SC disbars Pasay judge over harassment

MANILA — The Supreme Court (SC) disbarred a Pasay judge who was earlier dismissed for harassing a fellow judge and refusing to take night court duty.

In a 22-page resolution dated March 14, 2017, the high court denied with finality Metropolitan Trial Court (MTC) Branch 47 Judge Eliza Yu’s motion for reconsideration on the dismissal order and also rejected her answers to the earlier show cause order on the disbarment.

The disbarment order is immediately executory as the SC wanted all courts nationwide and the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) notified of the ruling.

The high court ordered the cancellation of the dismissed judge’s license to practice law and removal from the rolls of attorneys.

”The Court denies the motion for reconsideration with explanation for the show cause order with finality, disbars effectively immediately the respondent Eliza B. Yu pursuant to A.M. No. 02-9-02-SC for violation of the Lawyer’s Oath, the Code of Professional Responsibility and the Canons of Professional Ethics; and orders the striking off of respondent name from the Roll of Attorneys,” the SC said.

The SC cited the same violations committed by the judge as basis for her disbarment, saying her liabilities under the New Code of Judicial Conduct for the Philippine Judiciary also made her liable under the Code of Professional Conduct for Lawyers.

The high court held that Yu violated Canon 1 of the Code, which requires lawyers to uphold the Constitution, obey the laws of the land and promote respect for law and legal processes, for her non-compliance with SC Administrative Order (AO) 19-2011, which established night courts.

The SC ruled that she also violated Canon 11, which requires lawyers to maintain respect to the courts and judicial officers, by sending inappropriate messages with sexual undertones to a fellow judge.

It also found Yu guilty of gross misconduct, violation of the lawyer’s oath and willful disobedience of any lawful order.

“Given her wanton defiance of the Court’s own directives, her open disrespect to her fellow judges, her blatant abuse of the powers appurtenant to her judicial office, and her perchant for threatening the defenseless with legal actions to make them submit to her will, we should also be imposing the penalty of disbarment,” read the ruling promulgated last March 14.

In its earlier decision, the SC ordered Yu dismissed as a judge after finding her guilty of gross insubordination, gross ignorance of the law, gross misconduct, grave abuse of authority, oppression and conduct unbecoming of a judicial official.

The SC also ordered the forfeiture of all her benefits, except accrued leave credits, and disqualified her from any public office or employment, including to one in any government-owned or government-controlled corporations.

Based on SC’s findings, Yu constantly sent alarming messages with sexual undertones via Facebook and e-mail to a fellow judge.

The high court noted that while the Facebook and Yahoo messages started in 2009 when Yu was then a public prosecutor, she could still be disciplined for such acts committed prior to appointment to the judiciary because her Internet stalking of her fellow judge continued after she became an MTC judge in Pasay on Jan. 12, 2010 until July 2010.