Jan 19, 2021 @ 8:16

Judge versus judge: SC junks cases they filed against each other

The Supreme Court (SC) has dismissed the complaints filed by Executive Judge Jacinto Gonzales and Judge Tomas Eduardo Maddela III of the Olongapo City Municipal Trial Court in Cities (MTCC) against each other, due to the death of the former and the lack of merit in the case against the latter.

In a recent 7-page minute resolution, the SC 1st Division also ordered the Office of the Court Administrator (OCA) to proceed with the release of the benefits of Judge Gonzales, unless there were other causes to keep withholding them.

Judge Maddela in November 2012 filed a malfeasance complaint accusing Judge Gonzales of failing to constitute a Raffle Committee, unilaterally assigning three criminal cases to him, and misleadingly stating that the former did not attend a later scheduled raffle, even though he was actually absent that day.

In his January 2013 comment, Judge Gonzales denied the allegations and accused Judge Maddela of gross ignorance of the law by dismissing the three criminal cases on the basis of a mere affidavit of desistance by the private complainant who was not presented at the witness stand.

In his February 2013 reply, Judge Maddela further accused Judge Gonzales of rigging the raffling of the three cases, previously assigned them to his own sala, and ordered the arrest of the accused even though the court had not yet acquired jurisdiction at the time.

Judge Gonzales also allegedly ordered the stamping of the date “October 4, 2012” on the information to make it appear that it was regularly raffled.

The SC said Judge Gonzales’s death on March 15, 2019 “extinguishes altogether the liability and penalty that may be imposed on him.”

It said his personal liability “should no longer be imposed on the benefits due to his heirs,” especially as his widow Emma Octavia brought attention to their financial losses and depleted savings due to his lingering illness and eventual death.

Meanwhile, the allegations against Judge Maddela should be dismissed for “insufficiency of evidence,” according to the minute resolution signed by Division Clerk of Court Librada Buena.

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