EFREN T. UY, NELIA B. LEE, RODOLFO L. MENES AND QUINCIANO H. LUI VS. JUDGE ALAN L. FLORES, PRESIDING JUDGE, REGIONAL TRIAL COURT, BRANCH 7, TUBOD, LANAO DEL NORTE, A.M. No. RTJ-12-2332 (Formerly OCA IPI No. 10-3393-RTJ), June 25, 2014.
“x x x.
When a law or a rule is basic, judges owe it to their office to simply apply the law. Anything less is gross ignorance of the law. There is gross ignorance of the law when an error committed by the judge was gross or patent, deliberate or malicious. It may also be committed when a judge ignores, contradicts or fails to apply settled law and jurisprudence because of bad faith, fraud, dishonesty or corruption. Gross ignorance of the law or incompetence cannot be excused by a claim of good faith. When an error is so gross and patent, such error produces an inference of bad faith, making the judge liable for gross ignorance of the law.
In Republic v. Judge Caguioa, we said that the rules on jurisdiction are basic and judges should know them by heart.
Here, Judge Flores assumed jurisdiction over the Rule 65 petition assailing Hefti’s order when he should have dismissed the petition for Gandarosa’s failure to exhaust administrative remedies. An employee who questions the validity of his transfer should appeal to the Civil Service Commission per Section 26(3), Chapter 5, Subtitle A, Book V of the Administrative Code of 1987, which reads:
SEC. 26. Personnel Actions. – x x x
x x x x
(3) Transfer. x x x
x x x. If the employee believes that there is no justification for the transfer, he may appeal his case to the [Civil Service] Commission.
Citing said provision of the Administrative Code of 1987, we ruled in Hon. Vinzons-Chato v. Hon. Natividad that:
Moreover, under the law, any employee who questions the validity of his transfer should appeal to the Civil Service Commission. Respondent judge should have dismissed the action below for failure of private respondent to exhaust administrative remedies.
We reiterated the above rule in Rualo v. Pitargue, to wit:
Being [Bureau of Internal Revenue] employees, Perez and Vasquez focused their objections on security of tenure. In the case of Perez, respondents object to the specter of a transfer. In the case of Vasquez, respondents object to the place of transfer. Under the law, any employee who questions the validity of his transfer should appeal to the Civil Service Commission. The trial court should have dismissed the case as to Perez and Vasquez, who both failed to exhaust administrative remedies x x x.
The law is basic and jurisprudence is clear but Judge Flores failed to apply them. Judge Flores committed a gross and patent error which makes him liable for gross ignorance of the law notwithstanding his claim of good faith. Judge Flores even mentioned in the Order dated November 21, 2008 the contention of the Office of the Solicitor General that the trial court lacks jurisdiction over the case. Judge Flores’s gross and patent error produces an inference of bad faith on his part, considering that the issue of jurisdiction was raised.
X x x.”