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TITLE SEVEN

Crimes Committed
by Public Officers
Article 204 to Article 209
Malfeasance and Misfeasance
in Office
Who are Public
Officers?
Article 203. Who are Public Officers.

For the purpose of applying the provisions of
this and the preceding titles of this book, any
person who, by direct provision of the law, popular
election or appointment by competent authority,
shall take part in the performance of public
functions in the Government of the Philippine
Islands, or shall perform in said Government or in
any of its branches public duties as an employee,
agent or subordinate official, of any rank or class,
shall be deemed to be a public officer.
Republic Act No. 3019
Sec.2(b) -

Public Officers include elective and
appointive officials and employees,
permanent or temporary, whether in the
unclassified or classified or exempted
service receiving compensation, even
nominal, from the government.
Khan Jr. vs Office of the
Ombudsman
G.R. No. L-125296, July 20, 2006

Public Officers are those endowed
with the exercise of sovereign
executive, legislative or judicial
functions.

In the case of officers/employees in
GOCCs, they are deemed public
officers if their corporations are tasked
to carry out governmental functions.
Example of Public Officers
Chapter Two
Malfeasance and
Misfeasance in Office

Section One
Dereliction of Duty
Definitions

Malfeasance is the performance of
some act which ought not to be done.
Misfeasance is the improper
performance of some act which might
lawfully be done.
Nonfeasance is the omission of
some act which ought to be performed.
Article 204. Knowingly rendering
unjust judgment.

Any judge who shall knowingly render an
unjust judgment in any case submitted to
him for decision, shall be punished by
prision mayor and perpetual absolute
disqualification.
Elements:

A. The offender is a judge;
B. He renders judgment in a case
submitted to him for him decision;
C. Said judgment is unjust;
D. He knows that said judgment is unjust.
Diego vs Judge Castillo
A.M. No. RTJ021673, August 11, 2004

It is firmly established in this jurisdiction that
for a judge to be held liable for knowingly
rendering an unjust judgment, it must be
shown that the judgment is unjust as it is
contrary to law or is not supported by the
evidence, and that the same was made with
conscious and deliberate intent to do an
injustice. Knowingly means consciously,
intelligently, willfully or intentionally.
In Re: Disciplinary action against Atty.
Wenceslao Laureta, G.R. No. 63635,
March 12, 1987

Article 204 has no application to the
members of a collegiate court such as the
Supreme Court or its Divisions who reach
their conclusion in consultation and
accordingly render their collective
judgment after due deliberation.

- x o O o x -
Article 205. Judgment rendered
through negligence.

Any judge who, by reason of inexcusable
negligence or ignorance shall render a
manifestly unjust judgment in any case
submitted to him for decision shall be
punished by arresto mayor and temporary
special disqualification.
Elements:

A. Offender is a judge;
B. He renders judgment in a case
submitted to him for decision;
C. Said judgment is manifestly unjust;
D. It was committed through inexcusable
negligence.
Manifestly unjust judgment is a
judgment which cannot be explained
with a reasonable interpretation or is a
clear incontrovertible and notorious
violation of a legal precept. It must be
patently contrary to law if rendered due
to ignorance or inexcusable negligence.

- x o O o x -
Article 206. Unjust interlocutory
order.

Any judge who shall knowingly render an
unjust interlocutory order or decree shall
suffer the penalty of arresto mayor in its
minimum period and suspension; but if he
shall have acted by reason of inexcusable
negligence or ignorance and the
interlocutory order or decree be
manifestly unjust, the penalty shall be
suspension.
The offense may be committed by a judge
in two ways:
A. By knowingly rendering an unjust
interlocutory order; or
B. By rendering a manifestly unjust
interlocutory order by inexcusable
negligence or ignorance.
Interlocutory Order is one which
does not finally determine a cause of action
but only decides some intervening matter
pertaining to the cause, and which requires
further steps to be taken in order to enable
the court to adjudicate the cause on the
merits. It is merely provisional or temporary;
something which intervenes between the
commencement and the end of a suit which
decides some point or matter, but is not a
final decision of the whole controversy.
- x o O o x -
Article 207. Malicious delay in
the administration of justice.

The penalty of prision correccional in its
minimum period shall be imposed upon
any judge guilty of malicious delay in
the administration of justice.
Van Der Mee vs Resurreccion, AM No.
OCA IPI No. 041876P, August 9, 2004

A mere court personnel cannot be made
liable under this article. There must be an
allegation that the delay, if any, was borne
of malicious intent. Malice connotes that
the act complained of must be the result
of a deliberate evil intent and does not
cover a mere voluntary act.
- x o O o x -
Article 208. Prosecution of
offenses; negligence and tolerance.

The penalty of prision correccional in its
minimum period and suspension shall be
imposed upon any public officer, or officer of
the law, who, in dereliction of the duties of
his office, shall maliciously refrain from
instituting prosecution for the punishment of
violators of the law, or shall tolerate the
commission of offenses.
Acts punished:

A. Maliciously refraining from institution
of prosecution for the punishment of
violators of the law;
B. Tolerating the commission of offenses.
Persons liable:

A. Any public officer or employee;
B. Officers of the law who are
charged to prosecute offenses.
People vs Malabanan
62 Phil 786

Malice connotes that the action complained of
must be the result of a deliberate intent and does
not cover a mere voluntary act. From a practical
standpoint, it is clear that giving this section the
most liberal interpretation possible would result
in impossible conditions. If every public
functionary who fails to institute criminal
prosecution for every misdemeanor which he has
reason to believe has been committed is liable to
be sent to jail for a year and a half as a felony, an
intolerable situation would occur.

- x o O o x -
Article 209. Betrayal of trust by an
attorney or solicitor. Revelation of
secrets.

In addition to the proper administrative action,
the penalty of prision correccional in its minimum
period, or a fine ranging from 200 to 1,000 pesos,
or both, shall be imposed upon any attorney-at-
law or solicitor (procurador judicial) who, by any
malicious breach of professional duty or of
inexcusable negligence or ignorance, shall
prejudice his client, or reveal any of the secrets of
the latter learned by him in his professional
capacity.
The same penalty shall be imposed upon an
attorney-at-law or solicitor who, having
undertaken the defense of a client or having
received confidential information from said
client in a case, shall undertake the defense of
the opposing party in the same case, without
the consent of his first client.
Acts punished:

A. Malicious breach of professional duty;
B. Inexcusable negligence or ignorance;
Revelation of secrets learned in his
professional capacity; and
C. Undertaking the defense of the
opposite party in a case without the
consent of the first client whose
defense has already been undertaken.
Prejudice to the client is essential when there is
malicious breach of professional duty or
inexcusable negligence or ignorance. It is not
essential in the case of revelation of secrets or in
the representation of conflicting interests.
To prejudice is equivalent to causing material or
moral damage to the client. Revelation of secret
signifies a communication of the same to another.
The secrets which should not be revealed are not
limited to those learned by the lawyer in
connection with a case in which he is intervening
but includes all other secrets learned from a client
in the course of professional relationship.
- x x o O o x x -