SC Adopts JIB Recommendation, Suspends Judge for Uttering Homophobic Slurs in Court

A trial court judge who made inappropriate remarks involving the sexual orientation of litigants in his court has been suspended by the Supreme Court for work-related sexual harassment.

In an 18-page Decision penned by Justice Alfredo Benjamin S. Caguioa, the High Court adopted the findings and recommendation of the Judicial Integrity Board and likewise found respondent Presiding Judge of the Manila Metropolitan Trial Court, Branch 26, administratively liable for conduct unbecoming of a judge for his homophobic remarks, and for simple misconduct, after he imposed his religious beliefs in the conduct of his judicial functions.

The Court also found that respondent judge, who admitted to having settled 101 cases using the Bible, allowed his religious beliefs to interfere with his judicial functions with the Judge’s attempts to make a connection between the litigants’ supposed sexual orientation and the ejectment case they were involved in and his inclination to use Biblical passages and teachings to the case. As this gave the litigants the impression that the respondent was acting with partiality, the Court held that respondent judge failed to fulfill his duty to not only act with impartiality but to appear impartial at all times.

Respondent, who had previously been fined and warned for improper remarks made at a preliminary conference, was suspended for 30 days for committing the less grave offense of sexual harassment. He was also fined in the amount of P50,000.00 for simple misconduct and conduct unbecoming of a judge. (Reprinted from Supreme Court Gazette)


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