A QUEZON City trial court judge will be investigated for allegedly rendering an unjust decision against a former lawmaker who is an ally of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

Former Justice Secretary Agnes Devanadera ordered the conduct of an investigation against Quezon City Judge Theresa dela Torre-Yadao few days before he resigned from her post.

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Yadao allegedly rendered an unjust judgment in the murder case against former Occidental Mindoro Representative Jose Villarosa.

In her nine-page resolution, Devanadera directed the Quezon City Prosecutor’s Office to investigate Yadao in connection with the complaint of Villarosa that she “knowingly rendered an unjust judgment” in convicting him for the murder of the Quintos brothers in December 13, 1997.

She reversed the findings of State Prosecutor Juan Pedro Navera that Yadao did not violate Article 204 of the Revised Penal Code on the ground that the judge reached her decision “in good faith.”

“This Office finds (Navera’s) embrace of the ‘good faith’ argument and the defense of denial by the respondent judge to be too trusting and sweeping in nature, especially in the light of the conclusions reached by the Court of Appeals,” she said.

The former Department of Justice (DOJ) chief furthered that Yadao’s defense of good faith is a matter she could very well raise during the trial on the merits.

“Nobody, not even this Office, can claim that he or she could read the mind of the respondent Judge, as to be able to conclude with certainty that she acted with or without malice, that is, she had willfully and feloniously rendered a judgment that was not in conformity with the evidence and had acted with full knowledge aforethought with the criminal intent to render an injustice upon the petitioner,” she said.

“This Office is satisfied, from the records reviewed by it, that there is a prima facie basis to believe that respondent judge had criminally and knowingly rendered an unjust judgment, and that she should be held answerable in our courts of law,” she added.

Villarosa filed the complaint against Yadao after the Court of Appeals (CA) in March 2008 overturned the verdict of the RTC’s verdict convicting Villarosa in the December 13, 1997 murders of Michael and Paul Quintos, paving the way for the release of Villarosa and his three-co-accused.

The Quintos family then elevated the case before the Supreme Court and remains pending, to date.

In its decision issued on February 3, 2006, the CA reversed Yadao’s ruling and issued a decision acquitting Villarosa and some of the accused and ordered their release from detention.

Following his acquittal by the CA, Villarosa filed a complaint before the DOJ against Yadao, alleging that lady judge, with manifest partiality towards him, deliberately disregarded his testimony and the evidence he presented.

Yadao supposedly sweepingly concluded that considering the proximity between Manila and Mindoro and the availability of faster modes of transportation such as helicopters and light planes, Villarosa’s presence in Mindoro, where the murders took place, to command his co-accused to carry out their plan was “within the realm of possibility.”

But Navera ruled that the CA ruling merely disagreed with Yadao’s rejection of Villarosa’s alibi based on the possibility of travel, but did not accuse her of grave abuse of discretion in rendering her decision. (JCV/Sunnex)