[A.M. NO. RTJ-03-1812 : November 18, 2004]
PABLITO R. SORIA, ET AL., Complainants, v. JUDGE FRANKLYN A. VILLEGAS, Regional Trial Court of Pagadian City, Branch 19, Respondent.
With due respect, I dissent from the decision of the majority to partially grant the respondents second motion for reconsideration and to reduce the penalty imposed on respondent from dismissal from the service to suspension for a period reckoned from the time respondent received a copy of the decision of 19 November 2003 until he shall re-assume office and to pay, within thirty (30) days from notice of this Resolution, a fine of P50,000.00.
I maintain that the penalty of dismissal from the service imposed is warranted owing to the gravamen of respondents misconduct. Neither good faith nor an allegedly long unblemished service in the judiciary can justify his administrative offense.1 For his refusal to heed not merely one but several directives issued by the Court, respondent offered the lame excuse that he thought he was merely being harassed and he believed that the complaint against him was filed to influence the wheels of justice, which he could not countenance.2 Ï‚rÎ½ll
Respondent further insists that he did not commit a deliberate act of ignoring the Court; rather his conduct should be considered simply as an act of ignoring the complainants out of dismay, disbelief and emotional sensitivities. In short, his emotions controlled his acts.3 Therein lies the fatal absurdity in respondents explanation, for he cannot ignore complainants without ignoring us. Indeed, respondent ignored not merely one but severalof our directives.
As a magistrate presiding over a court of law allegedly for over two (2) decades, respondent, more than anyone else, should know that acts are judged largely by their results and not by the underlying reasons or the motives proffered to justify their commission. No man may be punished for what he thinks. Cogitationis poenam nemo emeret.4 Respondents personal beliefs that complainants charges lacked basis are no excuse for him to ignore the Courts orders.
Besides the basic equipment of possessing the requisite learning in the law, a magistrate must exhibit that hallmark judicial temperament of utmost sobriety5 and self-restraint which are indispensable qualities of every judge.6 A judge anywhere should be the last person to be perceived as a petty tyrant holding imperious sway over his domain. Such an image is, however, evoked by the actuations of respondent judge in this case. It has time and again been stressed that the role of a judge in relation to those who appear before his court must be one of temperance, patience and courtesy.7 Ï‚rÎ½ll
In recent case of Office of the Court Administrator v. Villegas ,8 our attention was called to respondents delay of almost fifteen (15) years in deciding Civil Case No. 1576 which had been pending in his sala since August 22, 1984. He was fined P1,000.00 during the course of the proceedings for hiscontinued failure to comply9 with our directives. The fine was increased to P2,000.00 in a Resolution dated January 16, 2001.
IN THE LIGHT OF THE FOREGOING, I vote to DENY the respondents Second Motion for Reconsideration for lack of merit.
1 Taran v. Jacinto, A.M. No. MTJ-92-1436, 12 January 2004, 419 SCRA 1.
2 See comment, With Prayer For Indulgence and Clemency, p. 8.
3 Id., pp. 8-9.
4 Aquino, Revised Penal Code, vol. 1, 1997 ed., p. 34.
5 Martinez v. Pahimulin, A.M. No. 78-MJ, 30 August 1982, 116 SCRA 136.
6 Ferrer v. Maramba, 352 Phil. 351 .
7 See Delgra, Jr. v. Gonzales, G.R. No. L-24981, 30 June 1970, 31 SCRA 237; Laguio v. Diaz, A.M. NO. (3167-V) P-2195, 29 May 1981, 104 SCRA 689; Retuya v. Equipilag, A.M. No. 1431-MJ, 16 July 1979, 91 SCRA 416.
8 A.M. No. RTJ-00-1526, 3 June 2004.
9 Id., 4th paragraph of Resolution.