SC penalizes municipal judge for threats, intimidation to stop writ of execution

Published July 19, 2019, 4:08 PM

by Dr. Eduardo Gonzales

By Rey Panaligan 

The Supreme Court (SC) has cautioned trial court judges “to be temperate, patient and courteous both in conduct and language.”


It stressed that a judge “should not descend to the level of a sharp-tongued, ill-mannered petty tyrant by uttering harsh words, snide remarks and sarcastic comments.”

With its admonitions, the SC ordered Judge Hannibal R. Patricio of the municipal circuit trial court (MCTC) of President Roxas-Pilar towns in Capiz to pay a fine of P40,000 for interfering with the implementation of a writ of execution.

Patricio was found to have resorted to threats and intimidation to stop the enforcement of a valid writ of execution by saying that something untoward might happen if the writ was carried out.

The SC said that while Patricio did not employ actual force in its literal sense, the threats he uttered effectively prevented or stopped the carrying out of the writ.

In a summary of the resolution written by Associate Justice Mariano C. del Castillo, the SC’s public information office (PIO) said:

“Judge Patricio did not deny his presence at the premises of the subject properties and that he even admitted that he prevented the fencing of Lot Nos. 703 and 706 on the belief that the sketch plan on which the fencing would be based was erroneous.

“The judge claimed that if the fencing were to push through, there would have been a possible encroachment on a property he owns with his wife.

“He even assisted his wife by preparing a motion to intervene in the civil case and affixing his signature thereon.

“Although the SC agreed with Judge Patricio that the same does not constitute private practice of law, it noted that the title ‘Judge’ is appended to Judge Patricio’s name appearing on the motion to intervene.

“The SC said that ‘even if he did not intend to take undue advantage of his title, it nevertheless gave the appearance of impropriety considering the circumstances of the case.’

”Further, the SC held that the same may be construed as an attempt ‘to influence or put pressure on a fellow judge by emphasizing that he himself is a judge and is thus in the right.’”

The SC ruled that Judge Patricio violated Canon 2, Sections 1 and 2, and Canon 4, Sections 1 and 2, of the New Code of Judicial Conduct for the Philippine Judiciary which states that integrity and propriety and the appearance of propriety are essential in the discharge of the judicial office.

In an earlier administrative case, Judge Patricio had been fined P21,000 for gross ignorance of the law, manifest bias and partiality.

The SC warned that a repetition of the same or similar act would be dealt with more severely.