• 3 appeals court justices cleared of misconduct

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    THE Supreme Court (SC) has cleared three justices of the Court of Appeals (CA) who were administratively charged by a litigant for committing gross misconduct by issuing a decision not in the name of the parties to a land dispute.

    In a full-court ruling, the tribunal resolved to dismiss the administrative complaint filed by Leopoldo Ventura against Justices Franchito Diamante, Melchor Sadang, Celia Librea-Leagogo and Judge Celso Magsino, Jr. of Malabon City Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 74.

    In his complaint, Ventura argued that the justices should be held administratively liable for gross ignorance of the law, among others, in dismissing his petition before the RTC.

    However, in its July 26 decision that was released only recently, the high court denied Ventura’s claims.

    “As correctly pointed out by the CA, complainant failed to establish the basis of the claim of his principal, Lilia Sevilla, over portions covered by the titles sought to be annulled, considering that they trace their source to original Certificate of Title No. 994 dated April 19, 1917, which was declared to be inexistent by the court[,]” the SC held.

    The SC said that as a matter of policy, “the acts of a judge in his official capacity are not subject [to]disciplinary action, in the absence of proof that the errors he committed, if any, were gross or patent, deliberate or malicious, or that he ignored, contradicted or failed to apply settled law and jurisprudence because of bad faith, fraud, dishonesty or corruption, which were not sufficiently shown to exist in this case.”

    The high tribunal also affirmed the ruling of the appellate court that it found no reversible error in the rulings of the RTC to warrant the exercise of its discretionary appellate jurisdiction.

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