On 11 September 2001, the Supreme Court promulgated A. M. No. 01-8-10-SC amending Rule 140 of the Rules of Court on the discipline of justices and judges.
Proceedings for the discipline of judges of regular and special courts and Justices of the Court of Appeals and the Sandiganbayan may be instituted motu propio by the Supreme Court or upon a verified complaint, supported by affidavits of person who have personal knowledge of the facts alleged therein or by documents which may substantiate said allegations, or upon an anonymous complaint, supported by public records of indubitable integrity.
Upon the filing of the respondent’s comment, or upon the expiration of the time for filing the same and unless other pleadings or documents are required, the Court shall refer the matter to the Office of the Court Administrator for evaluation, report, and recommendation or assign the case for investigation, report, and recommendation to a retired member of the Supreme Court, if the respondent is a Justice of the Court of Appeals and the Sandiganbayan, or to a Justice of the Court of Appeals, if the respondent is a Judge of a Regional Trial Court or of a special court of equivalent rank, or to a Judge of the Regional Trial Court if the respondent is a Judge of an inferior court.
The Investigating Justice or Judge shall terminate the investigation within ninety (90) days from the date of its commencement or within such extension as the Supreme Court may grant.
Within thirty (30) days from the termination of the investigation, the investigating Justice or Judge shall submit to the Supreme Court a report containing findings of fact and recommendation. The report shall be accompanied by the record containing the evidence and the pleadings filed by the parties. The report shall be confidential and shall be for the exclusive use of the Court.
Administrative charges are classified as serious, less serious, or light. Serious charges include:
1. Bribery, direct or indirect;
2. Dishonesty and violations of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Law (R.A. No. 3019);
3. Gross misconduct constituting violations of the Code of Judicial Conduct;
4. Knowingly rendering an unjust judgment or order as determined by a competent court in an appropriate proceeding;
5. Conviction of a crime involving moral turpitude;
6. Willful failure to pay a just debt;
7. Borrowing money or property from lawyers and litigants in a case pending before the court;
9. Gross ignorance of the law or procedure;
10. Partisan political activities; and
11. Alcoholism and/or vicious habits.
Less serious charges include:
1. Undue delay in rendering a decision or order, or in transmitting the records of a case;
2. Frequently and unjustified absences without leave or habitual tardiness;
3. Unauthorized practice of law;
4. Violation of Supreme Court rules, directives, and circulars;
5. Receiving additional or double compensation unless specifically authorized by law;
6. Untruthful statements in the certificate of service; and
7. Simple Misconduct.
Light charges include:
1. Vulgar and unbecoming conduct;
2. Gambling in public;
3. Fraternizing with lawyers and litigants with pending case/cases in his court; and
4. Undue delay in the submission of monthly reports.
If the respondent is guilty of a serious charge, any of the following sanctions may be imposed:
1. Dismissal from the service, forfeiture of all or part of the benefits as the Court may determine, and disqualification from reinstatement or appointment to any public office, including government-owned or controlled corporations. Provided, however, that the forfeiture of benefits shall in no case include accrued leave credits;
2. Suspension from office without salary and other benefits for more than three (3) but not exceeding six (6) months; or
3. A fine of more than P20, 000.00 but not exceeding P40, 000.00
If the respondent is guilty of a less serious charge, any of the following sanctions shall be imposed:
1. Suspension from office without salary and other benefits for not less than one (1) nor more than three (3) months; or
2. A fine of more than P10, 000.00 but not exceeding P20, 000.00.
If the respondent is guilty of a light charge, any of the following sanctions shall be imposed:
1. A fine of not less than P1, 000.00 but not exceeding P10, 000.00 and/or
4. Admonition with warning.
Proceedings against Judges of regular and special courts and Justices of the Court of Appeals and the Sandiganbayan shall be private and confidential.