Ponente: DAVIDE, JR., J.
The petitioner, an Assistant Provincial Prosecutor of Rizal, was deputized at the Office of the City Prosecutor of Makati City and assigned at the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 58, Makati City. The respondent is the presiding judge of the said branch. Petitioner arrived ten minutes late in one of the hearing, just when the second case in the calendar was on its first call. The respondent Judge forthwith ordered the petitioner to explain within seventy-two hours her failure to come to court on time. Petitioner answered with alleged falsity. Both the petitioner and the respondent Judge have resorted to personal attacks against each other in this case. Verbal clash with the branch clerk followed because of refusals to let petitioner enter the undersigned’s chambers. Petitioner was later cited in contempt of Court. Aggrieved by the aforementioned orders, the petitioner instituted with the Court of Appeals a special civil action for certiorari. The Court of Appeals limited the issues to whether the petitioner was tardy and whether she committed falsehood in her explanation. The CA ruled in favor of the respondent.
Whether or not the charges of the respondent judge will hold against the petitioner.
NO. Petition was granted, but petitioner must be re-assigned somewhere else.
The respondent Judge disregarded the requirements of due process in contempt proceedings and, therefore, acted without or in excess of jurisdiction or with grave abuse of discretion.
[P]ronouncements, however, should not be understood as absolving the petitioner from any liability for her tardiness or from her solemn duty as an officer of the court. As a lawyer, she is bound by her oath to conduct herself as a lawyer according to the best of her knowledge and discretion with all good fidelity as well to the courts as to her client. She should never forget that punctuality is not only a practice mandated by the Code of Professional Responsibility
Rule 11.02 A lawyer shall punctually appear at court hearings.
and Canons of Professional Ethics it is a virtue which must be faithfully maintained as part of her contribution in the task of ensuring a speedy, efficient, and effective administration of justice. If the petitioner then had committed a breach of her duty to the court she should accordingly be dealt with but in accordance with established procedure. The right to do so is hereby reserved to the respondent Judge.