A TRIAL court judge in Marikina has been ordered to recuse herself from presiding over the qualified theft complaint filed by San Miguel Holdings Corp., the infrastructure arm of San Miguel Corp. (SMC) against Indonesian businessman Shadik Wahono and several others.
In a 16-page decision penned by Associate Justice Sesinando Villon, the Court of Appeal’s (CA) Former Ninth Division held that Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Marikina City Branch 193 presiding judge Alice Gutierrez showed bias and partiality in dismissing the complaint last year.
Thus, the CA ordered the case to be proceeded to trial by another judge in Marikina RTC to be chosen by raffle in accordance with the provisions of the Rules of Court.
“Judge Gutierrez may not be legally prohibited from sitting in the case a quo. But there are suggestions made on record that she is predisposed to act in favor of private respondents, or with bias or prejudice against petitioners,” the CA said.
The CA’s ruling stemmed from the petition filed by SM Holdings Corp. and Citra Metro Manila Tollways Corp.’s seeking the reversal of Judge Gutierrez’s decision denying
their motion for inhibition. However, during the pendency of the petition, Judge Gutierrez issued an order on October 25, 2017, dismissing the qualified theft complaint. This prompted the CA to issue a writ of preliminary injunction early this year enjoining Gutierrez from implementing its order dismissing the qualified theft case.