SC dismisses judge who stopped probe on Delfin Lee ‘housing scam’
MANILA — The Supreme Court on Tuesday ordered the dismissal of a trial court judge in Pasig City for issuing orders that stopped government investigation into the multi-billion-peso housing scam involving Globe Asiatique president Delfin Lee.
SC spokesman Theodore Te, in a briefing on Tuesday, said the high court en banc unanimously ordered the dismissal of Pasig City Regional Trial Court Presiding judge Rolando Mislang and ordered forfeiture of his retirement benefits.
Mislang issued several orders in 2011 that prevented the Department of Justice and the Home Development and Mutual Fund (HDMF) from investigating Lee’s cases of syndicated estafa that constituted economic sabotage.
Lee and several others were involved in fraudulent multibillion peso housing loans obtained by fake borrowers.
The dismissal of Judge Mislang stemmed from the complaint of the DOJ and HDMF accusing him of acting in patent disregard of the rules on injunctive relief, prejudicial question, exhibited gross ignorance of the law and /or procedure and manifested partiality and gross misconduct for issuing orders preventing the investigation of cases against Lee.
The high court ruled that “to have a successful implementation of the Court’s relentless drive to purge the judiciary of morality unfit members, officials and personnel, a rigid set of rules of conduct must necessarily be imposed on judges.”
“The standard of integrity applied to them is — and should be — higher than that of the average person for it is their integrity that gives them the right to judge,” the Supreme Court said.
The high tribunal, en banc, based the decision on the findings and recommendations of the Office of Court Administrator that investigated charges on Mislang.
In its report, OCA said Mislang issued a writ of preliminary injunction and status quo orders that both failed to satisfy legal requisite for their issuance, in gross violation of established laws and procedures pertaining to the duties of every judge.
The OCA also held Mislang responsible for failing to apply the principles and rules on prematurity of the petition, inapplicability of the prejudicial question and lack of jurisdiction in issuing the orders.
“His (judge Mislang’s) persistent disregard of well known elementary rules in favour of Lee clearly reflects his bad faith and partiality,” said the OCA report.
The Court earlier found Mislang guilty of gross ignorance of the law and ordered him to pay P20,000. He was also ordered suspended for six months by the Supreme Court for similar offense with stern warning against committing the same offense. SFM
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