T. Ingles
Cebu Daily News

Conclusion

ADELPHA E. MALABED,

Complainant,

– versus –

JUDGE ENRIQUE C. ASIS,

Regional Trial Court,

Branch 16, Naval, Biliran,

Respondent.

A.M. No. RTJ-07-2031

(Formerly OCA IPI No. 06-2484-RTJ)

Promulgated: August 4, 2009

Equally tenuous is complainant’s contention that the CA’s finding of grave abuse of discretion of the part of respondent Judge proves the latter’s bias and partiality. A finding of grave abuse of discretion does not necessarily prove that respondent Judge displayed a preference for one of the party-litigants. As aptly observed by the Investigating Justice, the reversal of a judge’s order by a superior court in a certiorari case is, in itself, not a ground for an administrative action against the judge. Respondent Judge, by granting the petition for relief in Civil Case No. B-1016 on the ground that complainant failed to disclose a verbal agreement between her family and defendants therein, may have committed an error of judgment. However, in the absence of bad faith, such erroneous judgment cannot be a ground for disciplinary action.5[21]

In Maylas, Jr. v. Judge Sese,6[22] respondent Judge was administratively charged because he granted a motion to quash based on a ground not raised by the accused, and the CA found that such act was tantamount to a grave abuse of discretion. The Court dismissed the complaint against respondent Judge, holding thus:

x x x

In the absence of fraud, dishonesty and corruption, the acts of a judge in his official capacity are not subject to disciplinary action. He cannot be subjected to liability – civil, criminal or administrative – for any of his official acts, no matter how erroneous as long as he acts in good faith. Only judicial errors tainted with fraud, dishonesty, gross ignorance, bad faith or deliberate intent to do an injustice will be administratively sanctioned. Settled is the rule that errors committed by a judge in the exercise of his adjudicative functions cannot be corrected through administrative proceedings, but should instead be assailed through judicial remedies.7[23]

While the Investigating Justice may have cleared respondent Judge of administrative liability in the present case, the Court, nonetheless, takes into consideration that there have been several administrative complaints previously filed against respondent Judge.

In Tabao v. Judge Asis,8[24] herein respondent Judge was found administratively liable for gross irregularity in the performance of his duties, violation of Supreme Court circulars and regulations, and abuse of authority and conduct unbecoming of a judge, and fined in the amount of P10,000.00.

In Almendra v. Judge Asis,9[25] herein respondent Judge was found guilty of serious inefficiency, for which he was suspended for ten (10) days, fined P40,000.00 and warned that a repetition of the same or similar acts would be dealt with more severely.

In Atty. Nenita Ceniza-Layese v. Judge Enrique C. Asis,10[26] respondent Judge was also found guilty of misconduct and dishonesty, for which he was fined P20,000.00.

On the other hand, the cases of Ang v. Judge Asis11[27] and Dadizon v. Judge Asis12[28] were both dismissed for lack of merit, although in the former, respondent Judge was reprimanded and made to pay a fine of P5,000.00, as well as admonished to be more circumspect and act with more dispatch in the performance of his official functions.

Respondent Judge must bear in mind that membership in the judiciary circumscribes one’s personal conduct and imposes upon him certain restrictions, the faithful observance of which is the price one has to pay for holding such a distinguished position. A magistrate of the law must comport himself in a manner that his conduct must be free of a whiff of impropriety, not only with respect to the performance of his official duties, but also to his behavior outside of his sala and as a private individual. His conduct must be able to withstand the most searching public scrutiny, for the ethical principles and sense of propriety of a judge are essential to the preservation of the people’s faith in the judicial system lest public confidence in the judiciary would be eroded by the incompetent, irresponsible and negligent conduct of judges.13[29] In this case, respondent Judge should have been more cautious in his close associations with members of the Bar that led complainant to believe that the former had already been predisposed to the opposing party and, hence, renders his impartiality questionable.

WHEREFORE, respondent Judge Enrique C. Asis of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 16 of Naval, Biliran, is ordered to pay a FINE of P20,000.00, with a stern warning that a repetition of the same or similar acts in the future shall be dealt with more severely.

This Decision shall be immediately executory.

SO ORDERED.

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6 COMMENTS

  1. wala na jud mapili aning mga ngserbisyo sa batas sa pinas..
    mpa JUDGE,LAWYERS,NBI agent og uban pa…mga crok lagi tanan wala nay mapili..ambot kaha og naa pabay tarong dha nga abogado og judge sa pinas.goodluck nalang sa tanan…happy fiesta sa tanan aga naval…godbless us all…thankyou…

  2. from Biliran Island Facebook

    Nisa Tambis Lumbab

    The Tambis family was also a victim of bias and partiality of a judge. Until now, justice has been denied to the family by Judge Joboco dismissing the case against the true mastermind of the Atipolo massacre without a single trial in court. What an abuse of authority!

  3. The Tambis family was also a victim of bias and partiality of a judge. Until now, justice has been denied to the family by Judge Joboco dismissing the case against the true mastermind of the Atipolo massacre without a single trial in court. What an abuse of authority!

  4. The father of my son was one of the San Fernando valley chapters”the Mongols” motorcycle gang that was infiltrated by Los Angeles undercover agent. which led to the convictions of murder , attempted murder , extortion, manufacturing meth., and numerous gun and weapon violations to name a few. the father in my case did 6yrs for weapons and affiliation to the club. He is still on parole. my son is seven. He has never spent a night alone with this man. nor has he had an unsupervised visit without me there. there is a prior minute order stating he has supervised visits only, and yet a commissioner that heard our case, and who by the way answers the phone for the fathers rights hotline and also worked for the fathers rights law firm, gave the father 100% sole ,physical, and legal custody. do you think the commissioner was bias? the documents were falsified so the case would be heard in that courtroom and the question of any prior cases involving the child? the box was checked no, but he was served a copy of the min order where he had supervised visits. when i showed it to the mediator ,she tossed it back to me and said she had jurisdiction. he lied on the declaration where he was to account for the last 5 yrs where the child resides. H e stated the child lived with the mother and him, for 3yrs and he was still living in prison. the mediator was aware of all the documents he had lied on, but never questioned him about it, nor was the fact he has an extremely violent past, ever mentioned. My son is showing signs of depression, he’s withdrawing, hes scared to talk without first looking at his dad for the answer, for fear of his father. can anyone help with filing some type of motion? I am a good mom, and my son was a bright boy who was always happy. He received an award for the best grades in the whole school. thank you

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