21 judges fined, suspended in six months – Lucas Bersamin
21 judges fined, suspended in six months – Lucas Bersamin
Evelyn Macairan (The Philippine Star) - September 5, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Chief Justice Lucas Bersamin disclosed yesterday that 21 judges were fined and suspended while 94 employees of lower courts were dismissed from the service or admonished for various misdeeds and offenses from January to June this year.

Bersamin said statistics from the Office of the Court Administrator showed that from January to June, these judges and lower court employees were either dismissed from the service, admonished, fined, reprimanded and/or had their benefits forfeited or suspended.

“We have also dismissed a lot of judges, suspended them preventively which is very unusual because we found that these actions that we did were essential to obtaining confidence of the public in the judiciary,” he said.

Data culled from the Office of the Bar Confidant (OBC) also showed that during the first six months of the year, a total of 83 lawyers were sanctioned either through disbarment, suspension from their practice of law, suspension from notarial practice or both notarial practice and the practice of law, fined, reprimanded or admonished, warned and censured.  

Bersamin, who was appointed by President Duterte as the 28th Chief Justice last Nov. 28, 2018, had promised to purge the courts of misfits and scalawags as part of a four-point agenda during his 11-month tenure as head of the judiciary.

“The Court recognizes that having ethical and competent members of the Bench and the Bar is essential to the Rule of Law. Hence, it must instill discipline in the ranks of the judges, court personnel and the legal profession, and purge the judiciary of the corrupt, the misfits and the scalawags,” he added.

The three other programs listed in his four-point agenda are the revision of the Rules of Court, Revised Law Student Practice Rule and attending to the infrastructure of the judiciary.

Judge’s slaying

Meanwhile, National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) agents arrested in Mati, Davao Oriental on Monday the alleged lookout in the slay of Judge Reymar Lacaya of the regional trial court (RTC) of Liloy, Zamboanga del Norte. 

NBI spokesman Ferdinand Lavin yesterday presented suspect Juliver Cabating, who allegedly acted as lookout when a lone gunman shot Lacaya while the judge was inside his vehicle within the RTC premises on May 9. 

The lone gunman fled on board a motorcycle driven by an accomplice. The two cohorts identified only as Jerry and Ramil remain at large.

Cabating was arrested in Mati, Davao Oriental after an arrest warrant for murder was issued by the Liloy RTC Branch 28.

NBI agent Medrobel Ylanan said probers are also looking at retired RTC judge Oscar Tomarong as a “person of interest” in the case. 

Cabating had served as a driver and errand boy of Tomarong. 

The lookout is supposedly on a hit list for his knowledge of the crime, the NBI said.

The slain judge’s wife also told probers that prior to the killing, Lacaya told her, “He will surely get mad at me,” referring to Tomarong.

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