This is a sample urgent motion to inhibit and to re-raffle a pending case prepared by our law office, for the legal research purposes of our readers.
“x x x.
URGENT MOTION TO INHIBIT AND TO RE-RAFFLE
THE UNDERSIGNED PRIVATE COMPLAINANTS, namely, xxx, xxx, and xxx, with the conformity of the Public/Trial Prosecutor, respectfully state:
1. The accused-appellants in Criminal Case No. xxx, namely, xxx, xxx, xxx, xxx, xxx, xxx & xxx, and the accused-appellants in Crim. Case No. xxx, namely, xxx, xxx, xxx, xxx, xxx, xxx, xxx, xxx, xxx, xxx & xxx, have recently appealed their conviction by the Municipal Trial Court (MTC) of xxx, xxx, per its Decision, dated xxx, 2016 for two (2) counts of Malicious Mischief, to this Honorable Court, presided by Hon. xxx.
The said pending appeals are docketed as Crim. Case No. xxx and Crim. Case No. xxx before Honorable Court.
- It will be noted that the undersigned private complainants and the accused-appellants are the parties in a civil case pending in Branch 67 of this Honorable Court, which is also presided by the Honorable Presiding Judge xxx, docketed as Civil Case No. xxx and entitled “xxx vs. xxx, xxx, xxx, xxx, xxx, xxx, xxx, xxx, xxx AND ALL O THER PERSONS UNDER THEIR EMPLOY, DIRECTION, CONTROL AND SUPERVISION”, for INJUNCTION with DAMAGES.
- The accused-appellants in the instant appealed criminal cases, who are named in Par. 1 hereof, are ranking directors/officers of the xxx, the plaintiff in the aforecited Civil Case No. xxx.
- The undersigned private complainants in the instant appealed criminal cases are co-defendants in the aforecited Civil Case No. xxx.
The undersigned private complainants are ranking directors/officers of the xxx SUBDIVISION HOMEOWNERS ASSOCIATION, INC. (xxx).
- There have been a protracted political and socio-economic conflicts and struggles between the aforementioned two (2) groups for many years now.
The said conflicts and struggles have escalated to litigations between and among the herein parties before the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLRUB), the National Water Resources Board (NWRB), the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor of the Province of Rizal, the Municipal Trial Court of xxx, xxx, the Manila Water Co., Inc., and others.
- The Honorable Presiding Judge xxx, in the abovecited Civil Case No. xxx, has issued certain Orders, which are enumerated hereinbelow, favorable to the plaintiff therein (xxx) and its leaders (i.e., the accused-appellants in these appealed criminal cases).
The said Orders have adversely affected the organizational effectiveness of the leadership of the undersigned private complainants, as among the incumbent leaders of xxx, as well as the efficient and prompt delivery of socio-economic services by the undersigned private complainants to the homeowners of the Xxx Subdivision, to wit:
(a) TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDER, dated xxx, 2015;
(b) ORDER OF PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION, dated xxx, 2015;
(c) SHOW-CAUSE ORDER, dated xxx, 2015; and
(d) ORDER, dated xxx, 2016, denying the special affirmative defenses raised by the undersigned private complainants in their supplemental responsive pleading as the co-defendants in the aforecited Civil Case No. xxx.
- It will be recalled that in the Urgent Ex-Parte Manifestation filed by the undersigned private complainants on xxx, 2015, the undersigned private complainants, together with the their co-defendants in the aforecited Civil Case No. xxx, had brought to the attention of the Honorable Judge xxx the xxx, 2015 Newsletter distributed by xxx (a ranking leader of the xxx, plaintiff in the said civil case).
In the said Newsletter xxx created that impression in the minds of the homeowners, including the undersigned private complainants, that the Honorable Presiding Judge had, in a partial and biased manner, prejudged the guilt of the defendants in the said pending civil case for indirect contempt, implying that the Honorable Judge was on their side as the movants for indirect contempt in the said pending civil case.
(Please see attached manifestation and newsletter, marked as Exhs. “1” and “2”).
8. Lest the undersigned private complainants be misconstrued by this Honorable Court, the undersigned private complainants most respectfully and humbly wish to state that, in filing this “motion to inhibit and to re-raffle”, the undersigned private complainants have no malicious intention of attributing any ill, unjust or
dishonest motive against the person, name, and reputation of the Honorable Presiding Judge Xxx.
- This motion is being filed by the undersigned private complainants, with all humility and with all due respect to the Honorable Presiding Judge, solely as an honest exercise by the private complainants of their constitutional right to substantive and procedural due process of law.
The two (2) basic dimensions of due process of law are (a) the right of a litigant to a state of peace of mind while his case is being litigated by a trial court, and (b) the right of a litigant to assert the duty of a trial court to maintain a public image that meets the strict perception-based standard of “the cold neutrality or an impartial judge” or the “Caesar’s Wife Doctrine” in Legal and Judicial Ethics.
In the aforecited case, the petition for certiorari and prohibition with prayer for a temporary restraining order and/or preliminary injunction filed with the Supreme Court sought to nullify and set aside the resolutions issued by public respondent Gregory S. Ong, Associate Justice and Chairperson of the Fourth Division of the Sandiganbayan, in Criminal Case Nos. 17287 to 17291, 19225 and 22867 to 22870, specifically:
(a) The Resolution dated October 15, 2003 denying the motion for inhibition filed by petitioner People of the Philippines; and,
(b) The Resolution dated December 30, 2003 denying petitioner’s motion for reconsideration.
The petitioner PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES likewise prayed in its petition to the Supreme Court that the said public respondent (Justice Ong) be permanently enjoined from presiding over the trial and sitting in judgment in these ten consolidated cases against private
respondent Ms. Imelda R. Marcos for violation of Section 3(h) of Republic Act No. 3019, as amended, otherwise known as the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.
The Supreme Court noted in the said case that the aforecited case related intimately to Civil Case No. 0141 (forfeiture case) arising from the petition for forfeiture filed by the Presidential Commission on Good Government on behalf of the Republic of the Philippines (Republic) to recover from former President Ferdinand E. Marcos and herein private respondent (collectively, respondents) funds alleged to be ill-gotten and deposited under different Swiss bank accounts in the name of several foreign foundations.
Disposing of the aforecited case, the Supreme Court cited Sec. 7, Rule 137 (inhibition and disqualification of judges) of the Rules of Court:
SECTION 1. Disqualification of judges. - No judge or judicial officer shall sit in any case in which he, or his wife or child, is pecuniarily 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 civil law, or in which he has been executor, administrator, guardian, trustee or counsel, or in 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.
A judge may, in the exercise of his sound discretion, disqualify himself from sitting in a case, for just or valid reasons other than those mentioned above. (Emphasis supplied.)
The Supreme Court held therein that (a) due process necessarily requires that a hearing is conducted before an “impartial and disinterested tribunal” because unquestionably, every litigant is entitled to nothing less than “the cold neutrality of an impartial judge” and (b) that “all the other elements of due process, like notice and hearing, would be meaningless if the ultimate decision would come from a partial and biased judge.”
“X x x .
This rule enumerates the specific grounds upon which a judge may be disqualified from participating in a trial. It must be borne in mind that the inhibition of judges is rooted in the Constitution, specifically Article III, the Bill of Rights, which guarantees that no person shall be held to answer for a criminal offense without due process of law. Due process necessarily requires that a hearing is conducted before an impartial and disinterested tribunal because unquestionably, every litigant is entitled to nothing less than the cold neutrality of an impartial judge. All the other elements of due process, like notice and hearing, would be meaningless if the ultimate decision would come from a partial and biased judge.
Relevant to the present case is the second paragraph governing voluntary inhibition. Based on this provision, judges have been given the exclusive prerogative to recuse themselves from hearing cases for reasons other than those pertaining to their pecuniary interest, relation, previous connection, or previous rulings or decisions. The issue of voluntary inhibition in this instance becomes primarily a matter of conscience and sound discretion on the part of the judge. It is a subjective test the result of which the reviewing tribunal will generally not disturb in the absence of any manifest finding of arbitrariness and whimsicality.
This discretion granted to trial judges takes cognizance of the fact that these judges are in a better position to determine the issue of voluntary inhibition as they are the ones who directly deal with the parties-litigants in their courtrooms. Nevertheless, it must be emphasized that the authority for voluntary inhibition does not give judges unlimited discretion to decide whether or not they will desist from hearing a case. The decision on whether or not judges should inhibit themselves must be based on their rational and logical assessment of the circumstances prevailing in the cases brought before them.
X x x.”
FINALLY, the Supreme Court, in the aforecited case, held that (a) judges should avoid “not just impropriety” in their conduct but even the “mere appearance” of impropriety for appearance is an essential manifestation of reality”; (b) that it is essential that judges be “above suspicion”; and (c) that a judge has the avowed duty to promote “confidence in the judicial system”.
“X x x.
Public respondent is reminded of the principle that judges should avoid not just impropriety in their conduct but even the mere appearance of impropriety for appearance is an essential manifestation of reality. In insulating the Bench from unwarranted criticism, thus preserving a democratic way of life, it is essential that judges be above suspicion. It bears stressing that the duty of judges is not only to administer justice but also to conduct themselves in a manner that would avoid any suspicion of irregularity. This arises from the avowed duty of members of the bench to promote confidence in the judicial system. Occupying as they do an exalted position in the administration of justice, judges must pay a high price for the honor bestowed upon them. Hence, any act which would give the appearance of impropriety becomes, of itself, reprehensible.
X x x.”
WHEREFORE, premises considered, it is respectfully prayed that the Hon. Xxx, Presiding Judge of this Honorable Court voluntarily INHIBIT himself from adjudicating the instant appealed criminal cases and that the same be RE-RAFFLED to another Branch of the Honorable Court.
FURTHER, the movants respectfully pray for such and other reliefs as may be deemed just and equitable in the premises.
Xxx, xxx, March 21, 2016.
X x x.”