MANILA, May 15 — The Supreme Court (SC) has disbarred a Cotabato City Regional Trial Court (RTC) judge for issuing decisions on numerous annulment of marriage cases when in fact he did not conduct any judicial proceedings on such cases.
Found guilty of gross misconduct and dishonesty by the SC in a per curiam ruling was Judge Cader P. Indar, Al Haj, presiding judge of the Cotabato City RTC Branch 14 and acting presiding judge of the RTC Branch 15 in Shariff Aguak, Maguindanao.
The SC also dismissed Indar from the service, "with forfeiture of all benefits due him, except accrued leave benefits, if any, with prejudice to re-employment in any branch of the government, including government-owned or controlled corporations."
Indar was also disbarred for violation of Canons 1 and 7 and Rule 1.01 of the Code of Professional Responsibility and his name was ordered stricken from the Roll of Attorneys.
"Considering that Judge Indar is guilty of gross misconduct and dishonesty, constituting violations of the Lawyer's Oath, and Canons 1 and 7 and Rule 1.01 of the Code of Professional Responsibility, Judge Indar deserves disbarment," the SC ruling said.
"Let a copy of this Decision be entered into Judge Indar's record as a member of the bar and notice of the same be served on the Integrated Bar of the Philippines and on the Office of the Court Administrator for circulation to all courts in the country," the SC said.
The case stemmed from the reports by the Local Civil Registrars of Manila and Quezon City to the Office of the Court Administrator (OCA) that they have received an alarming number of decisions, resolutions, and orders on annulment of marriage cases allegedly issued by Indar.
The OCA conducted a judicial audit in Shariff Aguak RTC Branch 15 where the Audit Team found that the list of cases submitted by the Local Civil Registrars of Manila and Quezon City do not appear in the records of cases received, pending or disposed by Shariff Aguak RTC Branch 15.
Also, the annulment decisions did not exist in the records of Cotabato City RTC Branch 14.
"Judge Indar was given ample opportunity to controvert the charges against him," the SC said.
"While there is no proof that Judge Indar personally received the notices of hearing issued by the Investigating Justices, the first two notices of hearing were received by one Mustapha Randang of the Clerk of Court, RTC-Cotabato, while one of the notices was received by a certain Mrs. Asok, who were presumably authorized and capable to receive notices on behalf of Judge Indar," it said.
"Further, Judge Indar cannot feign ignorance of the administrative investigation against him because aside from the fact that the Court's Resolution suspending him was mailed to him, his preventive suspension was reported in major national newspapers," it added.
The SC said that "Judge Indar was repeatedly sent notices of hearings to his known addresses."
Thus, it added that "there was due notice on Judge Indar of the charges against him."
However, Indar still failed to file his explanation and appear at the scheduled hearings.
"In this case, Judge Indar issued decisions on numerous annulment of marriage cases which do not exist in the records of RTC-Shariff Aguak, Branch 15, or the Office of the Clerk of Court of the Regional Trial Court, Cotabato City," the SC ruled.
The SC said that it "condemns Judge Indar's reprehensible act of issuing Decisions that voided marital unions, without conducting any judicial proceedings."
"Such malfeasance not only makes a mockery of marriage and its life-changing consequences but likewise grossly violates the basic norms of truth, justice, and due process," it added.
"Not only that, Judge Indar's gross misconduct greatly undermines the people's faith in the judiciary and betrays public trust and confidence in the courts. Judge Indar's utter lack of moral fitness has no place in the Judiciary. Judge Indar deserves nothing less than dismissal from the service," the SC said. (PNA)