OFFICE OF THE COURT ADMINISTRATOR, COMPLAINANT, VS. PRESIDING JUDGE JOSEPH CEDRICK O. RUIZ, REGIONAL TRIAL COURT, BRANCH 61, MAKATI CITY, RESPONDENT, A.M. No. RTJ-13-2361 [Formerly OCA IPI No. 13-4144-RTJ], February 02, 2016.
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I. The Court’s disciplinary powers over justices and judges
We find no merit in the respondent’s claim that the present administrative case against him is premature because his criminal convictions by the Sandiganbayan are not yet final.
Section 6, Article VIII of the 1987 Constitution grants the Supreme Court administrative supervision over all courts and their personnel. This grant empowers the Supreme Court to oversee the judges’ and court personnel’s administrative compliance with all laws, rules, and regulations,1 and to take administrative actions against them if they violate these legal norms.2
In the exercise of this power, the Court has promulgated rules of procedure in the discipline of judges. Section 1, Rule 140 of the Rules of Court, as amended by A. M. No. 01-8-10-SC, provides:
SECTION 1. How instituted. 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 proprio by the Supreme Court or upon a verified complaint, supported by affidavits of persons 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. The complaint shall be in writing and shall state clearly and concisely the acts and omissions constituting violations of standards of conduct prescribed for Judges by law, the Rules of Court, or the Code of Judicial Conduct.
Based on this rule, disciplinary proceedings against sitting judges and justices may be instituted: (a) motu proprio, by the Court itself; (b) upon verified complaint, supported by the affidavits of persons with personal knowledge of the facts alleged, or by documents substantiating the allegations; or (c) upon anonymous complaint supported by public records of indubitable integrity.3
It was pursuant to this power that the Court – on its own initiative -ordered the re-docketing of the OCA’s report as a formal complaint against the respondent and as a regular administrative matter for the Court’s consideration.
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