20 March 2007

High Court sacks CA justice in Naga case

I SAW it on TV this evening, but did not get the name of the Court of Appeals justice dismissed by the Supreme Court. But this story from the GMA Network website identified him as Associate Justice John Elvi Asuncion.

The name immediately rang a bell, so I checked my previous posts on the ejection case against the Naga city government that started with this. True enough, the CA decision that Regional Trial Court Judge Filemon Montenegro used as basis for his controversial order ejecting the city government from the City Hall compound came from Asuncion's division.

What triggered Asuncion's downfall? The SC decision here contains the following unsigned complaint:

February 17, 2006

Hon. Artemio V. Panganiban
Chief Justice, Supreme Court
Padre Faura, Manila


Please direct an immediate judicial audit on Court of Appeals Justice Elvi Asuncion.

This magistrate has been sitting on motions for reconsideration for six months to more than a year unless the parties come across.

This CA Justice is an unmitigated disgrace to the judiciary. How he ever reached his lofty position is truly disconcerting. He is a thoroughly CORRUPT person who has no shame using his office to extort money from litigants. He is equally, if not more, deprave than Demetrio Demetria who was dismissed by the Supreme Court. Asuncion deserves not only dismissal but DISBARMENT as well. Because the law profession should also be purged of CROOKS like him.

I hope you can terminate his service in the judiciary ASAP to save the institution. Thank you.

Very truly yours,

The Heirs of Jose and Helen Mariano vs. City of Naga did not figure in that SC decision. But I am quite sure it is one of the cases Asuncion deliberately failed to resolve on time that, together with gross ignorance of the law, prompted his dismissal.


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friend of a concerned court employee said...

It is an anonymous complaint which could have been more pursuasive if it did, at least, contain one case number to prove such delay. It is surprising that the Supreme Court dismissed Asuncion when other justices are doing far worse than what he down. "Na-sampolan lang yan si Asuncion" as a friend put it. He might have earned the ire of one justice. A justice in the high court whom they whisper about "she tells bad things about...". Because she is there already, and only impeachment can get that person of her position, she acts like a demi-god. Or aren't THEY all??

friend of a concerned court employee said...

And one more thing, Asuncion was dismissed for his ALLEGED ignorance of the law, and NOT because he delayed cases. A no-no for a justice or a judge. He was just suspended for the alleged delay.

On his ignorance of the law, it is unthinkable that this happened in the appellate court. It is of common knowledge that the appeals court decides by divisions of three justices per case. Meaning, the alleged case he is ignorant of was in the concurrence of 2 other justices. Meaning, Asuncion could not have been the only one ignorant. Who are the other two? Retired Justice Oswaldo Agcaoili and the other SC Justice CAncio Garcia. Both, not liable because according to the SC they are of GOOD FAITH. Good faith is immaterial when the Constitution is the one stating that it is the duty of justices to decide among themselves and talk about the case in deliberation before they come up with decisions. Concurrence and affixing your decision in such decision means you stand by it and you find it bereft of incorrectness. The maximum penalty given him is unjust and arbitrary it denies him his right to due process.

Anonymous said...

What is new in our govt system?Delayed cases? It would have appeared half of the magistrates and judges would have been relieved of their post yesterday. But why single out one person? something is fishy here.

Political Motivation-very common in our goverment system- I am not surprised!How about, someone interested with the position, oh how about simply Vendeta for somehting he cant deliver?
Ignorance of the law? - 3 justices decides in one case at the apellate court, hows that!?- ok let us spare the two. An Estrada appointee - ok that is understandable. Suspension vs dismissal but they choose to dismiss, worse take all his benefits? Isnt that too much? It should make us think!Well I can go on and on.

If the supreme court is really trying to clean up their linen and be more believable then they should be smarter than this.

Oh well nothing is new.

Willy B. Prilles, Jr. said...

Hi Anonymous/Friend:

While I understand your concern, I agree with this Inquirere editorial more http://opinion.inquirer.net/inquireropinion/editorial/view_article.php?article_id=56472.

Plus, if Justice Asuncion also has the goods on the other "corrupt" justices, why doesn't he make them public and contribute to the cleansing of the High Court?

Anonymous said...

In response to Mr Prilles, yes I agree with you. I am for good government and it is really about time for the supreme court to clean up the court- that is why I said in my first blog "what is new in our government".

Well if Asuncion is guilty of this misconduct, then surely he deserves the punishment but what I am trying to say is 50% or more of judges and magistrates could be guilty of the same -and let us be realistic even the man in the street,uneducated very well know this and I am sure you do as well, therefore it is the responsibility of the Supreme court to check them as well and not single out one person.

By the way I have a question for you. How then would you explain why the 2 other justices were not found liable on this said case when obviously they affixed their signature as well concurring to the said decision? If you have a better explanation for this I would really appreciate one.

As to your last statement, I agree with you why not make it public?But if you are a magistrate and you decide on 1000cases you could be gaining 1000 friends and 1000 displeased enemies, therefore that one person could be among the 1000 person, how easy it is to pinpoint, and if you pinpoint one person there could be 10 or more persons behind him - could you fight a system? But you are right I hope everyone has the guts to do like you suggested.

Thank you for your thoughts.

Anonymous said...

PS. I was just reading another blog written earlier he mentioned about the other justice (among the other 2justices) to be Justice Cancio Garcia and I found out that he is an incumbent justice of the Supreme Court - oh, maybe this answers my question, why they didnt make him accountable and oh! I also found out he was appointed by Pres. Arroyo!

I think "friend of a concerned court employee" has the same concern like me, why then they didnt find the other 2 justices accountable with regards to the decision of this case.

Help me Mr Prilles. thank you.

a friend of a concerned court employee said...

Maybe Asuncion is already sick of politics and would just rather shut up and not divulge people who do hanky-panky in the courts. OR maybe he wants CJ Puno to do the work. =) Seriously, the SC knows of the all the "kalokohans" of the Justices. Its just a matter of politics in deciding whom they want booted out.

Asuncion is a very private person from what we can see. He did not seek the protection the media could have given him nor did he air his grievances in any newspaper or in television. He could file an motion for reconsideration and point out the flaws of the ratio decidendi the court gave.

willie, the inquirer editorial only reported what everybody else has reported. NOTHING NEW THERE really. i think you're just prejudiced because he decided against that City of Naga case. If its a big deal that he is a member of the division who gave out that resolution, think about why he got booted out and the other two justices who were with him in the TRO case that got him dismissed are A-OK??? One's a SC Justice to boot...

Willy B. Prilles, Jr. said...

Friend: I don't buy that Asuncion-is-a-private-person defense.

If I were him and felt my rights violated, and I have the goods on these justices doing what you claim to be hanky-panky, I will not clam up, but rather bring these shenanigans out in the open.

That's what anybody would have done anyway. But it's clear he doesn't have any.

Anonymous said...

Mr Prilles, I think "friend" is correct. If you are for "justice" why cant you answer the question: why were the two justices spared?
For some reason he would rather keep quiet and that is his choice and I am sure everyone who got fired or were forced to resign in this govt of ours, would rather keep quiet - are you kidding!-its going against a very corrupt govt!(from top to bottom) and that includes some if not all supreme court justices!! Come on Mr Prilles, you still have to help these two bloggers, why were the two other justices spared!? besides being prejudice (about the naga case) get to the point.

friend of a concerned court employee said...

My statement about "Asuncion-is-a-private-person" was not meant as a defense. I've heard from a close friend of this justice that he said he's just sick of the court politics and that he doesn't want to dip his hands in the mud anymore. Seeing that the SC is doing the cleaning up in the judiciary, he just wants to leave it all to them. They know what's happening so there's no need for him to go out in public and join in the "fun".

If you've read the decision, not only was it flawed in a lot of ways, it was also inconsistent and it disregarded rules.

One point is: It was pointed there that when he transferred to Cebu he was ordered to surrender all the case pending in his office and when he returned to Manila it is alleged that he "requested" a certain case be returned to him. (I think it was the PNB case.) Why didn’t anyone ask about the procedures of the court? The case was returned to him not because he requested it but because of a rule in the Rules of Court that the justice who heard the case should be the one to decide on it. Funny that this facts where not discussed in the case’s ratio decidendi. Some of the investigations of Justice Pardo where even quoted verbatim. Can’t they decide for themselves?

friend of a court employee said...

to anonymous: thank you for seeing my point. ;)

Anonymous said...

hi "friend" you seem to know a lot of things that obviously i dont see -you are a very smart person!- but of course the bottom line you are right there are many questions that are still left unanswered by Prado (and the rest of the SC justices for that matter).
It is also true that Mr Prilles seem to see just one side of the matter (that is obviously prejudicial) because up to now he still has not answered few questions i have thrown at him - unless he is trying to do his research- see like justice asuncion, he would rather keep quiet than join the "fun" and yet he once said justice asuncion should talk!...
anyway i know you are not defending Justice Asuncion but like me we (we are just citizen joes) come here to seek answers and clarifications and im sure many people have the same thoughts as ours. glad to hear your thoughts.

Willy B. Prilles, Jr. said...

Friend, Anonymous: Check this out.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Mr Prilles for taking time to write your thoughts. I do respect your views and I am sure friend and myself, we have our own too -that maybe we should also give some time to think and try to consider answering the questions so we could be enlighted on this case.
Obviously if i read the decision I should say the SC did the right thing. Like i said if J Asuncion is guilty of such and so be it however having said all this (and as much as what you said in your article) - there are still questions left unanswered and I thought you would help me with the answers or maybe you tried but unfortunately I am only an ordinary joe and I just need a simple answer in the simplest form.
Again thank you for your time.

Anonymous said...

By the way I hope you dont take this too personal as I dont. Obviously you have more bias to the case and I dont have anything to do with J Asuncion. I explained earlier in my previous comment that I AM FOR GOOD GOVT and therefore if Prado would like to clean up this dept then it should not take long before he opens his eyes and try to see how much dirt he has around him and not pick on one person. I am still waiting for that to happen because he will not have any excuse of not being able to do this - and we should not be so hypocrites we know what is happening in the court! Now as to you, you can be more bias because you work for the Naga govt, the decision of which is not in your favor. I have read the decision and yes i agree with the decision as they have they stated the facts why they have come up with this decision. But again there are still questions left unanswered and things to be seen done. Since you are more versed I would thought so you could help me find some answers to my and "friend" questions and concerns.
Thank you and I remain respectful to your views.

Willy B. Prilles, Jr. said...

Points well taken, Anonymous.

pedro velasquez said...

I SAW it on TV this evening, but did not get the sportsbook name of the Court of Appeals justice dismissed by the Supreme Court. But this story from the GMA Network website identified him as Associate Justice John Elvi Asuncion. The name immediately rang a bell, so I checked my previous posts on the ejection case against the bet nfl Naga city government that started with this. True enough, the CA decision that Regional Trial Court Judge Filemon Montenegro used as basis for his controversial order ejecting the city government from the City Hall compound came from Asuncion's division.