Tuesday 14 August, 2018
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Ginawang hanap-buhay: Cavite judges fined for fixing annulment cases

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The Supreme Court (SC) has found 4 former Cavite judges guilty of fixing annulment cases but merely imposed fines on them since they are no longer active members of the judiciary.

In a recent 68-page en banc decision, the SC imposed P80,000 fines each on Imus City Regional Trial Court (RTC) Judges Fernando Felicen and Cesar Mangrobang, as well as Dasmariñas City RTC Judge Perla Cabrera Faller for gross ignorance of the law and gross misconduct.

Imus RTC Judge Norberto Quisumbing was fined P21,000 for gross ignorance of the law and simple misconduct.

Felicen and Quisumbing had already retired and Mangrobang had passed away. Meanwhile, Cabrera Faller was dismissed in February 2017 for misconduct in the dismissal of the charges against fraternity men in the 2012 Marc Andrei Marcos hazing case.

The SC found a “conspiracy existed and thereby turned the courts in Cavite into havens for paid-for annulments,” even acting as “friendly” courts that accommodated the petitions of spouses from outside the province.

The judges were faulted to failing to detect the fictitious addresses used by the annulment petitioners, even as court personnel have failed to serve the summons on the parties involved in the cases because of the nonexistent addresses.

There was also a pattern of various petitioners being represented by the same lawyers. Different petitioners would even use the same addresses.

“Cases where parties have the same address as those in another case cannot be explained away…and the fact that these parties were represented by the same counsels shines an even more disturbing light upon the observed irregularity,” read the decision penned by Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno.

The lawyers involved in the cases were Allan Rheynier Bugayong, Leonardo Santos, Ruel Nairo, Norman Gabriel, Aimee Jean Leaban, Clarissa Castro, Bernard Paredes, Herminio Valerio, Cesar DC Geronimo, and Omar Francisco.

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