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646 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED

Prudential Bank vs. Castro

*
Adm. Case No. 2756. March 15, 1988.

PRUDENTIAL BANK, complainant, vs. JUDGE JOSE P.


CASTRO and ATTY. BENJAMIN M. GRECIA,
respondents.

Administrative Law; Disbarment; Voluntary lnhibition; lt is


settled jurisprudence that after a member has given an opinion on
the merits of the case, a motion to disqualify a member of the
Supreme Court cannot be considered.—The "Petition for
Voluntary Inhibition" of Chief Justice Claudio Teehankee and
Justice Teodoro R. Padilla is DENIED there being no legal nor
factual basis therefor. It is settled jurisprudence that after a
member has given an opinion on the merits of the case, a motion
to disqualify a member of the Supreme Court cannot be
considered because a litigant cannot be permitted to speculate
upon the action of the Court and raise an objection of this sort
after decision has been rendered (Araneta vs, Dinglasan, 84 Phil.
368, citing Government of the Philippine Islands vs. Heirs of
Abella, 49 Phil. 374).
Same; Same; Same; Same; Decision to disbar respondent
lawyer was the collective judgment of the court.—The decision to
disbar respondent lawyer was the collective judgment of the
Court, with the exception of Justice Sarmiento who had inhibited
himself, with no member in the least bit attempting to influence
one or the other. In fairness to the Chief Justice, and to disabuse
the fears and suspicions of respondent Grecia, it should be made
of record that at no time during the deliberations on the case did
the Chief Justice show any illwill nor any signs of "vindictiveness"
much less any attempt to "exact vengeance for past affront"
against respondent lawyer. All discussions were characterized by
judicial objectivity dictated only by the highest interests of the
profession and public welfare.
Same; Same; Same; Same; Inhibition of Justice Padilla
devoid of any valid reason.—Similarly, the plea for the inhibition
of Justice Padilla has to be DENIED for being devoid of any valid
reason. Justice Padilla was counsel for Cityland Development
Corporation in the case of Manchester Development Corporation,
et al. vs, Court of Appeals, Cityland Development Corporation, et
al. (G.R, No. 75919, May 7, 1987, 149 SCRA 562), for which
reason he took no part in the said suit. Cityland, however, is not a
party in this administrative case.
Same; Same; Certification; The requirement of a certification
of the court's decision by the Chief Justice refers to decisions in
judicial not administrative cases.—The challenge hurled against
this Court's deci-

____________

* EN BANC.

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VOL. 158, MARCH 15, 1988 647

Prudential Bank vs. Castro

sion as violative of the 1987 Constitution due to lack of


certification by the Chief Justice that the conclusions of the Court
were reached in consultation before the case was assigned to a
member for the writing of the opinion of the Court, is bereft of
basis. The certification requirement refers to decisions in judicial,
not administrative cases. From the very beginning,
resolutions/decisions of the Court in administrative cases have
not been accompanied by any formal certification. In fact, such a
certification would be a superfluity in administrative cases, which
by their very nature, have to be deliberated upon considering the
collegiate composition of this Court. The certification in AM No.
R-510-P entitled "Apolinario de Sarigumba vs. Deputy Sheriff
Pasok," cited in the Petition, is but an oversight.
Same; Same; Same; Being a per curiam decision, formal
certification is not required.—But even if such a certification were
required, it is beyond doubt that the conclusions of the Court in
its decision were arrived at after consultation and deliberation.
The signatures of the members who actually took part in the
deliberations and voted attest to that. Besides. being a per curiam
decision, or an opinion of the Court as a whole, there is no
ponente although any member of the Court may be assigned to
write the draft. In such cases, a formal certification is obviously
not required.
Same; Same; Lack of merit as one of the grounds for denial is
a legal basis.—No constitutional provision has been disregarded
either in the Court's Minute Resolution, dated January 12,1988,
denying the motion for reconsideration "for lack of merit, the
issues raised therein having been previously duly considered and
passed upon." It bears repeating that this is an administrative
case so that the Constitutional mandate that "no x x x motion for
reconsideration of a decision of the court shall be x x x denied
without stating the legal basis therefor" is inapplicable. And even
if it were. said Resolution stated the legal basis for the denial, and
therefore, adhered faithfully to the Constitutional requirement.
"Lack of merit," which was one of the grounds for denial, is a legal
basis (see Sec. 3, Rule 45).

ADMINISTRATIVE CASE in the Supreme Court.


The facts are stated in the resolution of the Court.

RESOLUTION

PER CURIAM:

Acting on the "Petition for Redress and Exoneration and for


648

648 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED


Prudential Bank vs. Castro

Voluntary Inhibition" filed by respondent Benjamin M.


Grecia himself, dated February 8, 1988, praying that the
decision of November 12, 1987, and the resolution of the
denial of the motion for reconsideration of the said decision
be set aside and a new one entered by this Court
dismissing the administrative complaint and exonerating
the respondent, the Court RESOLVED (1) the EXPUNGE
said Petition, it being in the nature of a second motion for
reconsideration filed without leave of Court t, besides the
fact that the fir st motion for reconsideration filed by the
same respondent had already been denied with finality on
January 12, 1988; (2) to STRIKE OUT Annex 1" of the
Petition and its exclosures, Annex "1" being a xerox copy of
a letter dated 04 August 1986 written by Judge Dionisio N.
Capistrano to an unknown addressee, for being immaterial
and impertinent to this case for disbarment (Sec. 5, Rule 9,
Rules of Court). The Court will not allow the filing of such
kinds of Petitions/Annexes that are not only irrelevant to
the issue and presented out of time as hereinafter
explained, but are also scurrilous and defamatory.
Certain points raised in the Petition, however, call for
separate treatment and determination.

1) The "Petition for Voluntary Inhibition" of Chief


Justice Claudio Teehankee and Justice Teodoro R.
Padilla is DENIED there being no legal nor factual
basis therefor. It is settled jurisprudence that after
a member has given an opinion on the merits of the
case, a motion to disqualify a member of the
Supreme Court cannot be considered because a
litigant cannot be permitted to speculate upon the
action of the Court and raise an objection of this
sort after decision has been rendered (Araneta vs.
Dinglasan, 84 Phil. 368, citing Government of the
Philippine Islands vs. Heirs of Abella, 49 Phil. 374).

The decision to disbar respondent lawyer was the collective


judgment of the Court, with the exception of Justice
Sarmiento who had inhibited himself, with no member in
the least bit attempting to influence one or the other. In
fairness to the Chief Justice, and to disabuse the fears and
suspicions of respondent Grecia, it should be made of
record that at no time during the deliberations on the case
did the Chief Justice show any illwill nor any signs of
"vindictiveness" much less any attempt to "exact vengeance
for past affront" against respondent lawyer. All discussions
were characterized by judicial objectivity dictated

649

VOL. 158, MARCH 15, 1988 649


Prudential Bank vs. Castro

only by the highest interests of the profession and public


welfare.
Similarly, the plea for the inhibition of Justice Padilla
has to be DENIED for being devoid of any valid reason.
Justice Padilla was counsel for Cityland Development
Corporation in the case of Manchester Development
Corporation, et al. vs. Court of Appeals, Cityland
Development Corporation, et al. (G.R. No. 75919, May 7,
1987, 149 SCRA 562), for which reason he took no part in
the said suit. Cityland, however, is not a party in this
administrative case.

2) The challenge huried against this Court's decision


as violative of the 1987 Constitution due to lack of
certification by the Chief Justice that the
conclusions of the Court were reached in
consultation before the case was assigned to a
member for the writing of the opinion of the Court,
is bereft of basis. The certification requirement
refers to decisions in judicial, not administrative
cases. From the very beginning,
resolutions/decisions of the Court in administrative
cases have not been accompanied by any formal
certification. In fact, such a certification would be a
superfluity in administrative cases, which by their
very nature, have to be deliberated upon
considering the collegiate composition of this Court.
The certification in AM No. R-510-P entitled
"Apolinario de Sarigumba vs. Deputy Sheriff
Pasok," cited in the Petition, is but an oversight.

But even if such a certification were required, it is beyond


doubt that the conclusions of the Court in its decision were
arrived at after consultation and deliberation. The
signatures of the members who actually took part in the
deliberations and voted attest to that. Besides, being a per
curiam decision, or an opinion of the Court as a whole,
there is no ponente although any member of the Court may
be assigned to write the draft. In such cases, a formal
certification is obviously not required.

3) No constitutional provision has been disregarded


either in the Court's Minute Resolution, dated
January 12,1988, denying the motion for
reconsideration "for lack of merit, the issues raised
therein having been previously duly considered and
passed upon." It bears repeating that this is an
administrative case so that the Constitutional
mandate that "no x x x motion for reconsideration of
a decision of the court shall be x x x denied without
stating the legal basis therefor" is inapplicable. And
even if it were, said Resolution stated the legal
basis for the

650

650 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED


Prudential Bank vs. Castro

denial and, therefore, adhered faithfully to the


Constitutional requirement. "Lack of merit," which
was one of the grounds for denial, is a legal basis
(see Sec. 3, Rule 45).
SO ORDERED.

     Yap, Fernan, Narvasa, Melencio-Herrera, Gutierrez,


Jr., Cruz, Paras, Feliciano, Gancayco, Bidin, Cortés and
Griño-Aquino, JJ., concur.
     Teehankee, C.J., concurs with a brief statement.
     Padilla, J., see separate statement.
     Sarmiento, J., no part.

TEEHANKEE, C.J.:

As the Court's unanimous Resolution states, respondents'


so called petition for redress dated February 8, 1988 (in
effect a second motion, filed without leave of Court, for
reconsideration of the disbarment decision of November 12,
1987 and the Resolution of January 12, 1988 denying
reconsideration) has been filed out of time and has been
expunged. Aside from the fact that the petition for my
voluntary inhibition is devoid of factual and legal basis,
there is nothing left before the Court for determination on
the merits. Be that as it may, I had refrained from taking
part in the deliberation on this incident and had wanted to
abstain even as a beau geste but submitted the question to
the judgment of my peers. Bowing to their collective
judgment against my inhibition, I herewith express my full
concurrence with the Court's action.

PADILLA, J., concurring:

I concur. In addition, I wish to make this brief statement. I


do not personally know respondent Benjamin M. Grecia. As
far as my memory can recall, I have not dealt with said
respondent, personally or professionally at any time, There
is therefore absolutely no basis for respondent's claim that
I have acted with bias or prejudice against his cause.
In Manchester Development Corporation, et al.,
petitioners, vs. Court of Appeals, City Land Development
Corporation, et al.,
651

VOL. 158, MARCH 16, 1988 651


Enriquez vs. Fortuna Mariculture Corporation

respondents, G.R. No. 75919, I took no part simply because


I was a retained counsel of the respondent City Land
Development Corporation before my appointment to the
Court. In this administrative case, I have not been related,
personally or professionally, with any party or counsel.
There is thus absolutely no reason for me not to take part
in this case. In fact, I consider it a part of my sworn duty to
take part therein since there is absolutely no legal, moral
or ethical ground which would justify my inhibition.

Note.—Complaint against a judge will be dismissed


where there is no evidence to support the same. (Banawa
vs. De Jesus, 114 SCRA 505.)

—–o0o——

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