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TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDER; ISSUANCE OF TRO EX-PARTE; PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION; DUE PROCESS; PRESUMPTION OF COLD NEUTRALITY OF A JUDGE BAILINANG

MAROHOMBSAR VS. JUDGE SANTOS ADIONG G.R. No. RTJ-02-1674. January 22, 2004 Facts: Complainant Marohombsar was the defendant in the civil case for injunction. The case was filed by Yasmira Pangadapun questioning the legality of Marohombsars appointment as Provincial Social Welfare Officer of the DSWD-ARMM. Prior to his appointment, Pangadapun used to occupy said position. Upon the filing of the said complaint, respondent judge issued a TRO and set the hearing on the application for the issuance of the preliminary injunction. Summons, together with a copy of the complaint and a notice, was also served on both parties. Marohombsar filed an ex parte urgent motion to dissolve the TRO. Pangadapun was given the time to comment. Respondent judge issued an order stating that a preliminary conference had been held and that both parties had waived the raffle of the case and reset the hearing on the application for the issuance of a writ of injunction. The judge gave another time to file her comment again. During the hearing on the application for the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction, none of the lawyers appeared. Hence, respondent judge considered it submitted for resolution and issued the preliminary injunction. Hence, this complaint for gross ignorance of law, abuse of discretion and conduct unbecoming a judge. Issues: 1) Whether or not TRO ex parte is allowed in the instant case. 2) Whether or not trial-type hearing is essential to due process. 3) Whether or not respondent judge erred in ordering the issuance of the writ of preliminary injunction. Held: 1) A TRO is generally granted without notice to the opposite party and is intended only as a restraint on him until the propriety of granting a temporary injunction can be determined. It goes no further than to preserve the status quo until that determination. Respondent judge was justified in issuing the TRO ex parte due to his assessment of the urgency of the relief sought. 2) 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. It is a rule that a party cannot claim that he has been denied due process when he was given the opportunity to present his position. 3) 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.