Rubin v. Judge Aguirre, Jr. (A.M. No. RTJ-11-2267, January 19, 2011)


FACTS: That Complainant, during the lifetime of her husband, Feliciano Rubin, who was the Judicial Administrator of the Estate of the Spouses Dioscoro Rubin and Emperatriz Rubin, had witnessed and experienced that her husband and their family were victims of Graft and Corruption, Grave Injustice amounting to Violation of the Constitution, Betrayal of Public Trust, Grave Misconduct, Grave Abuse of Authority, Gross Ignorance of Law, Conduct Unbecoming of a Judge or Judicial Magistrate, Manifest Bias and Partiality, and Violation of the Code of Judicial Conduct, on the part of the respondent Judge committed during the conduct of the proceedings in Special Proceeding No. 28, Intestate Estate of the Spouses Dioscoro Rubin and Emperatriz Rubin, and in Civil Case No. 184, an Annulment of Adoption pending before him.In its report, the OCA recommended that the case be docketed as a regular administrative case considering the varying positions taken by the parties,and considering, too, the failure of Judge Aguirre to explain in his Comment why he invited Mr. Feliciano Rubin to see him personally in court.

The Investigating Justice found that except for the charge of Conduct Unbecoming of a Judge and Violation of Judicial Conduct, the other charges against Judge Aguirre were "bereft of factual and legal basis."The Investigating Justice found that Judge Aguirre committed an impropriety when he sent a letter to Mr. Feliciano Rubin "to discuss and to expedite a possible extra-judicial settlement of the estate of the deceased Spouses Rubin."The Investigating Justice explained:

[H]is act of sending a letter to a party litigant for a personal conference, however motivated, does not validate his action and the damning implications it may generate to the [J]udiciary this is especially so since the content of said letter can constitute as an act of fraternizing with party-litigants. It must be emphasized that in-chambers sessions without the presence of the other party and his counsel must be avoided. The prohibition is to maintain impartiality. Being a judicial front-liner who has a direct contact with the litigating parties, the respondent judge should conduct himself beyond reproach.

ISSUE: Whether the respondent judge is guilty of impropriety in violation of Canon 2 of the Code of Judicial Conduct and Canon 3 of the Canons of Judicial Ethics

HELD: The Supreme Court found that Judge Aguirre committed an impropriety when he sent a letter, in his official letterhead, to Mr. Feliciano Rubin to discuss a matter pending before his own court.

In Agustin v. Mercado, it was declared that employees of the court have no business meeting with litigants or their representatives under any circumstance. This prohibition is more compelling when it involves a judge who, because of his position, must strictly adhere to the highest tenets of judicial conduct; a judge must be the embodiment of competence, integrity and independence. GRANTED.

Project Jurisprudence is connected with the following:

Facebook page:
Twitter page:
YouTube channel:
Another YouTube channel: