Judge hangs robe to run for office

Posted on October 31, 2012

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After serving the judiciary for 20 years, Judge Olegario Sarmiento has called it quits.

Sarmiento, the presiding judge of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 24, opted to avail of an optional retirement which took effect last Sept. 14.

“The court is permanent and I as a judge is temporary. It’s high time for me to venture on other fields of endeavor,” he told Cebu Daily News.

From the bench, Sarmiento decided to venture into the world of politics.

He filed his Certificate of Candidacy for the municipal council of Alcantara, southwest Cebu.

“I kept telling my personnel that ours is public service. That we must deliver services to the people as end-users. I’m trying to see if I have the opportunity to serve the people in the local legislative body,” he said.

Sarmiento, 61, also served as the chairman of the board of the Cebu City Operation Second Chance Center since 2004.

He was among the seven judges who handled the parricide case against cult leader and former Dinagat Island congressman Ruben Ecleo Jr.

Sarmiento revealed that members of the Philippine Benevolent Missionaries Association—the cult led by Ecleo— were looking for him on the day the family of Ecleo’s slain wife Alona were massacred in Mandaue City.

“In order to preserve the integrity of the court, I learned to respect myself. I kept remembering this so that the rank and honor won’t go into my head,” he said.

RTC Judge James Stewart Ramon Himalaloan temporarily took over Branch 24, a family court.

“I’m grateful for the opportunity to serve my people in the judiciary. The opportunity is passed on to equally competent and comparably dedicated individuals in order to infuse young blood into the service,” he said.

Sarmiento was a practicing lawyer for 15 years before he was appointed judge of the Municipal Trial Court in Cities in 1992.

He was appointed RTC judge in 2000. “It can be said that I was a good soldier of the court,” he said.

Aside from seeking a government post in Alcantara, Sarmiento said he would continue practicing his legal profession.

He said he can use the retirement benefits that he will have to help his children engage in micro business. /Ador Vincent Mayol, Reporter

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