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Salazar vs Marigomen

FACTS:

Doroteo M. Salazar (complainant) charged Judge Antonio D. Marigomen (respondent), Presiding Judge
of Branch 61, Regional Trial Court, Bogo, Cebu, with gross ignorance of the law, bias, conduct
prejudicial to the interest of the service and rendering a decision violative of the Commission on Elections
(COMELEC) Rules of Procedure and the Constitution.

Zenaida Salazar, wife of the complainant, and a mayoralty candidate in Madridejos, Cebu in the May
2001 elections filed an election contest against the proclaimed winner Lety Mancio. The case was first
heard by Acting Judge Dela Pena. The respondent then took over the case on June 3, 2002.

Respondent dismissed the the election protest and declared Mancio as the duly elected municipal Mayor
of Madrilejos, Cebu.

COMELEC then reversed and set aside the decision and declared the complainant’s wife Salazar as duly
elected mayor. Thus spawned the filing of the case at bar.

In the case, the judge was accused of admitting uncertified photocopies-exhibits for Mancio in deciding
the case. The respondent’s partiality was also shown in several instances. He ordered his Clerk of Court to
coordinate with counsel for the protestee in the election case and to testify for her, despite the objection of
on the ground that his testifying would be testifying would be a violation of professional ethics.
Complainant further claims that respondent was acting as if he were the counsel of the protestee when the
latter’s counsel had difficulty explaining the nature of the clerk’s testimony and respondent laid the basis
thereof. Complainant additionally claims that respondent was too liberal and tolerant of the maneuverings
and manipulations of the

protestee, thereby dragging the proceedings which started on July 4, 2001 (when it was filed) up to
August 8, 2003 (when it was decided), in violation of the period provided by the Omnibus Election Code.
Finally, complainant claims that respondent violated the COMELEC Rules of Procedure as well as the
Constitution for not clearly and distinctly stating the facts and the law on which his decision was based.

In his reply, respondent offers that complainant is not the real party in interest and, in any event, the
complaint is moot and academic as the election protest had been decided on appeal by the COMELEC;
and if errors were committed, they pertain to the exercise of his adjudicative functions which cannot be
corrected through administrative proceedings. Respondent also maintains that his decision clearly stated
the facts and the law on which it was based, and if there are errors therein, they are correctible by judicial
remedies and not by administrative proceedings.

The OCA in its report, found the complaint meritorious and found guilty of gross ignorance of the law.
In fine, respondent judge is guilty of gross ignorance of the law, manifest bias and deliberate
falsehood or dishonesty. Under Section 8, Rule 140 of the Rules of Court, gross ignorance of the law is
considered a serious charge. Similarly, bias and deliberate falsehood, which are tantamount to grave
misconduct, are considered serious charges under the same Rule. The penalty imposable for serious
charges ranges from fine to dismissal

ISSUES:

1. W/N the petitioner is a real party interest


2. W/N the judge is guilty of gross ignorance of law

RULING:

1. The power of the court to to discipline judges is an administrative matter and is undertakes solely
for the public welfare and to maintain the trust and confidence of the people to the government.
The complainant does not need to be a real party in interest, as anyone may file an
administrative complaint against a judge. It only needs to be verified and it be in writing and
shall state clearly and concisely the acts and omissions constituting violations of standards of
conduct prescribed for Judges by law, the Rules of Court, or the Code of Judicial Conduct.
2. Yes. The court finds the decision of OCA to be correct. According to CANON 3 and CANON 5
of the New Code of Judicial Conduct for the Philippine Judiciary, a judge must not be bias and
should not manifest prejudice towards any person or group. The court affirms the findings of the
OCA. And respondent indeed committed falsehood, as found by the OCA. Respondents claim
that he allowed the protestees counsel, Atty. Roeles, to testify over the objection of the protestants
counsel because the latter failed to submit a memorandum in support of the objection, is belied by
the records of the case.

In In Re: Compliance of Judge Maxwel S. Rosete, Municipal Trial Court in Cities (MTCC), Santiago
City, Isabela, this Court observed:

..The lack of candor he has shown by the misrepresentation which he made before the Court is
incongruent with the primordial character which a magistrate must possess, especially so in this case
where the act of dishonesty was committed against the Court. A member of the bar owes candor, fairness,
and good faith to the Court. He must not do any falsehood or consent to the doing of any in court; neither
shall he mislead or allow the Court to be misled by any artifice. The moral standard of honesty is
equally, if not much more, expected from members of the Judiciary, as they are the agents through
which the Court ensures that the end of justice is served. Dishonesty is anathema to the very nature
of functions which a magistrate performs.

Respondent also indeed failed to state in his decision why he invalidated 90 ballots in favor of the
protestant and to specify the ballots being set aside, thereby violating the Constitution