Judge dismissed for ignoring Supreme Court’s suspension order

Daphne Galvez - The Philippine Star
Judge dismissed for ignoring Supreme Court�s suspension order
This file photo shows the Supreme Court of the Philippines in Manila.
Philstar.com / EC Toledo

MANILA, Philippines — The Supreme Court (SC) has dismissed from service a judge in Ilocos Sur for ignoring a suspension order issued against him in connection with cases involving annulment of marriage.

The high court found Judge Raphiel Alzate of the Ilocos Sur Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 24 in Cabugao town, guilty of gross misconduct and insubordination.

Alzate was first dismissed in 2020 after the SC found him guilty of railroading proceedings in marriage annulment.

In 2023, the high tribunal reversed its decision and cleared Alzate of the charges.

The SC instead suspended Alzate for five years and ordered him to pay a fine of P200,000 for resolving annulment cases without proper report or procedure.

In a manifestation and compliance submitted in February this year, Alzate informed the high tribunal that he had paid the fine and assumed as presiding judge of the Abra RTC in Bangued. 

He asked the SC to consider his payment of the fine as sufficient compliance with its order.

But the high court said Alzate “flagrantly disrespected and defied” its resolution suspending him for five years.

The SC said Alzate should have started serving his suspension after he received the SC resolution on Jan. 31 this year.

It said Alzate reported to the Bangued RTC without prior notice or clearance from the SC.

The high tribunal said Alzate intended to mislead the magistrates when he did not mention his five-year suspension in his manifestation and compliance.

“We cannot allow Alzate to resume donning the judicial robe as his grave, tainted actions and omissions depict his unworthiness,” the SC said.

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