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While the SC said that it is committed in imposing disciplinary action against erring members of the judiciary, it added that it must be "steadfast in our undertaking to not be the instrument that destroys the reputation of any member of the bench by pronouncing guilt based merely on speculation.”
The High Tribunal also took the PDEA to task for making claims against the judges "based on long-decided cases and relying on witnesses whose factual assertions were, prima facie, not credible and for failing, despite opportunities given during the Abad Investigation, to present witnesses who could corroborate other material points."
The SC also slammed what it considered the premature announcement of the judges' alleged involvement in the illegal drug trade, noting that the judges had been placed in danger because of this.
"In response to this, the Court called upon the various judges organizations (as well as organizations of court personnel) to take up issues that have surfaced in this investigation in order to further enable the rule of law as far as judges' conduct is concerned—so as to protect the lives and reputation of judges and court personnel even as the Court disciplines its own ranks," the SC said.
Justice Marvic Leonen, in his concurring opinion, also slammed the public announcement of the judges' supposed involvement, saying that the allegations were not fully supported by validated evidence.
"All it achieved was to shame the judges and others similarly situated," Leonen said.
He added, "It also dangerously contributes to the President’s public misperception that courts of law are incompetent. The truth is that, in these cases, evidence is not available from the law enforcers, who could have presented opportunities for this court to clean its ranks." – Rappler.com
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