OFFICE OF THE COURT ADMINISTRATOR, COMPLAINANT, VS. PRESIDING JUDGE JOSEPH CEDRICK O. RUIZ, REGIONAL TRIAL COURT, BRANCH 61, MAKATI CITY, RESPONDENT
“x x x.
The Court likewise possesses the power to preventively suspend an administratively charged judge until a final decision is reached, particularly when a serious charge is involved and a strong likelihood of guilt exists. This power is inherent in the Court’s power of administrative supervision over all courts and their personnel as a measure to allow unhampered formal investigation. It is likewise a preventive measure to shield the public from any further damage that the continued exercise by the judge of the functions of his office may cause.
In the present case, we placed the respondent under preventive suspension because he is alleged to have committed transgressions that are classified as serious under Section 8, Rule 140 of the Rules of Court, which provides:
SEC. 8. Serious charges. – Serious charges include:
1. Bribery, direct or indirect;
2. Dishonesty and violations of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Law (R.A. No. 3019);
3. Gross misconduct constituting violations of the Code of Judicial Conduct;
4. Knowingly rendering an unjust judgment or order as determined by a competent court in an appropriate proceeding;
5. Conviction of a crime involving moral turpitude;
6. Willful failure to pay a just debt;
7. Borrowing money or property from lawyers and litigants in a case pending before the court;
9. Gross ignorance of the law or procedure;
10. Partisan political activities; and
11. Alcoholism and/or vicious habits, (emphasis supplied)
The respondent’s convictions by the Sandiganbayan for violation of Section 3(e) of R.A. No. 3019 and for malversation of public funds confirm that the administrative charges for which he may be found liable are serious charges under Section 8(2) of Rule 140 of the Rules of Court, as amended. Malversation is likewise considered as a serious charge since it is a crime involving moral turpitude.
X x x.”