Anda di halaman 1dari 2

A.M. No. RTJ-92-876 September 19, 1994 STATE PROSECUTORS, complainants, vs. JUDGE MANUEL T.

MURO, Regional Trial Court, Branch 54, Manila, respondent.

Facts: The state prosecutors who are members of the DOJ Panel of Prosecution filed a complaint against respondent Judge Muro on the ground of ignorance of the law, grave misconduct and violation of the provisions in the Code of Judicial Conduct. The case at bar involves the prosecution of the 11 charges against Imelda Marcos in violation of the Central Bank Foreign Exchange Restriction in the Central Bank Circular 960 filed by the members of the DOJ Panel of Prosecutors. The respondent judge dismissed all 11 cases solely on the basis of the report published from the 2 newspapers, which the judge believes to be reputable and of national circulation, that the Pres. of the Philippines lifted all foreign exchange restrictions. The respondents decision was founded on his belief that the reported announcement of the Executive Department in the newspaper in effect repealed the CB 960 and thereby divested the court of its jurisdiction to further hear the pending case thus motu propio dismissed the case. He further contends that the announcement of the President as published in the newspaper has made such fact a public knowledge that is sufficient for the judge to take judicial notice which is discretionary on his part. The complainants contend that the respondent judge erred in taking judicial notice on matters he purported to be a public knowledge based merely on the account of the newspaper publication that the Pres. has lifted the foreign exchange restriction. It was also an act of inexcusable ignorant of the law not to accord due process to the prosecutors who were already at the stage of presenting evidence thereby depriving the government the right to be heard. The judge also exercised grave abuse of discretion by taking judicial notice on the published statement of the Pres. In the newspaper which is a matter that has not yet been officially in force and effect of the law. Issue: Whether or not the respondent judge committed grave abuse of discretion in taking judicial notice on the statement of the president lifting the foreign exchange restriction published in the newspaper as basis for dismissing the case?

Ruling: The Supreme Court held the respondent judge guilty for gross ignorance of the law. It cannot comprehend his assertion that there is no need to wait for the publication of the circular no. 1353 which is the basis of the Presidents announcement in the newspaper, believing that the public announcement is absolute and without qualification and is immediately effective and such matter becomes a public knowledge which he can take a judicial notice upon in his discretion. It is a mandatory requirement that a new law should be published for 15 days in a newspaper of

general circulation before its effectivity. When the Presidents statement was published in the newspaper, the respondent admitted of not having seen the official text of CB circular 1353 thus it was premature for him to take judicial notice on this matter which is merely based on his personal knowledge and is not based on the public knowledge that the law requires for the court to take judicial notice of. The doctrine of judicial notice rests on the wisdom and discretion of the courts. The power to take judicial notice is to be exercised by courts with caution; care must be taken that the requisite notoriety exists; and every reasonable doubt on the subject should be promptly resolved in the negative. For the court to take judicial notice, three material requisites should be present: (1) the matter must be one of common and general knowledge; (2) it must be well and authoritatively settled and not doubtful or uncertain; (3) it must be known to be within the limits of the jurisdiction of the court. The fact that should be assumed as judicially known must be on such notoriety that such fact cannot be disputed. Judicial notice is not judicial knowledge where the personal knowledge of the judge does not amount to the judicial notice of the court. The common knowledge contemplated by the law where the court can take judicial notice must come from the knowledge of men generally in the course of ordinary experiences that are accepted as true and one that involves unquestioned demonstration. The court ruled that the information he obtained from the newspaper is one of hearsay evidence. The judge erred in taking cognizant of a law that was not yet in force and ordered the dismissal of the case without giving the prosecution the right to be heard and of due process. The reason is simple, a law which is not yet in force and hence, still inexistent, cannot be of common knowledge capable of ready and unquestionable demonstration, which is one of the requirements before a court can take judicial notice of a fact. The court ordered for the dismissal of the judge from service for gross ignorance of the law and grave abuse of discretion for dismissing the case motu proprio and for erring in exercising his discretion to take judicial notice on matters that are hearsay and groundless with a reminder the power to take judicial notice is to be exercised by the courts with caution at all times.