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In Re JBC vs.

Judge Quitain
JBC No. 013 | Aug 22, 2007

Facts:

Judge Jaime Vega Quitain was appointed Presiding Judge of the Regional Trial Court
(RTC),Branch 10, Davao City on May 17, 2003. Subsequent thereto, the Office of the
Court Administrator (OCA) received confidential information that administrative and criminal
charges were filed against Judge Quitain in his capacity as then Assistant Regional Director,
National Police Commission (NAPOLCOM),Regional Office 11, Davao City, as a result of which he
was dismissed from the service per Administrative Order (A.O.) No. 183 dated April 10, 1995.
In Personal Data Sheet (PDS) submitted to the JBC judge quitan declared that there were
5 criminal cases filed against him before the Sandiganbayan, all were dismissed. No
Administrative Case was disclosed by Quitain in his PDS.

Deputy Court administrator Christopher Lock requested certified true copies of the criminal
cases relative to the administrative complaints filed against Quitain, particularly Adminisrative
Order 180 which dismissed Quitan from service.

NAPOLCOM furnished the Office of the CourtAdministrator (OCA) a copy of A.O. No. 183
showing that respondent Judge was indeed dismissed from the service for Grave Misconduct for
falsifying or altering the amounts reflected in disbursement vouchers in support of his claim
for reimbursement of expenses.

The Administrative order stated that Quitain was dismissed from service with forfeiture of pay
and benefits, this was signed by President Ramos himself.

In a letter addressed to DCA Lock, Judge Quitain denied having committed any
misrepresentation before the JBC. He alleged that during his interview, the members thereof
only inquired about the status of the criminal cases filed by the NAPOLCOM before the
Sandiganbayan, and not about the administrative case simultaneously filed against him. He also
alleged that he never received from the Office of the President an official copy of A.O. No. 183
dismissing him from the service.

The DCA Lock directed Quitan to explain within 10 days from notice why he did not include in
his Personal Data Sheet (PDS), which was sworn before a notary public , the administrative cases
filed against him and the fact that he was dismissed from service.

The respondent said that during the administrative case by the NAPOLCOM one of its members
suggested to him that he will no longer be persecuted if he tendered his resignation from the
NAPOLCOM.

The Secretary of the DILG accepted the resignation. Quitan said that he did not disclose
the administrative charge because he was of the honest belief that he had no more
pending administrative case by reason of his resignation.
This did not persuade Administrator Presbitero Velasco and DCA Lock that he should not beheld
administratively liable. They submitted a Memorandum, to then Chief Justice Davide upon
which the findings that:

An examination of the PDS submitted by Quitan with the JBC that he concealed material facts
and even committed perjury in having answered yes to question 24, but without disclosing the
fact that he was dismissed from government service.

As borne out by the records, Judge Quitain deliberately did not disclose the fact that he was
dismissed from the government service. At the time he filled up and submitted his Personal Data
Sheet with the Judicial and Bar Council, he had full knowledge of the subject administrative
case, as well as Administrative Order No. 183 dismissing him from the government service.

While the records of the subject administrative case on file with the NAPOLCOM Office does not
bear proof of receipt of Administrative Order No. 183 by Judge Quitain, the same does not
necessarily mean that he is totally unaware of said Administrative Order. As shown by the
newspaper clippings, Judge Quitain even aired his appeal and protest to said Administrative
Order.

ISSUE : Whether or Not there was a misrepresentation committed by Judge Quitain.

Held:

On the strength of his misrepresentation, Judge Quitain misled the Judicial and Bar Council by
making it appear that he had a clean record and was qualified to join the Judiciary. His prior
dismissal from the government service is a blot on his record, which has gone and has spread
even more because of his concealment of it. Had he not concealed said vital fact, it could have
been taken into consideration when the Council acted on his application. His act of dishonesty
renders him unfit to join the Judiciary, much less remain sitting as a judge. It even appears that
he was dismissed by the NAPOLCOM for misconduct and dishonesty.

Thus, the OCA recommended that:


(1) the instant administrative case against respondent be docketed as an administrative matter;
and
(2) that he be dismissed from the service with prejudice to his reappointment to any position in
the government, including government-owned or controlled corporations, and with forfeiture of
all retirement benefits except accrued leave credits.

The court finds respondent guilty of dishonesty. Dishonesty means disposition to lie, cheat or
defraud; unworthiness; lack of integrity.
[24] Section 8(2), Rule 140[25] of the Rules of Court classifies dishonesty as a serious charge.
Section 11, same Rules, provides the following sanctions:

SEC. 11. Sanctions. A. If the respondent is guilty of a serious charge, any of the following
sanctions may be imposed: 1. Dismissal from the service, forfeiture of all or part of the benefits
as the Court may determine, and disqualification from reinstatement or appointment to any
public office, including government-owned or controlled corporations. Provided, however, That
the forfeiture of benefits shall in no case include accrued leave credits; 2. Suspension from office
without salary and other benefits for more than three (3) but not exceeding six (6) months; or 3.
A fine of not less than P20,000.00 but not exceeding P40,000.00.

Judge Quitain is hereby found guilty of grave misconduct. He deserves the supreme penalty of
dismissal.
However, Judge Quitain submitted his resignation letter. Verily, the resignation of Judge Quitain
which was accepted by the Court without prejudice does not render moot and academic the
instant administrative case. The jurisdiction that the Court had at the time of the filing of the
administrative complaint is not lost by the mere fact that the respondent judge by his
resignation and its consequent acceptance without prejudice by this Court, has ceased to be in
office during the pendency of this case. The Court retains its authority to pronounce the
respondent official innocent or guilty of the charges against him. A contrary rule would be
fraught with injustice and pregnant with dreadful and dangerous implications. Indeed, if
innocent, the respondent official merits vindication of his name and integrity as he leaves the
government which he has served well and faithfully; if guilty, he deserves to receive the
corresponding censure and a penalty proper and imposable under the situation. Judge has been
held guilty of Misconduct and would merit dismissal from service had he not resigned. Still, the
court ORDERS the FORFEITURE of all benefits, except earned leave credits which Judge Quitain
may be entitled to, and he is PERPETUALLY DISQUALIFIED from reinstatement and appointment
to any branch, instrumentality or agency of the government, including government-owned
and/or controlled corporations.