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Case 40

Garcia v. Domingo
G.R. No. L-30104
July 25, 1973.
In Branch I the City Court of Manila presided over by petitioner Judge, there
were commenced, by appropriate information eight (8) criminal actions
against respondent Edgardo Calo, and Simeon Carbonnel and Petitioner
Francisco Lorenzana. The accused wanted for the speedy trial so they
requested to hold the trial even on Saturday on the chamber of Judge
Gamboa. The petitioner granted the request. The trials of the cases in
question were held, with the conformity of the accused and their counsel, in
the chambers of Judge Garcia. During all 14 days of trial, spanning a period
of several months, the accused were at all times represented by their
respective counsel, who acted not only in defense of their clients, but as
prosecutors of the accusations filed at their clients' instance. The
promulgation of judgment was first scheduled on 23 September 1968 but
was postponed. The applications for postponement were not grounded upon
and supposed defect or irregularity of the proceedings.
On 1 October 1968, Calo and Carbonnel, thru their counsel, Atty. Rafael S.
Consengco, filed with the CFI a petition for certiorari and prohibition, with
application for preliminary prohibitory and mandatory injunction, alleging
jurisdictional defects. After proceedings duly had, Judge Felix Domingo (CFI
Manila) issued an order declaring that the constitutional and statutory rights
of the accused had been violated, and ordering the city court Judge (Garcia)
"to desist from reading or causing to be read or promulgated the decisions
he may have rendered already in the criminal cases in question pending in
his Court, until further orders of the CFI.
Whether the conduct of the trial inside the Judges air-conditioned chambers,
rather than the usual open court, render the proceedings violative of the
constitutional mandate for public trial
When the trial was held on Saturdays and in the air-conditioned chambers of
the City Judge for the convenience of the parties and of the Judge, the
proceedings were not violative of the right to public trial. There is no showing
that the public was thereby excluded. It is to be admitted that the size of the

room allotted the Judge would reduce the number of those who could be
present. Such a fact though is not indicative of any transgression of this
right. Courtrooms are not of uniform dimensions. Some are smaller than
others. It suffices to satisfy the requirement of a trial being public if the
accused could "have his friends, relatives and counsel present, no matter
with what offense he may be charged." Reference may also be made to the
undisputed fact at least 14 hearings had been held in chambers of the city
court Judge, without objection on the part of policemen.
When it is remembered further that the occupants of such courts are not
chosen primarily for their legal acumen, but taken from that portion of the
bar more considerably attuned to the pulse of public life, it is not to be
rationally expected that an accused would be denied whatever solace and
comfort may come from the knowledge that a judge, with the eyes of the
persons in court alert to his demeanor and his rulings, would run the risk of
being unjust, unfair, or arbitrary. Nor does it change matters, just because, it
was in the air-conditioned chambers of a city court judge rather than in the
usual place that the trial took place.

G.R. No. L-21741

January 25, 1924

PABLO RIVERA, acting provincial fiscal of Tayabas, and
FEDERICO M. UNSON, justice of the peace of Lucena, Tayabas,
Petitioner herein faced by five various charges of misdemeanors and crimes. She
had appeared with her witness 8 times only to find out that it was postponed, had
come before the Supreme court for protection twice and after the passage of more
than one year from the time when the first information was filed, seems as far away
from a definite resolution of her troubles as she was when originally charged.
What leverage does an accused have should there be an unjust delay in the delivery
of justice?
We lay down the legal proposition that, where a prosecuting officer, without good
cause, secures postponements of the trial of a defendant against his protest beyond
a reasonable period of time, as in this instance for more than a year, the accused is
entitled to relief by a proceeding in mandamus to compel a dismissal of the

information, or if he be restrained of his liberty, by habeas corpus to obtain his


G.R. Nos. L-34756-59 March 31, 1973

HON. ONOFRE VILLALUZ, as Judge of the Circuit Criminal Court,
Seventh Judicial District,

Petitioner was an accused for the crime of robbery, the hearing was done in
the sala of the respondent judge. When petitioner file for the dismissal of the
case on due insufficiency of evidence for failure of prosecution (1) to prove
the existence of conspiracy, and (2) to identify the accused by competent
evidence in reply respondent judge said that the motion to dismiss will be
resolved until the prosecution against Rolando Reyes has presented their
evidence. Rolando Reyes who was actually tried separately, made extra
judicial statement before the respondent judge that implicated the petitioner.
Pending the motion to dismissed prosecution against petitioner filed petition
for additional evidence which was granted by respondent judge even with
opposition of the petitioner. The evidence presented was the statement of
Rolando Reyes who repudiated the statement saying that he was threatened
by a government agent. Petitioner did filed that respondent judge should
disqualify himself.
Issue: Should the judge disqualify himself?
Held: Yes, Petitioners are thus entitled to the relief sought. Respondent Judge
could not be totally immune to what apparently was asserted before him in
such extrajudicial statement. Moreover, it is unlikely that he was not in the
slightest bit offended by the affiant's turnabout with his later declaration that
there was intimidation by a government agent exerted on him. That was
hardly flattering to respondent Judge. It is not only that. His sense of fairness
under the circumstances could easily be blunted. The absence of the
requisite due process element is thus noticeable. There is this circumstance
even more telling. It was he who attested to its due execution on October 1,
1971 wherein Rolando Reyes admitted his participation in the crime and in
addition implicated petitioners. At that time, their motion for dismissal of the
charges against them was pending; its resolution was deferred by

respondent Judge until after the prosecution had presented and rested its
evidence against affiant, who was himself indicted and tried for the same
offense, but in a separate proceeding. It cannot be doubted then that
respondent Judge in effect ruled that such extra-judicial statement was
executed freely. With its repudiation on the ground that it was not so at all,
coercion having come into the picture there is apparent the situation of a
judge having to pass on a question that by implication had already been
answered by him. Such a fact became rather obvious. For respondent Judge
was called upon to review a matter on which he had previously given his
opinion. It is this inroad in one's objectivity that is sought to be avoided by
the law on disqualification. The misgivings then as to the requirement of due
process for "the cold neutrality of an impartial judge" not being met are more
titan justified. Hence the conclusion reached by us.