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1 3.Malolos vs Reyes NAPOLEON R. MALOLOS, petitioner, vs. HON. ANDRES REYES, ET AL., respondents. G.R. No.

L-16135 February 25, 1961

Ponente: BAUTISTA ANGELO FACTS: 1. In special proceedings for the settlement of the estate of a deceased before the CFIof Rizal, his 15 heirs employed several counsel among whom was Atty. Emiliano Navarro, who represented the group of Florencia Elchico. 2.During the proceeding, Florencio Elchico terminated the services of his lawyer Navarro and filed with the court a motion to disqualify him on two grounds: advocacy of a cause diametrically opposed to that of his former client and revelation of his client's secret. The motion was granted. 3. Concurrently, Mrs. Serrano one of the heirs, filed a written statement dated June 23, 1959, disclosing, all the facts occurring between June 11 to June 18, 1959. 4. Atty. Navarro moved the court to reconsider its order of disqualification stating in his motion that from what he may gather from the statement made by Mrs. Serrano that "Honorable Presiding Judge had shown external signs of partiality which renders him unable to administer justice with an even heart and hand." 5 .However, the court denied the motion and found his statement derogatory in character, and punished him for contempt. 6. On the otherhand, Atty. Napoleon Malolos took over as counsel of the group of Mrs. Serrano, replacing Atty. Mojica. 7.When Florencio Elchico filed a motion to defer the evaluation of the estate on the ground that some of the documents are in the possession of Mrs. Serrano, Atty. Malolos filed a written opposition praying for its denial as well as for the disqualification of Judge Andres Reyes who was presiding the court on the ground that he was partial to the co-administrators of the estate. 8. Upon the insinuation of Judge Reyes, the attorney of Florencio Elchico filed a petition to hold Atty. Malolos in contempt of court, and after the latter was given an opportunity to be heard, Judge Reyes found him guilty of contempt sentencing him to suffer 10 days imprisonment and pay a fine of P100.00. 9. Atty. Malolos filed a petition for certiorari. ISSUE: WON petitioners alleged derogatory statement constituted contempt. HELD YES There is no point in the claim that the alleged derogatory statement charging respondent judge with partially in his actuation concerning the settlement of the estate is not contemptous because it finds support in the written statement submitted by Mrs. Estrella Elchico Serrano, firstly, because said statement merely contains the opinion Mrs. Serrano relative to the proceedings that has taken place before respondent judge and, secondly, because there is nothing in said statement that may serve as basis for the claim that respondent judge acted with partiality or with the purpose of helping the side advocated by opposing counsel. Perusal of the whole statement shows that the respondent judge has become impatient in acting on the case in view of the bickerings and quarrels that have ensued arising from the conflicting interest of the heirs to the extent

2 that he took a direct intervention with a view to bringing about an amicable settlement of the estate. The alleged of respondent judge in contacting Commissioner Aspillera relative to an important point of controversy is neither improper nor improvident. If true, he merely did it to expedite the settlement. There is not a scintilla of proof that he acted imbued by an improper motive. The charge, therefore, of partiality is uncalled for, and having been in a pleading submitted to the court, constitutes direct contempt. Being in the nature of direct contempt, no formal charge is necessary. The proceeding is summary in nature which, after proper hearing, can be immediately acted upon.