SC revises Rule 140, creates 2 complaint offices

The Supreme Court has created 2 new permanent offices and has revised the guidelines to initiate complaints against judges, justices and judicial personnel, said its Public Information Office on Tuesday.

In a resolution in banc on October 2, 2018, the superior court created the Judicial Integrity Board (JIB) and the Corruption Prevention and Investigation Office (CPIO).

According to the statement, the JIB will act on complaints against judges, judges and court personnel who make mistakes. It will be headed by a president and a vice president who must be retired judges of the Supreme Court, while the 3 regular members must be retired judges of the Court of Appeals (CA), Sandiganbayan or the Court of Appeals of Taxes (CTA). They will serve for a term of 3 years without reelection.

The CPIO is authorized to conduct investigations, intelligence operations, surveillance or cheating or lifestyle controls against judges of CA, Sandiganbayan and CTA, as well as judges and staff of lower courts, including Sharia courts, and officials and employees. from the Office of the Jurisconsultant, Administrator of the Court, Deputy Administrator of the Court, Assistant Administrator of the Court and its staff.

The interim president, Antonio Carpio, in his speech during the awards ceremony for judicial excellence at the Hotel Manila last week, explained the creation of the two permanent offices.

The investigation of complaints against all judges of first instance and judges of appeal that are not impeachable will now be handled by permanent bodies instead of investigators or ad hoc committees.

This institutionalizes the system of investigation and discipline of judges and judges in all lower courts and ensures that all judges and judges of lower courts are well supervised. The creation of these two permanent bodies closes a huge gap in effective supervision of the lower courts.
With the creation of the JIB, the SC revised the guidelines for the discipline of judges, judges and court personnel pursuant to Rule 140 of the Rules of Court.

Any complaint, whether verified and supported by affidavits, or anonymous and supported by public records, will now be filed with the JIB. The same rule applies to cases initiated by the SC or on its own account.

According to the previous rule, the SC had to refer the matter to the Office of the Administrator of the Court or assign a judge or judge of a higher rank than the subject of the case. For example, for a judge removed from the SC if the defendant is a judge of the CA and the SB, and for a judge of the CA if the defendant is a judge of a regional court of first instance or a special court of equivalent rank.

But under the new rule, even the court administrator and his deputy can now be investigated by the JIB.

Based on the new standard, the office can immediately resolve the disciplinary action within 60 days if it can do so based on the allegations, documents or court records presented.

But if substantial factual issues are raised, the JIB will recommend to the SC that the case be recorded as a regular administrative matter. The SC can direct the JIB to conduct a formal investigation and present its report and recommendation within 60 days after the completion of the investigation, or as modified by the SC.

In contrast, the previous rule gives the investigating judge or judge 90 days to conduct an investigation and hold a hearing, and 30 days to present his findings and recommendations.

In addition, the new rule punishes complaints intended to harass or embarrass a respondent.

If a disciplinary action is filed with the JIB six months before the mandatory retirement of the person for an alleged cause of action that occurred at least one year before said presentation and is shown prima facie, which is intended to harass and embarrass to the defendant, JIB will recommend to the SC the dismissal of said complaint and that the plaintiff be cited by the SC for indirect contempt.

If the plaintiff is a lawyer, the same may be required to show why he should not be administratively sanctioned as a member of the Philippine Bar Association and as an official of the Court.

Read more: Mike Navallo, ABS-CBN News (2018). SC creates 2 new offices, revises guidelines for filing complaints vs judges, justices. Mike Navallo, ABS-CBN News. Posted at Nov 13 2018 02:53 PM | Updated as of Nov 13 2018 03:16 PM.