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ALUMBRES v CAOIBES

Petitioners: Judge Florentino Alumbres


Respondents: Judge Jose Caoibes
Ponente: Melo, J.
January 23, 2002
DOCTRINE
Canon of Judicial Ethics: A judges official
conduct should be free from the appearance of
impropriety and his personal behavior, not only on
the bench and in the performance of judicial duties,
but also in his everyday life, should be beyond
reproach. Being the visible representation of the law
and the embodiment of the peoples sense of justice,
he must be studiously careful himself to avoid even
the slightest infraction of the law, lest it be
demoralizing example of others.
FACTS
Judge Caoibes was appointed presiding judge of
Branch 253, a newly created branch of RTC Pasay
City. He had the privilege of recommending to the
Supreme Court the appointment of his own choice.
Judge Alumbres, who was then the executive judge
of the court, took this as an opportunity to secure
employment for his son. Alumbres lent an
executive table to Caoibes for his temporary use.
The judges had lunch together and both agreed to
the appointment of Alumbres son as process server
of Branch 253. Later on, Caoibes withdrew his
earlier recommendation of Alumbres son and
instead, recommended someone else.
Alumbres sent his deputy sheriff to take back his
table from Caiobes but he refused to return the table
until his office furniture was delivered by the SC.
Alumbres then went to Caoibes chambers to take
back his table. Caoibes greeted Alumbres Hoy,
ano ba ang atin? The latter replied in an angry
tone Joey, kukunin ko na ang table ko. Akin
naman iyun, eh. In response, Caoibes put his left
arm around Alumbres shoulder, extended his right
hand to shake that latters right hand, saying
Huwag naman. Halika, pagusapan natin dine.
Despite the cordial gesture, Alumbres held Caoibes
right wrist and forcefully jerked it.
Incensed at the fierce reaction of Alumbres, Caoibes
shouted Tarantado ito, ah and swung his left
arm towards Alumbres, hitting him on the right

temple. Caoibes also delivered a right hook,


grazing Alumbres lower jaw. One of the deputy
sheriffs place placed himself between the two.
Alumbres swung at Caoibes while the latter was
being led away but the blow missed.
ISSUES/HELD
(1) WON Judge Caoibes deliberately inflicted fistic
blows to complainant Judge Alumbres - YES
RATIO
(1) Judge Caoibes threw two punches at Judge
Alumbres, the first hitting his right temple and the
second, the left side of his jaw.
Contrary to the claim of Alumbres, the punches of
Caoibes were not severe as the injuries sustained by
Alumbres were mere superficial, the size of a
pinhead similar to a mosquito bite. BUT this does
not detract from the gravity of the offense
committed. Canon 2 of the Code of Judicial
Conduct states that A judge should avoid
impropriety and the appearance of impropriety
in all activities.
Rule 2.01 provides that A judge should behave at
all times as to promote public confidence in the
integrity and impartiality of the judiciary.
Courts are looked upon by the people with high
respect and are regarded sacred places. Misbehavior
within and around their vicinity diminishes their
sanctity and dignity. By fighting within the court
premises, the parties have failed, not only to
observe proper decorum expected of member of
the judiciary, they have failed to promote public
confidence in the integrity and impartiality of
the judiciary. More contemptible, the altercation
arose out of a squabble involving a mere table.
DECISION
Judge Caoibes is guilty of violating the Code of
Judicial Conduct, with the fine of P20,000.00 with a
warning that a repetition in the future will be dealt
with more severely.
C