Marohombsar v. Judge Adiong A.M. RTJ-02-1674, January 22, 2004

Fact: Complainant Marohombsar was the defendant in Civil Case for “injunction with prayer for preliminary injunction.” The case was filed by Yasmira Pangadapun, daughter of Judge Yusoph Pangadapun of RTC Branch 10, Marawi City. In the said complaint, Pangadapun questioned the legality of Marohombsar’s appointment by DSWD Regional Secretary Salic-Malna as provincial social welfare officer V of the DSWD-ARMM.  Upon the filing of the said complaint, respondent judge issued a TRO and set the hearing on the application for the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction. Summons, together with a copy of the complaint and a notice indicating that a preliminary conference would be held was also served on both parties. Marohombsar filed an ex parte urgent motion to dissolve the TRO. Pangadapun was asked to comment and, pending the filing of the same, the TRO was extended. Respondent issued an order stating that a preliminary conference had been held and that both parties had waived the raffle of the case. He reset the hearing on the application for the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction. Respondent extended the TRO to let Pangadapun submit her comment. During the hearing on the application for the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction, none of the lawyers appeared. Hence, respondent considered it submitted for resolution and issued the preliminary injunction the following day. In his partial Comment respondent denied that: (1) he issued the TRO in favor of Pangadapun without benefit of a hearing; (2) in his order dated March 22, 1999, he made it appear that a preliminary conference was held where the parties agreed to waive the raffle of the case, when in fact there was none; (3) he falsified the records of the case and (4) he granted the preliminary injunction without a hearing. He alleged that the complaint was purely a harassment case filed by a disgruntled party because of the latter’s failure to obtain a favorable resolution from him. Although respondent judge admitted that Judge Yusoph Pangadapun and Judge Abdulhakim Ibrahim were his distant relatives and townmates, he stressed that “never in our careers in the judiciary have we interfered nor influenced one another on any pending case before our courts.”adrianantazo.wordpress.com

Issue: Whether the complainant was denied due process because the preliminary injunction was issued without hearing.adrianantazo.wordpress.com

Held: No, In applications for preliminary injunction, the dual requirement of prior notice and hearing before injunction may issue has been relaxed to the point that not all petitions for preliminary injunction need undergo a trial-type hearing, it being doctrinal that a formal or trial-type hearing is not, at all times and in all instances, essential to due process. The essence of due process is that a party is afforded a reasonable opportunity to be heard and to present any evidence he may have in support of his defense. In the present case, complainant was able to move for a reconsideration of the order in question; hence her right to due process was not in anyway transgressed. The court ruled that a party cannot claim that he has been denied due process when he has availed of the opportunity to present his position. Even assuming for the sake of argument that respondent judge erred in ordering the issuance of the writ of preliminary injunction, in Equatorial Realty vs. Anunciacion, Jr.  that, as a matter of public policy, the acts of a judge in his official capacity are not subject to disciplinary action even though such acts are erroneous, provided he acts in good faith and without malice. Respondent judge, or any other member of the bench for that matter, is presumed to have acted regularly and in the manner that preserves the ideal of the cold neutrality of an impartial judge implicit in the guarantee of due process.adrianantazo.wordpress.com

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