OFFICE OF THE COURT ADMINISTRATOR, COMPLAINANT, VS. PRESIDING JUDGE JOSEPH CEDRICK O. RUIZ, REGIONAL TRIAL COURT, BRANCH 61, MAKATI CITY, RESPONDENT
“x x x.
In the present case, our task is not to determine the correctness of the Sandiganbayan’s ruling in Criminal Case Nos. 27467-68, a case that is separately pending before us and which we shall consider under the evidentiary rules and procedures of our criminal laws.
In the present proceedings, our function is limited to the determination of whether substantial evidence exists to hold the respondent administratively liable for acts he is alleged to have committed while he was still the mayor of Dapitan City.
In this determination, it is immaterial that the respondent was not yet a member of the Judiciary when he allegedly committed the acts imputed to him; judges may be disciplined for acts committed prior to their appointment to the judiciary. Our Rules itself recognizes this situation, as it provides for the immediate forwarding to the Supreme Court for disposition and adjudication of charges against justices and judges before the IBP, including those filed prior to their appointment to the judiciary. It need not be shown that the respondent continued to do the act or acts complained of; it is sufficient that the evidence on record supports the charge/s against the respondent through proof that the respondent committed the imputed act/s violative of the Code of Judicial Conduct and the applicable provisions of the Rules of Court.14
In Office of the Court Administrator v. Judge Sardido15, the Court definitively ruled that:
The acts or omissions of a judge may well constitute at the same time both a criminal act and an administrative offense. Whether the criminal case against Judge Hurtado relates to an act committed before or after he became a judge is of no moment. Neither is it material that an MTC judge will be trying an RTC judge in the criminal case. A criminal case against an attorney or judge is distinct and separate from an administrative case against him. The dismissal of the criminal case does not warrant the dismissal of an administrative case arising from the same set of facts, x x x (emphases supplied)
X x x.”