THE Supreme Court (SC) has lifted the penalty of disqualification from public office it imposed on retired SC Associate Justice Ruben Reyes in connection with the ‘leak’ of an unpromulgated decision in 2009.
In a full court resolution signed by Clerk of Court Enriqueta Vidal, the SC granted the motion for reconsideration filed by Reyes who was suspended for an indefinite period from the practice of law.
The suspension stemmed from allegations that he ‘leaked’ his decision upholding the disqualification of Rep. Jocelyn Limkaichong of Negros Oriental.
An investigating body headed by then Senior Associate Justice Leonardo Quisumbing was designated to investigate how Reyes’ unsigned decision was released prematurely.
The SC on February 24, 2009 found Reyes guilty of gross misconduct for violating Rules 1.01 and 1.02 of Canon 1 of the Code of Conduct of Professional Responsibility.
On January 3, 2009, Reyes, the first associate justice of the SC to be suspended from the practice of law, had reached the mandatory retirement age of 70.
Reyes vehemently denied that he leaked the Court’s decision upholding the disqualification of Limkaichong for not being a natural-born Filipino citizen.
The court dismissed his plea to junk the case and instead imposed the penalty against him, prompting the retired magistrate to file his motion for reconsideration.
Reyes pleaded that he wanted to live a normal life as a retiree from the judiciary.
The court showed Reyes compassion since more than five years have passed since he was disqualified “to hold any office or employment in any branch or instrumentality of the government, including government-owned or controlled corporations.”
In the ruling, the court said Reyes “has taken full responsibility for his misdemeanor and expresses deep remorse for the consequences[.]”