SECTION 19. Indirect contempt. – Willful failure or refusal to obey a subpoena or any other lawful order issued by the Investigating Commissioner shall be dealt with as indirect contempt of court. The Investigating Commissioner shall require the alleged contemnor to show cause within ten (10) calendar days from notice. Upon receipt of the compliance or lapse of the period to comply, the Investigating Commissioner may conduct a hearing, if necessary, in accordance with the procedure set forth under Canon VI, Section 22 for hearings before the Investigating Commissioner. Such hearing shall be terminated within fifteen (15) calendar days from commencement. Thereafter, the Investigating Commissioner shall submit a report and recommendation to the IBP Board of Governors within a period of fifteen (15) calendar days from termination of the contempt hearing.
Within thirty (30) calendar days from receipt of the Investigating Commissioner’s report and recommendation on the contempt charge, the IBP Board of Governors, through a Resolution, may either adopt, modify or disapprove the recommendation of the Investigating Commissioner. The action of the IBP Board of Governors shall be immediately executory.
The action of the IBP Board of Governors may be appealed to the Supreme Court. The execution of the order of contempt shall not be suspended, unless a bond is filed by the person adjudged in contempt, in an amount fixed by the IBP Board of Governors, conditioned upon compliance with and performance of the final action in the contempt case, if decided against the contemnor. (2023 Code of Professional Responsibility and Accountability or CPRA)
Indirect contempt or constructive contempt is that which is committed out of the presence of the court. A person who is guilty of disobedience or of resistance to a lawful order of a court or who commits any improper conduct tending, directly or indirectly, to impede, obstruct, or degrade the administration of justice may be punished for indirect contempt. (Castillejos Consumers Association, Inc. v. Dominguez, G.R. No. 189949, March 25, 2015, Per Mendoza, J.)
Investigating Commissioners has the power to cite as indirect contempt any “[w]illful failure or refusal to obey a subpoena or any other lawful order” issued by them.
Baculi v. Belen, A.M. No. RTJ-09-2176, April 20, 2009, Per Nachura, J.:
• A pleading containing derogatory, offensive or malicious statements submitted before a court or judge where the proceedings are pending constitutes direct contempt, because it is equivalent to misbehavior committed in the presence of or so near a court or judge as to interrupt the administration of justice.6 In this regard, respondent committed a serious blunder when he cited complainant for indirect contempt.
A show cause order will be issued to the alleged contemnors to explain within 10 calendar days from notice as to why they should not be cited for indirect contempt.
At their discretion, Investigating Commissioners “may conduct a hearing, if necessary, in accordance with the procedure set forth under Canon VI, Section 22,” after receiving the compliance to the show cause or lapse of the period to comply.
NB: The hearing is optional, and not mandatory, as opposed to a mandatory hearing for indirect contempt before a regular court.
Within 15 calendar days from commencement, the hearing will be terminated.
Within 15 calendar days from termination of the contempt hearing, a report and recommendation will then be submitted to the IBP Governors by the Investigating Commissioners.
Within 30 calendar days from receipt of the report and recommendation, the IBP Board of Governors will act on the recommendation via a Resolution either:
2) Modifying, or
NB: The above-mentioned action is “immediately executory.”
[T]he power to punish for contempt must be exercised on the preservative, not vindictive principle, and on the corrective and not retaliatory idea of punishment. A lawyer’s remarks explaining his position in a case under consideration do not necessarily assume the level of contempt that justifies the court’s exercise of the power of contempt. (Re: Conviction of Judge Angeles, A.M. No. 06-9-545-RTC, January 31, 2008, Per Nachura, J.)
The aggrieved party can appeal to the Supreme Court against the action taken by the IBP Board of Governors.
Although an appeal may have been filed, the execution of the order of contempt will proceed as the execution is not suspended.
The non-suspension of the execution of the order of contempt is subject to the exception: “unless a bond is filed by the person adjudged in contempt, in an amount fixed by the IBP Board of Governors, conditioned upon compliance with and performance of the final action in the contempt case, if decided against the contemnor.”