Perez vs Alpuerto

200 SCRA 594

Facts: Complainant Sabeniana Perez charges Judge. Panfilo Alpuerto of  Cebu, with abuse of discretion, oppression, bias, falsification, and ignorance of the law for having dismissed a criminal case in which she was the offended party. Complainant claims that while Judge Alpuerto was solicitous of the accused’s right to a speedy trial, the judge was blind to her suffering as a car accident victim, the judge did not provide a copy of the dismissal proceedings to her and the accused as his wife’s niece, should have led the judge to inhibit from the case. Judge Alpuerto meanwhile replies that the case was dismissed because the prosecution was not able to present a valid argument on time and that the accused would not be immune to criminal prosecution.

issue: W/N the judge is guilty of abuse of discretion, oppression, bias, falsification and ignorance of the law.

Held: No, the complainant has not presented sufficient evidence to prove beyond reasonable doubt that Judge Alpuerto dismissed the case with bias. However the complainant was able to prove that she was given the run-around when she requested for a copy of the dismissal order and the minutes of the proceedings in the Capuno case on that date. Although the complainant had already filed a separate civil action, she was entitled to receive a copy of the dismissal order when she made a request for it. The right to information on matters of public concern is a constitutional right. Access to official records and to documents and papers pertaining to official acts, transactions, or decisions shall be afforded the citizen, subject to such limitations as may be provided by law (Valmonte v. Belmonte, 170 SCRA 256). Respondent Judge’s act was tantamount to ignorance of basic rules on the disposition and safekeeping of court records and their character as public records accessible to public scrutiny and examination.


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