Saturday, February 25, 2012

De Bumanglag vs. Bumanglag [A.M. No. 188 November 29, 1976]

Facts: Esteban T. Bumanglad, the respondent, was found by the Court in its decision of September 24, 1973 guilty of gross immoral conduct and ordered his suspension from the practice of law for a period of two (2) years; 

Respondent filed several motions for reconsideration but the same were denied; 

As a result of such denial, the respondent wrote a petition to the President of the Philippines that he “promulgate(s) a decree that the order of suspension by the Supreme Court be set aside and that your humble self be allowed to become an active member of the New Society”. 

The respondent alleged in the same petition that he was deprived of due process of law; 

The Clerk of Court, by way of an indorsement from the Assistant Executive Secretary, received a copy of the petition and was requested to “comment and/or appropriate action” on the subject matter; 

However, in a subsequent letter to the President the respondent retracted and acknowledged his non observance of protocol of separation of powers; 

In the end, the respondent asked for an apology from the members of the Honorable Court. 

Issues
(1) Whether or not respondent may be disciplined for gross ignorance of the law and of the Constitution in not observing the protocol of separation of power by asking the President to set aside by decree the decision of the Court imposing suspension upon the respondent

(2) Whether or not a decision duly promulgated by the Supreme Court may be set aside by a Presidential Decree

Held:
(1) Respondent is hereby administered a reprimand for gross ignorance of the law and of the Constitution in having asked the President to set aside by decree the Court's decision which suspended him for two years from the practice of law, with warning that the commission of any transgression in the future of his oath and duties as a member of the bar will be severely dealt with. 

(2) Since respondent has apologized for his "big mistake" and now appreciates that under the fundamental principle of separation of powers enshrined in both the 1935 and 1973 Constitutions, a decision of this Court may not be set aside by the President, the Court is disposed to view his misconduct and/or ignorance with liberality and will administer a reprimand with warning of severe action on any future transgressions, considering respondent's unenviable record. 

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