It is settled that as a matter of policy, in the absence of fraud, dishonesty or corruption, the acts of a Judge in his judicial capacity are not subject to disciplinary action even though such acts are erroneous. He cannot be subjected to liability – civil, criminal or administrative – for any of his official acts, no matter how erroneous, as long as he acts in good faith. Only judicial errors tainted with fraud, dishonesty, gross ignorance, bad faith or deliberate intent to do an injustice will be administratively sanctioned. To hold otherwise would be to render judicial office untenable, for no one called upon to try the facts or interpret the law in the process of administering justice can be infallible in his judgment. Furthermore, even in an administrative case, the Rules of Court require that if the respondent Judge should be disciplined for grave misconduct or any graver offense, the evidence against him should be competent and should be derived from direct knowledge. The judiciary to which the respondent belongs demands no less. Before any of its members could be faulted, competent evidence should be presented, especially since the charge is penal in character.
Indeed, while it is our duty to investigate and determine the truth behind every matter in complaints against Judges and other court personnel, it is also our duty to see to it that they are protected and exonerated from baseless administrative charges. The Court will not shirk from its responsibility of imposing discipline upon its magistrates, but neither will it hesitate to shield them from unfounded suits that only serve to disrupt rather than promote the orderly administration of justice.
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