SC fines Cabanatuan judge in Baguio traffic feud
BAGUIO CITY — A judge in Cabanatuan City was found guilty of simple misconduct by the Supreme Court when he charged traffic enforcers here with indirect contempt after they cited him for parking violations last year.
Judge Nelson Largo of the Municipal Trial Court in Cities Branch 3 in Cabanatuan was also directed by the high court’s first division to pay P11,000 in fine. The Supreme Court acted on a complaint filed by Baguio Mayor Benjamin Magalong, after Largo subpoenaed enforcer Bernard Batnag and the police officers for giving him a ticket for illegal parking at the city market and for removing his license plates on Oct. 25 last year.
Saying he was in Baguio to attend a security seminar, Largo drove back to Cabanatuan and issued the subpoena, which asserted that “due process is a basic right and enshrined and protected in our Constitution and it applies even in the cases of confiscation of license plates.”
Largo said the delay in settling his fine and recovering his license plates from the Baguio City police also affected his scheduled court hearings. He required the policemen to travel to Cabanatuan to face their charges. The judge withdrew the subpoena shortly after he was investigated by the office of the court administrator. Magalong had written Largo to explain that the traffic law enforcers were only doing their job.
The high court said Largo’s case was a regular administrative matter, but warned him that “a repetition [of his actions against the Baguio enforcers] would be dealt with more severely.” —VINCENT CABREZA AND KIMBERLIE QUITASOL INQ
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