Disbarment case filed vs CA’s Sabio

A lawyer has filed a disbarment case against Court of Appeals Associate Justice Jose Sabio Jr. who was suspended last Sept. 9 by the Supreme Court for two months in connection with the improprieties of appellate justices handling the Meralco ownership case.

Fernando Perito, in a petition filed with the Supreme Court Saturday, said he wanted to correct “what could have been an oversight or lapse of ethical application among members of the esteemed judiciary.”

Perito earlier sought the disbarment of Justice Sabio’s brother, PCGG chairman Camilo Sabio, for violation of legal ethics for his attempt to influence the magistrate “to help” the Government Service Insurance System in wresting control of Meralco from the Lopez family.

The SC has referred to the Bar Confidante the actions of Camilo Sabio.

The SC, in its per curiam decision, found Justice Sabio guilty of breaking the “shield of confidentiality that covers the disposition of cases in the Court in order to preserve and protect the integrity and independence of the Court itself” when he discussed the Meralco case with Camilo and businessman Francis de Borja.

The high court noted Justice Sabio indicated undue interest in the case when he refused to yield the chairmanship of the Special Ninth Division although its regular chair, Associate Justice Bienvenido Reyes returned last June 10, 2008 after a leave of absence.

Perito said the New Code of Judicial Conduct for the Philippine Judiciary provides that judges should exercise the judicial function independently and free from extraneous influence, inducement, pressure, threat or interference, direct or indirect from any quarter or for any reason.


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