Of judges and stupid decisions | Inquirer News
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Of judges and stupid decisions

/ 10:24 PM October 09, 2013

The Supreme Court has reacted to an item in this space in Sept. 28 entitled, “Godino vs Godino,” where I wrote about Parañaque Regional Trial Court Judge Noemi I. Balitaan.

“While we in the Office of the Court Administrator cannot interfere with the judicial discretion of our judges, we are nevertheless closely monitoring the carnapping case you mentioned for possible appropriate sanctions,” said Court Administrator Jose Midas Marquez in a letter to this writer.

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Judge Balitaan accepted a car theft (carnapping in local lingo) case despite knowing that the accuser, millionaire businessman William Godino, and the accused, psychiatrist Elizabeth de Guia-Godino, are husband and wife.

Dr. Godino is out on a P120,000 bail set by Balitaan.

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How could a wife steal a car—two cars, in fact—of which she is part owner, from her husband?

Hasn’t Judge Balitaan heard about the concept of conjugal property?

The Supreme Court should dismiss Balitaan, even disbar her, for not knowing basic facts.

* * *

Another judge who should be dismissed or disbarred is the one in Tagum City, Davao del Norte, who dismissed a murder case based on an alibi put up by the accused.

The judge, another woman, ignored the testimony of two minors who positively identified the accused as the gunman.

An alibi is a defense that the accused was in another place when a crime imputed on him took place.

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The respondent’s alibi was a weak defense in the face of positive identification by the two minors.

Any law student would have known that. How come the good judge didn’t?

* * *

Hundreds of trial judges throughout the country are gathered at the Century Park hotel in Manila for a convention.

Why don’t they take up the issues of corruption and ignorance of the law among judges since     some of their colleagues are either corrupt or ignorant?

* * *

Another issue the judges should tackle in the gathering is whether magistrates should interfere in the managerial functions of officials in the executive branch.

A case in point is the issuance of a temporary restraining order (TRO) by a Manila court on the Department of Finance (DOF).

The TRO mandates the DOF to hold in abeyance the reassignment of 27 customs collectors in a top-to-bottom revamp at the graft-ridden Bureau of Customs.

The customs collectors claim they cannot be transferred anywhere outside the bureau.

They have been moved to a newly-created office at the DOF, the mother department of the customs bureau.

The real reason for the collectors’ complaint is that—for most of them, anyway—they will no longer be able to be bribed or engage in anomalous transactions.

If the Office of the Ombudsman will just conduct an honest-to-goodness investigation of the financial status of the collectors, they will find out that most of them are multimillionaires.

One of them allegedly owns a P300-million mansion in Taguig City and goes to the office in different luxury cars.

* * *

Is it true that lawyer Hermie Aban, who was appointed by Puerto Princesa City Mayor Cecilio Bayron to head the city’s antidrug task force, is defending persons accused in drug-related cases.

If that’s not conflict of interest, I don’t know what is.

Does Mayor Bayron know about this?

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TAGS: “Godino vs Godino, ” Parañaque Regional Trial Court Judge, Department of Finance, DoF, Jose Midas Marquez, Manila court, Noemi I. Balitaan, Puerto Princesa City Mayor Cecilio Bayron, Supreme Court, Tagum City, temporary restraining order, TRO
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