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G.R. Nos. L-69640-45 – 136 SCRA 266 – Political Law – Due Process – Hostility Between the Judge and the Parties – Inhibition
Paderanga was the mayor of Gingoog City, Misamis Oriental. He petitioned that J Azura inhibits himself from deciding on pending cases brought before him on the grounds that they have lost confidence in him, that he entertained tax suits against the city and had issued TROs on the sales of properties when it is clearly provided for by law (Sec 74 PD 464) that the remedy to stop auction is to pay tax, that J Azura is bias, oppressive and is abusive in his power.
ISSUE: Whether or not J Azura should inhibit himself from the trial.
HELD: Yes. The SC ruled that Azura must. As decided in the Pimentel Case (21 SCRA 160), “All the foregoing notwithstanding, this should be a good occasion as any to draw attention of all judges to appropriate guidelines in a situation where their capacity to try and decide fairly and judiciously comes to the fore by way of challenge from any one of the parties. A judge may not be legally prohibited from sitting in a litigation But when suggestion is made of record that he might be induced to act in favor of one party or with bias or prejudice against a litigant arising out of circumstances reasonably capable of inciting such a state of mind, he should conduct a careful self-examination. He should exercise his discretion in a way that the people’s faith in the courts of justice is not impaired. . .”
The reminder is also apropos that next in importance to the duty of rendering a righteous judgment is that of doing it in such a manner as will beget no suspicion of the fairness and integrity of the judge.