Citing insufficient evidence, the Supreme Court (SC) has dismissed an administrative complaint for sexual harassment filed by a stenographer against a Davao City judge in 2003.
In an en banc decision penned by Associate Justice Cancio Garcia, the SC cleared Judge Emmanuel Carpio of the Davao City Regional Trial Court Branch 16, saying the complainant, Erlind Alquizar, failed to prove her charges “with the quantum of proof required under the premises.”
Although it dismissed the case, the SC admonished Carpio “to avoid any act or conduct that would in any way diminish public trust and confidence in the courts and the individuals representing the institution.”
Alquizar accused Carpio of kissing her despite her earlier protest while she was washing dishes in the comfort room of the judge’s chamber on Aug. 29, 2002, her birthday.
In October 2002, Alquizar said Carpio tried to kiss her while she was transcribing notes in the staff room. She said he stopped only after she threatened to shout and throw a stapler at him.
A week later, she said Carpio scolded her for allegedly always being out of the office.
Sometime in January 2003, Alquizar claimed that Carpio entered the staff room where her co-workers were eating and asked her if she could go inside the comfort room so he could kiss her.
Alquizar added that there were also instances when Carpio would touch her legs and wink at her.
On Feb. 6, 2003, Alquizar said Carpio again berated her for always being out, bringing her to tears. The following day, she did not report for work.
She also claimed there were also times when Carpio would place his gun on top of her table, as if to scare her.
She said the harassment forced her to request for a transfer of assignment and to go on leave.
Carpio denied all the accusations, saying that the administrative complaint against him was an offshoot of four incidents which bore on Alquizar’s performance.
Upon the SC’s orders, the Court of Appeals looked into the complaint and Associate Justice Teresita Dy-Liacco Flores found Carpio guilty of sexual harassment and recommended his suspension for three months.
The SC, however, disagreed with the recommendation, saying that testimonial and documentary evidence tended to cast doubt on Alquizar’s credibility and necessarily her case.
“Inasmuch as what is imputed against respondent judge connotes a misconduct so grave that, if proven, would entail dismissal from the bench, the quantum of proof required should be more than substantial,” it said.–Mike Frialde, Philippine Star