Olongapo SubicBay BatangGapo Newscenter

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

2nd Olongapo Judge Ousted for cause this year

Judge Ramon Caguioa ousted for ignorance of the law

The Supreme Court has dismissed Presiding Judge Ramon Caguioa of the Olongapo City Regional Trial Court Branch 74, for gross ignorance of the law and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service.

The court also ordered the forfeiture of Caguioa’s retirement benefits, except accrued leave credits. Caguioa was faulted for his erroneous issuances of writ of preliminary injunctions in cases pending before his sala.

The first administrative case stemmed from the civil case Indigo Distribution Corp. filed against the secretary of Finance before Caguioa’s court. Indigo, importer and trader licensed to operate inside the Subic Bay Freeport Zone, has been granted by Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority certificates of registration and tax exemptions.

Indigo filed the case after it was required by SBMA to pay corresponding duties and taxes on their importation of cigars, cigarettes, liquors and wines.

Caguioa granted Indigo’s petition for the issuance of writ of preliminary injunction and approved the injunction bond amounting to P1 million for all petitioners. During the pendency of the government’s appeal before the high court, Caguioa granted various ex-parte motions for interventions of different corporations claiming to be similarly situated with Indigo and allowed them to ride on the injunctive bond posted by Indigo. The high court subsequently declared the assailed Caguioa’s order null and void.

Caguioa had also failed to observe due process when the Office of the Solicitor General, representing the government, was not served copies of the motions for intervention.

In a similar case, Caguioa erroneously issued a temporary restraining order and writ of preliminary injunction in the petition for mandamus filed by district collector of Customs in the Port of Subic Andres D. Salvacion Jr. against his then would-be replacement Gracia Z. Caringal, et al. Subsequently, he enjoined the CIR and the Finance secretary to observe and respect his issuances.

The CA ruled that Caguioa should have dismissed the case for improper venue. The CA said that the petition for mandamus, which relates to the acts of officers, must be filed in the RTC exercising jurisdiction over the territorial area covering said officers, which in this case was Manila because the main office of the commission was in Manila.

Caguioa was also found guilty of simple misconduct and ordered suspended from office without pay for three months in a third administrative case which stemmed from another civil case. But the case against his co-respondent Sheriff Christopher T. Perez was dismissed for lack of merit. The court said Perez cannot be faulted for implementing a writ of execution pursuant to Caguioa’s order.

The high court held that Caguioa did not adjudicate any rights of the parties and resolved no other matter except the dismissal of the case on the ground of prescription. Thus, his order to place private respondents in possession of the disputed property is not necessarily included in or necessary to the judgment of the dismissal of the case on the ground of “prescription.”

The high court said the execution was highly improper because of the fact that Caguioa has been apprised of the pendency of the reversion suits filed by the Republic involving the same parcels of land in another Olongapo RTC. Source: Manila Times

It can be remembered that in March this year, SC found another Olongapo Judge, Renato Dilag liable for (1) gross misconduct constituting violations of the Code of Judicial Conduct for signing conflicting decisions in three cases of declaration of nullity of marriage and dissolution of conjugal properties; (2) gross ignorance of the law and procedure in handling two declarations of nullity cases; and (3) gross negligence and inefficiency for failing to administer proper supervision over his staff causing his dismissal.

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