SC Dismisses Judge Who Decided Case Involving Hubby

February 17, 2020

For not inhibiting from a case involving her husband, among other offenses, the Supreme Court has dismissed a trial court judge from service.

This, as the Court intensifies its efforts to maintain the integrity of the Judiciary by cleansing its own ranks.

In a 16-page per curiam decision, the Court forfeited all retirement benefits, except accrued leave credits, of Judge Analie C. Aldea-Arocena of Municipal Trial Court in the Cities (MTCC), San Jose City, Nueva Ecjia and ordered her perpetual disqualification from public service for violations of Sections 5(g), Canon 3, and Sections 1 and 4, Canon 4 of the 2004 Rules of Judicial Conduct and for gross ignorance of the law. The Court also fined her a total of P30,000 for the less serious charges of violations of Section 1, Rule 137 of the Rules of Court, as amended, and of violation of reasonable office rules and regulations.

The case stemmed from an anonymous complaint against Judge Arocena filed before the Office Deputy Court Administrator Jenny Lind R. Aldecoa-Delorino on July 3, 2014. The complaint alleged that Judge Arocena hears and decides on cases involving her husband Ferdinand, who is a member of the board of directors of a cooperative which has a case pending before her court. Furthermore, she also allegedly had mistreated the defendants and even went abroad in March 2009 without securing a travel authority from the Court.

“In order to avoid a negative public perception, the right thing to do for a judge is to recuse from the case. However, Judge Arocena failed to do so in disregard of the canons on impartiality and propriety of the 2004 New Code on Judiciary Conduct,” the Court held. It added: “Coupled with her failure to recuse from the Self-Reliant Cooperative cases, the Court is led to the conclusion that Judge Arocena approved the unconscionable compromise agreements to favor the cooperative, of which her husband is a member of the board of directors. There is no other way to describe her conduct as gross ignorance of the law and abuse of authority.” 

(A.M. No. MTJ-17-1889, Re: Anonymous Complaint Against Presiding Judge Analie C. Aldea-Arocena,  Municipal Trial Court in Cities, Branch 1, San Jose City, Nueva Ecija, September 3, 2019)

Full text of the decision: