The Supreme Court Of The Philippines has suspended regional trial court judge Zaldy Docena for six months and ordered an investigation into allegations he indiscriminately issued search warrants.
Docena was the Malabon City judge who authorized police to raid the offices of Bodog Asia in November of 2013 based on the false testimony of Jan Robert Gustafsson. The Swede had alleged that the firm for which he worked had illegally accepted wagers from residents of The Philippines and this initial search was followed by similar actions against other online gambling operators including the likes of William Hill and Kambi Sports Solutions.
According to a report in the Manila Bulletin, the Office Of The Court Administrator conducted a spot audit of Docena’s offices last year and reportedly found evidence that search warrants had been issued indiscriminately.
“The Court resolved to preventively suspend, effective immediately, judge Zaldy Docena, RTC Branch 170, Malabon City, for six months pending the completion of a more comprehensive and detailed investigation on the issuance of search warrants,” read a statement from the Supreme Court Of The Philippines.
As part of its investigation, officials have been directed to “immediately seal/secure all records/folders pertaining to the applications for search warrant received by Judge Docena” while Malabon City executive judge Celso Raymundo Magsino has also been relieved of his post and included in the inquiry.
The Supreme Court Of The Philippines declared that Magsino was being incorporated into the investigation due to the “apparent irregularity in the raffle of applications for search warrants” with judge Jimmy Edmund Batara being named as his replacement while judge Emmanuel Laurea is to take over for Docena.