By Ina Reformina
MANILA, Philippines – The Supreme Court (SC) has junked an administrative complaint against a Court of Appeals (CA) associate justice arising from a homeowners dispute in Muntinlupa City.
In an en banc court ruling, the high court dismissed the complaint against Justice Socorro Inting “for want of substance.”
In their complaint, officers and trustees of Katarungan Village Homeowners Association, Inc. of Barangay Poblacion, Muntinlupa City accused Inting of committing grave misconduct, grave abuse of authority, and conduct unbecoming of a Court of Appeals Justice.
Complainants claimed it was wrong for the magistrate to have joined some members of the association in filing complaints against its several newly elected officers in June 2010 before the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB). The dispute stemmed from a split in the composition of the association’s set of officers and trustees; Inting comes from one of the two factions.
The high court said Inting, as a trustee of her village’s homeowners association, has the right take a position in any legitimate issue that might arise in the course of the discharge of her duties [as village officer].
“She could of course be wrong on those issues but it is not for this that she can be subjected to administrative action… None of those issues are related to her work as Justice of the CA,” the decision read.
The high court said that while it is its duty to investigate every allegation of wrong doing against judges and other court personnel, “it is also its duty to protect them (judges/justices) from frivolous charges.”