Judge linked to drugs found guilty of gross ignorance of the law

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    ONE of the seven judges linked by President Duterte in 2016 to the illegal drugs trade in the country has been found guilty of gross ignorance of the law and gross misconduct by the Supreme Court.

    But Antonio Reyes, who served as presiding judge of Branch 61 of the Baguio City regional trial court, can no longer be dismissed since he mandatorily retired in November 2017 while the administrative case against him was being heard by the tribunal.

    As a result of the SC decision, Reyes was barred from re-employment in any government office while his retirement benefits, except for accrued leave credits, have been forfeited.

    The SC en banc resolution promulgated last November 10 but released only on January 26 upheld the findings of a fact-finding probe conducted by a panel headed by retired SC justice Roberto Abad on Reyes and other judges linked by Duterte to the narcotics trade.

    But Abad only investigated four judges, namely, Reyes, Exequil Dagala of Dapa-Socorro in Surigao del Norte, Adriano Savillo of Iloilo city and Domingo Casiple of Aklan. The other three judges in the list had retired from the judiciary at that time.

    The complaints against Dagala, Savillo and Casiple were dismissed due to lack of evidence.

    The Abad panel, citing the affidavits of witnesses and litigants, said Reyes accepted bribe money in return for the dismissal of drug cases. Reyes denied the accusations.