SC junks 'baseless' complaint vs. 3 CA justices

February 10, 2012 11:00 pm 

MANILA, Feb. 10 – The Supreme Court (SC) has dismissed outright for utter lack of merit the complaint filed against Court of Appeals (CA) Associate Justices Juan Q. Enriquez, Jr., Ramon M. Bato, Jr. and Florito S. Macalino.

In a 12-page ruling penned by SC Associate Justice Lucas P. Bersamin, the SC en banc also gave complainant Engr. Oscar L. Ongjoco 10 days from receipt of the resolution to show cause in writing why he should not be punished for indirect contempt "for degrading the judicial office of respondent Associate Justices of the Court of Appeals, and for interfering with the due performance of their work for the Judiciary."

"Judicial officers do not have to suffer the brunt of unsuccessful or dissatisfied litigants' baseless and false imputations of their violating the Constitution in resolving their cases and of harboring bias and partiality towards the adverse parties," the SC said.

The case arose from the administrative complaint in June 2011 filed by Ongjoco, claiming to be the Chair of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of the FH-Gymn Multi-Purpose and Transport Service Cooperative (FH-Gymn), charging the CA's Sixth Division, composed of Enriquez as chair and Bato and Macalino as members, with rendering an arbitrary and baseless decision unfavorable to FH-Gymn.

FH-Gymn filed a graft complaint with the Deputy Ombudsman for Luzon against San Jose del Monte City, Bulacan councilors, who are members of the Committee on Transportation and Communications, for uttering statements against FH-Gymn and denying its request to authorize FH-Gymn Chair Ongjoco to issue motorized tricycle operators permit (MTOP) to its members.

When the Ombudsman dismissed the complaint for insufficiency of evidence, FH-Gymn elevated the case to the CA, but the CA's Sixth Division denied FH-Gymn's petition for review and later, its motion for reconsideration (MR).

The SC said that the CA's Sixth Division's decision showed that it has complied with the requirements of the Constitution contrary to Ongjoco's claims.

It said that "the definitive pronouncement of the CA's Sixth Division that 'the Deputy Ombudsman found no substantial evidence to prove that there was interference in the internal affairs of FH-GYMN nor was there a violation of the law by the respondents' met the constitutional demand for a clear and distinct statement of the facts and the law on which the decision was based."

The SC said that the CA's Sixth Division expressly found that FH-Gymn had not discharged its burden as the petitioner of proving its allegations with substantial evidence.

It reminded Ongjoco that to sustain his allegations of misconduct against the respondent Justices, his administrative complaint "must rest on the quality of the evidence; and that his basing his plain accusations on hunches and speculations would not suffice to held them administratively liable for rendering the adverse decision."

"We recognize that unfounded administrative charges against judges really degrade the judicial office, and interfere with the due performance of their work for the Judiciary. Hence, we deem to be warranted to now direct Ongjoco to fully explain his act of filing an utterly baseless charge against respondent Justices," the SC said. (PNA) RMA/PTR

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