SC sacks judge for refusing to inhibit in a case involving her husband

The Supreme Court has dismissed a trial court judge for refusing to inhibit from a case involving her husband.

In a 16-page per curiam decision, the SC also forfeited the retirement benefits, except accrued leave credits of Judge Analie C. Aldea-Arocena of Municipal Trial Court in the Cities (MTCC), San Jose City, Nueva Ecjia.

Furthermore, the high court also ordered her perpetual disqualification from public service for violations of Sections 5(g), Canon 3, and Sections 1 and 4, Canon 4 of the 2004 Rules of Judicial Conduct and for gross ignorance of the law.

The SC fined her a total of P30,000 for the less serious charges of violations of Section 1, Rule 137 of the Rules of Court, as amended, and of violation of reasonable office rules and regulations.

The case stemmed from an anonymous complaint against Arocena filed before the office of Deputy Court Administrator Jenny Lind R. Aldecoa-Delorino on July 3, 2014.

The complaint alleged that Arocena heard and decided on cases involving her husband Ferdinand, who is a member of the board of directors of a cooperative which has a case pending before her court.

“In order to avoid a negative public perception, the right thing to do for a judge is to recuse from the case. However, Judge Arocena failed to do so in disregard of the canons on impartiality and propriety of the 2004 New Code on Judiciary Conduct,” the SC ruled.

It added: “Coupled with her failure to recuse from the Self-Reliant Cooperative cases, the Court is led to the conclusion that Judge Arocena approved the unconscionable compromise agreements to favor the cooperative, of which her husband is a member of the board of directors. There is no other way to describe her conduct as gross ignorance of the law and abuse of authority.”

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