Judge on expropriation case accused of grave misconduct

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    MORE Electric and Power Corp. has filed an administrative complaint against the Regional Trial Court (RTC) judge hearing its expropriation case against Panay Electric Co. Inc. (PECO).

    In a 33-page complaint lodged with the Supreme Court last December 12, MORE accused Iloilo RTC Branch 35 Judge Daniel Antonio Gerardo Amular for grave misconduct, gross ignorance of the law and violation of the Code of Judicial Conduct.

    Roel Castro, MORE president and chief operating officer, as well as legal counsel Hector

    Teodosio acted as complainants in the case.
    MORE Power claimed Amular violated Canons 1 and 2 of the Code of Judicial Conduct when he held a private conference inside his chamber with Castro and PECO’s Mikel Afzelius but prohibited lawyers of MORE Power and PECO from attending.

    The complaint further alleged Amular “threatened and scared MORE Power that he could delay the proceedings and even advised Castro not to discuss the matter with its counsel.”
    It further added the judge  “scolded and reprimanded” Castro in open court without giving the latter “the opportunity to know the charge and to explain his side which is in violation of Canon 3 Rule 3.04 of the Canons of Judicial Ethics.”

    A third charge against Amular is the alleged delay in the implementation of the writ of possession (WOP) issued by another judge who previously handled the case in August 2019.

    The WOP will empower MORE Power to take over PECO assets. It was issued after MORE Power identified the assets it intends to acquire.

    MORE Power also deposited more than P481 million as just compensation for PECO’s assets in compliance with the expropriation rules.

    The suit also accused the judge of gross ignorance of the law when “he failed to apply the doctrine of judicial admission” when he refused to implement the writ of possession issued by RTC Judge Marie Yvette Go in August 2019 before she recused from the expropriation case. – J. Macapagal