Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Petitioner-judge contends that the Office of the Ombudsman has no jurisdiction to initiate an investigation into the alleged "undue delay in the disposition of the case" as said charge relates to a judge's performance of her official duties over which the Supreme Court has administrative control and supervision, as mandated under section 6, Rule VIII of the 1987 Constitution. 5 Public respondent Ombudsman-Mindanao, however, contends that referral to the Supreme Court is not essential in this case as what will be investigated is not whether there was undue delay in the disposition of a simple criminal case for five years, which it admits is administrative in nature. It added that what is sought to be determined by the investigation is whether or not any undue delay in the disposition of the alarms and scandals case resulted in injury to private respondent through manifest partiality, evident bad faith or gross inexcusable negligence and/or undue advantage to any party, in violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.

This Court agrees with petitioner-judge. The complaint against petitioner-judge before the Office of the Ombudsman is basically administrative in nature. In essence, petitioner-judge is being charged with having violated Rule 1.02, Canon 1 6 and Rule 3.05, Canon 3 7 of the Code of Judicial Conduct.

It must be borne in mind that the resolution of the administrative charge of unduly delaying the disposition of the said criminal case involves the determination of whether, in resolving the alarms and scandals case, petitioner-judge acted in accordance with the guidelines provided in the Rules of Court and in the Administrative Circulars in pursuance of the ideals embodied in the Code of Judicial Conduct. Such is clearly an administrative matter. Unquestionably, this Court is mandated of the 1987 Constitution to assume under section 6, Article VIII of the 1987 Constitution to assume administrative supervision over all courts and the personnel thereof.

This Court, in the case of Sanz Maceda v. Vasquez, 221 SCRA 464, held that:

Article VIII, section 6 of the 1987 Constitution exclusively vests in the Supreme Court administrative supervision over all courts and court personnel, from the Presiding Justice of the Court of Appeals down to the lowest municipal trial court clerk. By virtue of this power, it is only the Supreme Court that can oversee the judge's and court personnel's compliance with all laws, and take the proper administrative action against them if they commit any violation thereof. No Other branch of government may intrude into this power, without running afoul of the doctrine of separation of powers.

Public respondent Ombudsman cannot justify its investigation of petitioner on the powers granted to it by the Constitution, for such a justification not only runs counter to the specific mandate of the Constitution granting supervisory powers to the Supreme Court over all courts and their personnel, but likewise undermines the independence of the judiciary.

G.R. No. 118808 December 24, 1996


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