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COURT OF APPEALS and BELEN LOPEZ DE GUIA represented by her Attorney-in-Fact MELBA G. VALENZUELA, respondents G.R. no. 128967 May 20, 2004 Nature of DAR Provincial Adjudicator and the DARAB The DAR Provincial Adjudicator and the DARAB should have been more circumspect in the disposition of this case. Instead of facilitating the administration of justice, their obstinate refusal to obey a valid final judgment of the Court of Appeals, further delayed the resolution of this case and added valuable irretrievable years to a case that has already dragged on for decades. 2. ATTY. ALBERTO P. QUINTO, complainant, vs. JUDGE GREGORIO S. VIOS, Municipal Trial Court, Kapatagan, Lanao del Norte, respondent. A.M. no. MTJ-04-1551, May 21, 2004 Administrative complaint against a judge As a matter of policy, in the absence of fraud, dishonesty or corruption, the acts of a judge in his judicial capacity are not subject to disciplinary action even though such acts are erroneous. However, erroneously a judges belief that counsel for the accused has no right to waive the presentation of evidence, the same may only be considered an error judgment- a judges failure to interpret the law or to property appreciate the evidence presented does not necessarily render him administratively liable. An administrative complaint against a judge cannot be pursued simultaneously with the judicial remedies accorded to parties aggrieved by his erroneous order or judgment. Respondent judges actuations of virtually compelling a lawyer to withdraw as counsel for the accused, threatening to punish him for contempt of court if he would refuse, amount to vulgar and unbecoming conduct, classified as a light charge under Rule 140 of the Rules of Court, as amended by A. M. No. 01-8-10-SC. 3. PASONG BAYABAS FARMERS ASSOCIATION, INC., represented by DOMINGO BANAAG, JR., President; BERNARDO POBLETE, Vice-President, and its Members, petitioners, vs. The Honorable COURT OF APPEALS, CREDITO ASIATIC, INC., ERNESTO TANCHI, SR., GEN. DIONISIO OJEDA (deceased), ELENA P. BIGAY, and LANRICO MINISTERIO, respondents. G. R. No. 142359, May 25, 2004 Nature of Agricultural lands

Agricultural lands are only those lands which are arable or suitable lands that do not include commercial, industrial and residential lands.

4. ALFREDO BON, complainant, vs. ATTYS. VICTOR S. ZIGA and ANTONIO A. ARCANGEL, respondents. A.C. No. 5436. May 27, 2004 Nature of Notaries Public Notarization is not an empty, meaningless, routinary act. Notaries Public must observe with utmost care the basic requirements in the performance for their duties. 5. EMMA V. DE JUAN, complainant, vs. ATTY. OSCAR R. BARIA III, respondent. A.C. No. 5817, May 27, 2004 Responsibility of an attorney

Among the fundamental rules of ethics is the principle that an attorney who undertakes an action impliedly stipulates to carry it to its termination, that is, until the case becomes final and executory. A lawyer is not at liberty to abandon his client and withdraw his services without reasonable cause and only upon notice appropriate in the circumstances. Negligence of lawyer in connection with legal matters entrusted to them for handling shall render them liable. An attorney may only retire from the case either by a written consent of his client or by permission of the court after due notice and hearing, in which event the attorney should see to it that the name of the new attorney is recorded in the case. 6. FEDERICO D. RICAFORT, complainant, vs. ATTY. EDDIE R. BANSIL, respondent. Adm. Case No. 6298, May 27, 2004 Ex parte investigation As a matter of procedure, the Investigating Commissioner should have proceeded with the investigation ex parte pursuant to the provisions of Section 8, Rule 139-B of the Rules of Court.

Where the complaint a lawyer is in connection with the discharge of his functions as a notary public, and not as an elected barangay chairman. Thus, the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees invoked by complainant will not apply to the present administrative complaint against respondent. Respondent, as a lawyer and a notary public, is covered by the Code of Professional Responsibility and Code of Professional Ethics. 7. Re: Withholding of All the Salaries and Allowances of Mr. Datu Ashary M. Alauya, Clerk of Court, 4th Sharia District Court, Marawi City A.M. No. SDC-03-4-P. May 27, 2004 Responsibility of a clerk of court A clerk of court and the administrative functions he performs are vital to the prompt and proper administration of justice. As court custodian, a clerk of court has the responsibility to ensure that records are safely kept and the same are readily available upon the request of the parties or order of the court. As custodian of judicial records, it is incumbent upon him to ensure an orderly and efficient record management system in the court and to supervise the personnel under his office to function effectively.

8. PETER BEJARASCO, JR. and ISABELITA BEJARASCO, complainants, vs. JUDGE ALFREDO D. BUENCONSEJO, Municipal Trial Court, Dalaguete, Cebu, SECUNDINO PIEDAD, Clerk of Court, and LEONISA GONZALES, Court Stenographer, Municipal Trial Court, Argao, Cebu, respondents. A.M. No. MTJ-02-1417, May 27, 2004 Administrative cases may proceed independently of criminal proceedings A judgment, to be valid, must have been personally and directly prepared by the judge, and duly signed by him. Judgment may be promulgated by the clerk of court only when the judge is absent or outside the province or city. Decisions promulgated after the judge who penned the same had been appointed to and qualified in another office are null and void; In single courts like the regional

trial courts and the municipal trial courts, a decision may no longer be promulgated after the ponente has vacated his office. Administrative cases may proceed independently of criminal proceedings, and may continue despite the dismissal of the latter charges. 9. SATURNINO OBAANA, JR., complainant, vs. JUDGE ARMANDO R. RICAFORT, Municipal Trial Court, Siaton, Negros Oriental, respondent. A.M. No. MTJ-04-1545. May 27, 2004 Nature and responsibility of the clerk of court A clerk of court occupies a very sensitive position that requires competence and efficiency to insure the publics confidence in the administration of justice- he cannot be permitted to slacken on his job under one pretext or another. A clerk of court is also responsible in ensuring the orderly and efficient record management system in the court and to supervise the personnel under his office to function effectively. 10. Executive Judge BENJAMIN M. AQUINO, JR., complainant, vs. BETHSAIDA M. MIRANDA, Clerk III, Metropolitan Trial Court Branch 54, Navotas, Metro Manila, respondent. A.M. No. P-01-1453. May 27, 2004 Jurisdiction of the Court over administrative cases A public servant whose career is on the line would normally want the investigating body to know his or her whereabouts for purposes of notice. The Court is not ousted of its jurisdiction over an administrative case by the mere fact that the respondent public official ceases to hold office during the pendency of respondents case. The men and women who work in the judiciary must always act with propriety for the image of a court of justice is mirrored in the conduct of its personnel. The conduct of all those involved in the administration of justice from the judge to the lowliest clerk is circumscribed with the heavy burden of responsibility, accountability, integrity, uprightness and honesty.

To constitute grave misconduct, the acts complained of should be corrupt or inspired by an intention to violate the law, or constitute flagrant disregard of wellknown legal rules.

11. JUDY SISMAET, complainant, vs. ERIBERTO R. SABAS, Clerk of Court IV, MTCC Puerto Princesa City and ERNESTO T. SIMPLICIANO, Sheriff III, MTCC Puerto Princesa City, respondents. A.M. No. P-03-1680. May 27, 2004 Ministerial duty of a sheriff Sheriffs play an important role in the administration of justice because they are tasked to execute the final orders and judgments of the courts; The sheriff charged with this task must act with considerable dispatch so as not to delay the administration of justice. The duty of a sheriff to execute a valid writ is ministerial and not discretionary. A purely ministerial act or duty is one which an officer or tribunal performs in the context of a given set of facts, in a prescribed manner and without regard to the exercise of his own judgment upon the propriety or impropriety of the act done. A discretionary act, on the other hand, is a faculty conferred upon a court or official by which he may decide the question either way and still be right. The conduct of every person connected with an office charged with the dispensation of justice, from the presiding judge to the lowest clerk, is charged with a heavy burden of responsibility.

12. JUDGE AMALIA F. DY, complainant, vs. ATTY. BONIFACIO S. PASCUA, Clerk of Court, and ANITA G. OLIVEROS, Clerk III, Regional Trial Court of Mandaluyong City, Branch 213, respondents. A.M. No. P-04-1798. May 27, 2004 Judges authority to discipline erring court personnel The Supreme Courts authority cannot be dependent on or frustrated by private arrangement between parties. Judges are authorized to discipline erring court personnel in their respective salas, but such authority must not be exercised arbitrarily.

Where the employees act of discourtesy is their first offense, the disciplining judge has no authority to suspend them outright-they should only have been reprimanded for their unruly behavior. Court personnel must, at all times, act with strict propriety and proper decorum so as to earn the publics regard for the judiciary.

13. SALVADOR SISON, complainant, vs. JUDGE JOSE F. CAOIBES, JR., Presiding Judge, and TEODORO S. ALVAREZ, Sheriff IV, Regional Trial Court, Las Pias City, Branch 253, respondents. A.M. No. RTJ-03-1771. May 27, 2004 Judges inherent power of contempt A judge should never allow himself to be moved by pride, prejudice, passion or pattiness in the performance of his duties. While at first blush, it would seem that the respondent judge was justified in holding the complainant for contempt, due to the latters refusal to comply with the judges order, it is not lost upon this Court that the complainant was not a party to any of the cases pending before the respondent judge. The fact that the respondent judge insisted that the complainant personally file his comment in court gives rise to doubts as to the motive behind it; as the Investigating Justice puts it, the requirement of personal filing was deliberately inserted so that the respondent could confront and harass the complainant. The act of a judge in citing a person in contempt of court in a manner which smacks of retaliation, as in the case at bar, is appalling and violative of Rule 2.01 of the Code of Judicial Conduct which mandates that a judge should so behave at all times to promote public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary. The Court has not been blind to the improper use by judges of the erstwhile inherent power of contempt which, in fine, amounts to grave abuse of authority.

14. PROV. PROSECUTOR DORENTINO Z. FLORESTA, complainant, vs. Judge ELIODORO G. UBIADAS, Regional Trial Court, Olongapo City, Branch 72 respondent. A.M. No. RTJ-03-1774. May 27, 2004 Proper recourse of a party aggrieved The proper recourse of a party aggrieved by the decision of a judge is to appeal to the proper court, not file an administrative complaint. Only in cases where the error is gross or patent, deliberate and malicious, or incurred with evident bad faith may administrative sanctions be imposed. Article VIII, Section 15(1) of the 1987 Constitution and Canon 3, Rule 3.05 of the Code of Judicial Conduct direct judges to dispose of their cases promptly and within the prescribed periods, failing which they are liable for gross inefficiency.

15. ARMANDO F. BERNARDO, petitioner, vs. COURT OF APPEALS, CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION and LAND BANK OF THE PHILIPPINES, respondents. G.R. No. 124261 May 27, 2004 Effects of administratively liability filed for acts not alleged in the formal charges The Civil Service Commission erred in finding an employee administratively liable for acts not alleged in the formal charges- the employee was deprived of his right to be informed of the charges against him, and to accord him the right to adduce evidence to controvert the said charges. The Supreme Court has categorically pronounced that "the nature and responsibilities of public officers enshrined in the 1987 Constitution and oftrepeated in our case law are not mere rhetorical words, not to be taken as idealistic sentiments but as working standards and attainable goals that should be matched with actual deeds." The causes which warrant the dismissal of a civil servant need not necessarily be work-related or committed in the course of the performance of duty by the person charged.

Administrative decisions on matters within their jurisdiction are entitled to respect and can only be set aside on proof of grave abuse of discretion, fraud or error of law.

16. HORACIO B. APUYAN, JR. and ALEXANDER O. EUGENIO, complainants, vs. ALFREDO G. STA. ISABEL, Sheriff IV, Regional Trial Court (Branch 161), Pasig City, respondent. A.M. NO. P-01-1497 : May 28, 2004 Consideration of the penalties to be imposed Section 53 of the Revised Uniform Rules on Administrative Cases in the Civil Service which provides that in the determination of the penalties to be imposed, the extenuating, mitigating, aggravating or alternative circumstances may be considered. 17. JACINTO R. FERNANDEZ, JR., complainant, vs. MARIETTA M. GATAN, Clerk III, RTC, Br. 23 Roxas, Isabela, respondent. A.M. No. P-03-1720. May 28, 2004 Grave misconduct defined Grave misconduct is a malevolent transgression of some established and definite rule of action, more particularly, unlawful behavior or gross negligence by the public officer or employee which threatens the very existence of the system of administration of justice.

18. RELIWAYS INC. represented by: AURELIO P. VENDIVEL, JR., complainant, vs. LAMBERTO P. GRANTOZA, Process Server, MeTC, Br. 62, Makati City, respondent. A.M. NO. P-04-1812 : May 28, 2004 Penalty for willful failure to pay Willful failure to pay just debts classified as a light offense and reprimand is the penalty for the first offense.

19. FERMA PORTIC, complainant, vs. JUDGE VICTORIA VILLALON-PORNILLOS, as Presiding Judge, Regional Trial Court, Branch 10, Malolos, Bulacan, respondent.

A.M. No. RTJ-02-1717. May 28, 2004 Evidence needed to Support administrative charges Administrative charges against members of the judiciary must be supported at least by substantial evidence. An inquiry into the administrative liability of a judge may be resorted to only after the available remedies have been exhausted and decided with finality. 20. SAN JUAN DE DIOS EDUCATIONAL FOUNDATION EMPLOYEES UNION-ALLIANCE OF FILIPINO WORKERS; MA. CONSUELO MAQUILING, LEONARDO MARTINEZ, ANDRES AYALA, VIRGINIA ARLANTE, ROGELIO BELMONTE, MA. ELENA GARCIA and RODOLFO CALUCIN, JR., petitioners, vs. SAN JUAN DE DIOS EDUCATIONAL FOUNDATION, INC. (HOSPITAL) and NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION, respondents. G.R. No. 143341. May 28, 2004 Effect of substantial evidence The findings of fact of quasi-judicial bodies like the NLRC, are accorded with respect, even finality, if supported by substantial evidence. Particularly when passed upon and upheld by the Court of Appeals, they are binding and conclusive upon the Supreme Court and will not normally be disturbed.

21. Re: Administrative Liabilities of the Security Personnel Involved in the Entry of an Unidentified person at the Philippine Judicial Academy A. M. No. 2003-18-SC. June 3, 2004 Conduct and behavior of everyone connected with an office charged should be circumscribed with the heavy burden of responsibility. The conduct and behavior of everyone connected with an office charged with the dispensation of justice, from the presiding judge to the lowliest clerk, should be circumscribed with the heavy burden of responsibility. Simple neglect of duty, classified as a less grave offense, carries a penalty of suspension for one month and one day to six months for the first violation.

22. Re: AC No. 04-AM-2002 (Josefina Fria vs. Gemiliana De Los Angeles)

A.M. No. CA-02-15-P. June 3, 2004 Burden of proof in administrative proceedings In administrative proceedings, the complainant has the burden of proving, by substantial evidence, the allegations in the complaint. Complainant failed to discharge the quantum of evidence substantial evidence to fault respondent. 23. OFFICE OF THE COURT ADMINISTRATOR, petitioner, vs. JUDGE FRANKLIN A. VILLEGAS, respondent. A.M. No. RTJ-00-1526. June 3, 2004 Nature of office of a judge The noble office of a judge is to render justice not only impartially but expeditiously as well, for delay in the disposition of cases erodes the faith and confidence of our people in the judiciary, lowers its standards and brings it into disrepute. Judge Villegas contumacious conduct and blatant disregard of the Courts mandate for more than three years amounted to studied defiance and downright insubordination.

24. CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION, petitioner, vs. DELIA T. CORTEZ, respondent. G. R. No. 155732. June 3, 2004 Penalty for dishonesty and grave misconduct Under the Civil Service Law and its implementing rules, dishonesty, grave misconduct and conduct grossly prejudicial to the best interest of the service are grave offenses punishable by dismissal from the service.

25. GLORIA SANTOS DUEAS, petitioner, vs. SANTOS SUBDIVISION HOMEOWNERS ASSOCIATION, respondent. G.R. No. 149417. June 4, 2004 Administrative process as pre condition before a party is allowed to seek intervention of the courts

While the Court has held that before a party is allowed to seek intervention of the courts, it is a pre condition that he avail himself of all administrative processes afforded him, nonetheless, said rule is not without exceptions.

26. Re: Habitual tardiness Incurred by Mr. Gideon M. Alibang for the First Semester of 2003 A.M. No. 2003-11-S C. June 15, 2004 Habitual tardiness as a ground for administrative liability An employee shall be considered habitually tardy if he incurs tardiness, regardless of the number of minutes, ten (10) times a month for at least two (2) months in a semester or at least two (2) consecutive months during the year. Moral obligations, performance of household chores and traffic problems are not sufficient reasons to excuse habitual tardiness, although in certain cases these may be considered to mitigate administrative liability. By reason of the nature and functions of their office, officials and employees of the Judiciary must be role models in the faithful observance of the constitutional cannon that public office is a public trust. Inherent in this mandate are the observance of prescribed office hours and the efficient use of every moment thereof for public service.

27. FREEDOM FROM DEBT COALITION, ANA MARIA NEMENZO, as President of FREEDOM FROM DEBT COALITION, MA. TERESA I. DIOKNO-PASCUAL, REP. LORETTA ANN ROSALES (Party-List Akbayan), REP. JOSE VIRGILIO BAUTISTA (Party-List Sanlakas), REP. RENATO MAGTUBO (Party-List Partido Manggagawa), petitioners, vs. ENERGY REGULATORY COMMISSION, MANILA ELECTRIC COMPANY (MERALCO), respondents. G.R. No. 161113 June 15, 2004 Certification of the notice of publication should accompany the application. The rules require that a certification of the notice of publication should accompany the application.

It is not required to wait until all pleadings are submitted nor is its power to issue provisional orders stayed by pending matters such as motions for production of documents. It is therefore purposeless for the majority to annul the questioned order and require the republication of MERALCOs application. An administrative agency may be empowered to approve provisionally, when demanded by urgent public need, rates of public utilities without hearing. The authority to issue provisional orders of rate adjustments cannot be considered as one of the powers that the legislature intended the ERC to possess, for if it were intention of the lawmakers, there would not have been a black hole in the law. The power to fix prices and make rates cannot be conferred by implication, but must be conferred under statutory or constitutional language that is free from doubt, and admits of no other reasonable construction. Considering the EPIRA does not contain the authority to grant provisional rates, it follows then that to insist that the ERC has such authority, would be to grant the ERC an authority that would be inconsistent with the EPIRA. The publication made by MERALCO, obviously, does not sufficiently inform the public of the nature and substance of the application, as intended by law. 28. PROFESSIONAL REGULATION COMMISSION (PRC), CHAIRMAN HERMOGENES P. POBRE, ASSOCIATE COMMISSIONER ARMANDO PASCUAL, BOARD OF MEDICINE, CHAIRMAN RODOLFO P. DE GUZMAN, JOSE S. RAMIREZ, JUANITO B. BILLOTE, RUBEN R. POLICARPIO, EDGARDO T. FERNANDO and RICARDO D. FULGENCIO II, petitioners, vs. ARLENE V. DE GUZMAN, VIOLETA V. MENESES, CELERINA S. NAVARRO, JOSE RAMONCITO P. NAVARRO, ARNEL V. HERRERA and GERALDINE ELIZABETH M. PAGILAGAN, ELNORA R. RAQUENO, MARISSA A. REGODON, LAURA M. SANTOS, KARANGALAN D. SERRANO, DANILO A. VILLAVER, MARIA ROSARIO L. LEONOR, ALICIA S. LIZANO, MARITEL M. ECHIVERRI, BERNADETTE T. MENDOZA, FERNANDO F. MANDAPAT, ALELI A. GOLLAYAN, ELCIN C. ARRIOLA, HERMINIGILDA E. CONEJOS, SALLY B. BUNAGAN, ROGELIO B. ANCHETA, OSCAR H. PADUA, JR., EVELYN D. GRAJO, EVELYN S. ACOSTA, MARGARITA BELINDA L. VICENCIO, VALENTINO P. ARBOLEDA, EVELYN O. RAMOS, ACHILLES J. PERALTA, CORAZON M. CRUZ, LEUVINA P. CHICO, JOSEPH A. JAO, MA. LUISA S. GUTIERREZ, LYDIA C. CHAN,

OPHELIA C. HIDALGO, FERNANDO T. CRUZ, MELVIN M. USITA, RAFAEL I. TOLENTINO, GRACE E. UY, CHERYL R. TRIGUERO, MICHAEL L. SERRANO, FEDERICO L. CASTILLO, MELITA J. CAEDO, SAMUEL B. BANGOY, BERNARDITA B. SY, GLORIA T. JULARBAL, FREDERICK D. FRANCISCO, CARLOS M. BERNARDO, JR., HUBERT S. NAZARENO, CLARISSA B. BACLIG, DAYMINDA G. BONTUYAN, BERNADETTE H. CABUHAT, NANCY J. CHAVEZ, MARIO D. CUARESMA, ERNESTO L. CUE, EVELYN C. CUNDANGAN, RHONEIL R. DEVERATURDA, DERILEEN D. DORADO, SAIBZUR N. EDDING, VIOLETA C. FELIPE, HERMINIO V. FERNANDEZ, JR., MARIA VICTORIA M. LACSAMANA, NORMA G. LAFAVILLA, RUBY B. LANTIN, MA. ELOISA Q. MALLARI, CLARISA SJ. NICOLAS, PERCIVAL H. PANGILINAN, ARNULFO A. SALVADOR, ROBERT B. SANCHEZ, MERLY D. STA. ANA and YOLANDA P. UNICA, respondents. G.R. No. 144681. June 21, 2004 Doctrine of exhaustion does not apply in pure question of law The power to regulate the exercise of a profession or pursuit of an occupation cannot be exercised by the State or its agents in an arbitrary, despotic, or oppressive manner. The doctrine of exhaustion of administrative remedies does not apply where, as in this case, a pure question of law is raised.

29. SOLEDAD E. VELASCO, petitioner, vs. COURT OF APPEALS, SOCIAL SECURITY COMMISSION, HERMINIO RIVERA, VICENTE SUDARIO, RENATO MANLANGIT, JOSE PUSING, REYNALDO SUGUI, MANUEL DINO, MARTIN VILLARUEL, PAQUITO BALISONG, JOSE POSADAS, MARIO POSADAS, FERNANDO CAYCO, RUBEN ROQUE, FERNANDO MANLANGIT, FRANCISCO ESTILLORE, NICOLAS AMARO, PAULINO SUDARIO, DIEGO CAHILLO, AND HERMINIO ANTONIO, respondents. SOCIAL SECURITY SYSTEM, intervenor. G.R. No. 130244. July 7, 2004 Duplicate original copy defined The meaning of duplicate original copy, thus: 1. The duplicate original copy shall be understood to be that copy of the decision, judgment, resolution or order which is intended for and furnished to a party in the case or proceeding in the court or adjudicative body which rendered and issued the same. . . .2. The duplicate original copy must be duly signed or initialed by the authorities or the corresponding officer or representative of the issuing entity, or shall at least bear the dry seal thereof or any other official indication of the authenticity and completeness of such copy. . . .

Pursuant to paragraph 2 of the Supreme Court Administrative Circular No. 3-96, the presence of the seal qualifies the document as a duplicate original copy 30. AGUS DWIKARNA, petitioner, vs. HON. ANDREA D. DOMINGO, Commissioner, Bureau of Immigration, GEN. LEANDRO MENDOZA,* Chief, Philippine National Police, GEN. JAIME G. CARINGAL, Chief, Intelligence Group, Philippine National Police, RONALDO P. LEDESMA, Chief, Bureau of Special Inquiry, and the Board of Commissioners, Bureau of Immigration, respondents. G.R. No. 153454. July 7, 2004 Non-interference of courts in matters addressed to the sound discretion of government agencies Courts will not interfere in matters which are addressed to the sound discretion of government agencies entrusted with the regulation of activities coming under the special technical knowledge and training of such agencies. A person convicted of a crime and ordered deported at the same time must first serve his sentence before he is deported. 31. Pompeyo Querubin, petitioner vs. Regional Cluster Director, Legal and Adjudication Office, COA Regional Office No. VI, Pavia, Iloilo City, respondent G.R. No. 159299, July 7, 2004 Grant of bonuses and allowances

Section 13 of PD 198, as amended, categorically forbids the grant of bonuses and allowances other than payment of per diems. 32. Ana Marie Cambaliza, Complainant, vs. Atty. Ana-Luz B. Cristal-Tenorio, respondent Adm. Case No. 6290, July 14, 2004 Administrative proceedings in case of suspension or disbarment A case of suspension or disbarment may proceed regardless of interest or lack of interest of the complainant.

When the criminal prosecution based on the same act charged is still pending in court, any administrative disciplinary proceedings for the same act must await the outcome of the criminal case to avoid contradictory findings. A lawyer who allows a non-member of the Bar to misrepresent himself as a lawyer and to practice law is guilty of violating Canon 9 and Rule 9.01 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. 33. JUDGE LORINDA T. MUPAS, petitioner, vs. JUDGE DOLORES L. ESPAOL, Regional Trial Court, Branch 90, Damarias, Cavite, respondent. A.M. No. RTJ-04-1850. July 14, 2004 Powers of an executive judge It is elementary that an Executive Judge only has administrative supervision over lower courts. Her function relates only to the management of first and second level courts, within her administrative area with a view to attaining prompt and convenient dispatch of its business. Acting as such, she cannot unilaterally override the MTCs actions in cases pending with it under the guise of administrative supervision, without running afoul of the orderly administration of justice. Only when her courts jurisdiction is appropriately invoked in an appeal or certiorari and other special civil actions can respondent judge, in her judicial capacity, override the lower courts judgment. The powers of an executive judge relate only to those necessary or incidental to the performance of his/her functions in relation to court administration. The earnest efforts of judges to promote a speedy administration of justice must at all times be exercised with due recognition of the boundaries and limits of their jurisdiction or authority. Respondent's ardent determination to expedite the case and render prompt justice may be a noble objective but she did so in a manner which took away from the complainant MTC judge the initiative which by constitutional and legal mandates properly belongs to her. With regard to the hold-departure order, Circular No. 39-97 limits the authority to issue hold-departure orders to criminal cases within the jurisdiction of second level courts

34. BENJAMIN A. RIVERA, SIMEON B. QUILANG, JR. and NICANOR ASUNCION, petitioners, vs. JUDGE TEODULO E. MIRASOL, Regional Trial Court, Branch 23, Roxas, Isabela, respondent. A.M. No. RTJ-04-1885. July 14, 2004 Cessation from office because of retirement does not warrant the dismissal of the administrative complaint In the absence of fraud, dishonesty or corruption, the acts of a judge in his official capacity do not always constitute misconduct although the same acts may be erroneous. True, a judge may not be disciplined for error of judgment absent proof that such error was made with a conscious and deliberate intent to cause an injustice. This does not mean, however, that a judge need not observe propriety, discreetness and due care in the performance of his official functions. Cessation from office because of retirement does not warrant the dismissal of the administrative complaint filed against him while he was still in service.

35. Eastern Telecommunications Philippines, Inc., and Telecommunications Technologies, Inc., petitioner, vs. International Communication Corporation, respondent G.R. No. 135992. July 23, 2004 Jurisdiction of National telecommunications Commission The National telecommunications Commission as the regulatory agency of the national government with jurisdiction over all telecommunications entities, it is clothed with authority and given ample discretion to grant a provisional permit or authority. It also has the authority to issue Certificates of Public Convenience and Necessity (CPCN) for the installation, operation, and maintenance of communications facilities and services, radio communications systems, telephone and telegraph systems, including the authority to determine the areas of operations of applicants for telecommunications services.


Substantive rights in administrative proceedings Every party subject to administrative regulation deserves an opportunity to know, through reasonable regulations promulgated by the agency, of the objective standards that have to be met. Such rule is integral to due process, as it protects substantive rights. It is not relevant to this case that the process for obtaining prior approval under the PTA and its Implementing Rules is administrative in nature. While this may be so, the assailed NTCs determination and corresponding penalty were rendered in the exercise of quasi-judicial functions- all the requirement of due process attendant to the exercise of quasi-judicial power apply. The Court usually accords great respect to the technical findings of administrative agencies in the fields of their expertise, even if they are infelicitously worded. However, the above-quoted finding is nothing more than bare assertions, unsupported by substantial evidence. Judicial fact-finding of the de novo kind is generally abhorred and the shift of decisional responsibility to the judiciary is not favored as against the substantiated and specialized determination of administrative agencies. While stability in the law, particularly in the business field, is desirable, there is no demand that the NTC slavishly follow precedent. However, we think it essential, for the sake of clarity and intellectual honesty, that if an administrative agency decides inconsistently with previous action, that it explain thoroughly why a different result is warranted, or if need be, why the previous standards should no longer apply or should be overturned. It is clear that before NTC could penalize Globe and Smart for unauthorized provision of SMS, it must first establish that SMS is VAS. The opportunity to adduce evidence is essential in the administrative process, as decisions must be rendered on the evidence presented, either in the hearing, or at least contained in the record and disclosed to the parties affected. Notice and hearing are the bulwark of administrative due process, the right to which is among the primary rights that must be respected even in administrative proceedings.

It is essential to emphasize the need for a hearing before a fine may be imposed, as it is clearly a punitive measure undertaken by an administrative agency in the exercise of its quasi-judicial functions. Inherently, notice and hearing are indispensable for the valid exercise by an administrative agency of its quasi-judicial functions. The credibility of an administrative agency entrusted with specialized fields subsists not on judicial doctrine alone, but more so on its intellectual strength, adherence to law, and basic fairness.

37. ROMEO B. ALMOJUELA, JR., complainant, vs. JUDGE REVELINO M. RINGOR and AMALIA L. DIRECTO, Clerk of Court, Municipal Trial Court, Balaoan, La Union, respondents. A.M. No. MTJ-04-1521. July 27, 2004 Responsibility of Judges Every judge is required to observe the law. When the law is sufficiently basic, a judge owes it to his office to simply apply it; and anything less than that would be constitutive of gross ignorance of the law. In short, when the law is so elementary, not to be aware of it constitutes gross ignorance of the law. A judge should be studious of the principles of law. It is highly imperative that judges be conversant with the law and basic legal principles. The misconduct must imply wrongful intention and not a mere error of judgment. 38. PHILIPPINE PORTS AUTHORITY, petitioner, vs. SARGASSO CONSTRUCTION & DEVELOPMENT CORP., PICK& SHOVEL, INC., ATLANTIC ERECTORS, INC. (Joint Venture), respondents. G.R. No. 146478. July 30, 2004 GOCC as the lead counsel By force Administrative Code, the GOCC is the lead counsel of all GOCCs and no agreement or arrangement entered into by, or any act of omission of, GOCC can alter set-up.

39. ATTY. REX J.M.A. FERNANDEZ, complainant, vs. COURT OF APPEALS ASSOCIATE JUSTICES EUBOLO G. VERZOLA, MARTIN S. VILLARAMA, Jr., and MARIO L. GUARIA III, respondents. A.M. No. CA-04-40. August 13, 2004 Complainant has the burden of proving by substantial evidence

In administrative proceedings, the complainant has the burden of proving by substantial evidence the allegations in his complaint. In the absence of evidence to the contrary, the presumption that the respondent has regularly performed his duties will prevail. Even in administrative cases, if a respondent judge should be disciplined for a grave offense, the evidence against him should be competent and derived from direct knowledge. Court will not shirk from its responsibility of imposing discipline upon its employees, judges and Associate Justices alike; but neither will it hesitate to shield them from unfounded suits that serve to disrupt rather than promote the orderly administration of justice.

40. RE: REPORT ON THE FINANCIAL AUDIT CONDUCTED IN THE REGIONAL TRIAL COURT, BRANCH 34, BALAOAN, LA UNION. (Clerk of Court, ATTY. JOVITO M. MARRON) A.M. No. 02-1-66-RTC. August 19, 2004 Duty of the Clerks of court Clerks of court are presumed to be aware of their duty to immediately deposit the various funds received by them in the authorized government depositories for they are not supposed to keep funds in their personal possession. The Court condemns any conduct, act or omission which violates the norm of public accountability or diminishes the faith of the people in the judiciary.

41. OFFICE OF THE COURT ADMINISTRATOR, complainant, vs. JUDGE OCTAVIO A. FERNANDEZ, Municipal Circuit Trial Court, General M. Natividad-Llanera, respondent. A.M. No. MTJ-03-1511. August 20, 2004

Retirement of a judge or any judicial officer from the service does not preclude the finding of any administrative liability The retirement of a judge or any judicial officer from the service does not preclude the finding of any administrative liability to which he shall still be answerable. Respondent judge is guilty of simple misconduct for violating the rules on bail.

42. HABITUAL TARDINESS OF ARTHUR R. CABIGON, SHERIFF IV, RTC-OCC, CEBU CITY. A.M. No. 04-5-277-RTC. August 31, 2004 Officials and employees of the Judiciary as role models in the faithful observance that public office is a public trust By reason of the nature and functions of their office, officials and employees of the Judiciary must be role models in the faithful observance of the constitutional canon that public office is a public trust. Moral obligations and mundane considerations such as performance of household chores, traffic problems and health, domestic and financial concerns are not sufficient reasons to excuse habitual tardiness, although these may be considered to mitigate administrative liability.

43. Re: Habitual Tardiness of GUENDOLYN C. SISON, Clerk III, Regional Trial Court, Branch 23, Cebu City A.M. No. P-04-1860. August 31, 2004 Officials and employees of the Judiciary as role models in the faithful observance that public office is a public trust

Moral obligations, performance of household chores, traffic problems and health, domestic and financial concerns are not sufficient reasons to excuse habitual tardiness.

By reason of the nature and functions of their office, the officials and employees of the Judiciary must be role models in the faithful observance of the constitutional canon that public office is a public trust. 44. Re: Habitual Tardiness of MARIO J. TAMANG, Sheriff IV, Regional Trial Court, Branch 168, Pasig City A.M. No. P-04-1861. August 31, 2004 Officials and employees of the Judiciary as role models in the faithful observance that public office is a public trust

Moral obligations, performance of household chores, traffic problems and health, domestic and financial concerns are not sufficient reasons to excuse habitual tardiness. By reason of the nature and functions of their office, the officials and employees of the Judiciary must be role models in the faithful observance of the constitutional canon that public office is a public trust. 45. CONCERNED CITIZEN, complainant, vs. ROLANDO Boyet BAUTISTA, Process Server, RTC- OCC, Balanga City, Bataan, respondent. A.M. NO. P-04-1876 : August 31, 2004 Entire time of the officials and employees in the Judiciary be devoted to their official work The avowed objective of Administrative Circular No. 5 dated October 4, 1988 is to ensure that the entire time of the officials and employees in the Judiciary be devoted to their official work to insure the efficient and speedy administration of justice. 46. TOMAS G. VELASQUEZ, Officer-In-Charge, Office of the School Superintendent, DECS Division of Abra; MARIETTA BERSALONA, Chairperson, DECS Fact Finding Committee; EDUARDO RUPERTO, JOAQUIN PILIEN and LUZ CURBI, Members, DECS Fact Finding Committee, petitioners vs. HELEN B. HERNANDEZ, respondent. G.R. No. 150732. August 31, 2004 Substantive evidence to support complaint in administrative proceedings One may be heard, not solely by verbal presentation but also, and perhaps even many times more creditably than oral argument, through pleadings.

Technical rules of procedure and evidence are not even strictly applied to administrative proceedings, and administrative due process cannot be fully equated to due process in its strict judicial sense. A finding of guilt in an administrative case would have to be sustained for as long as it is supported by substantial evidence that the respondent has committed the acts stated in the complaint or formal charge. As defined, substantial evidence is such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind may accept as adequate to support a conclusion. This is different from the quantum of proof required in criminal proceedings which necessitates a finding of guilt of the accused beyond reasonable doubt. 47. FRANCISCO I. CHAVEZ, petitioner, vs. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, represented by its Chairman, BENJAMIN S. ABALOS, ESMERALDA AMORALADRA, in her capacity as Acting Director IV, National Capital Judicial Region, Commission on Elections, and the SOLICITOR GENERAL, respondents. G.R. No. 162777. August 31, 2004 Police Power Police power, as an inherent attribute of sovereignty, is the power to prescribe regulations to promote the health, morals, peace, education, good order, or safety, and the general welfare of the people.