Sunday, April 22, 2012

Disqualification of judges - G.R. No. 171765

G.R. No. 171765

"x x x.

         As regards the issue of Judge Doyon’s disqualification to sit as judge in the subject cases, the Court agrees with the CA. The pertinent rule on the mandatory disqualification of judicial officers is laid down in Rule 137 of the Rules of Court. Section 1 thereof provides:

SECTION 1.  Disqualification of judges. – No judge or judicial officer shall sit in any case in which he, or his wife or child, is pecuniary interested as heir, legatee, creditor or otherwise, or in which he is related to either party within the sixth degree of consanguinity or affinity, or to counsel within the fourth degree, computed according to the rules of the civil law, or in which he has been executor, administrator, guardian, trustee or counsel, or which he has presided in any inferior court when his ruling or decision is the subject of review, without the written consent of all parties in interest, signed by them and entered upon the record. [Underscoring supplied]

x x x.
Moreover, Rule 3.12 of Canon 3 of the Code of Judicial Conduct, which took effect from October 20 1989 until May 31, 2004, the applicable rule then, reads as follows:
A judge should take no part in a proceeding where the judge’s impartiality might reasonably be questioned.  These cases include, among others, proceedings where:
x x x
(d)     the judge is related by consanguinity or affinity to a party litigant within the sixth degree or to counsel within the fourth degree. [Underscoring supplied]

The prohibitions under the afore-quoted provisions of the Rules are clear. The disqualification is mandatory and gives the judicial officer concerned no discretion but to inhibit himself from trying or sitting in a case. The rationale, therefore, is to preserve the people's faith and confidence in the judiciary's fairness and objectivity.[35]
x x x."