Cebu News

Judge fined for delayed decision

Mylen P. Manto - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines - The Supreme Court  meted a presiding judge of the Municipal Circuit Trial Court of Asturias-Balamban, Cebu  a P40,000 fine after it found her guilty of administrative case for  delay in a rendering decision.

In a decision penned by Associate Justice Estela Perlas-Bernabe, the SC found that Judge Mary Jocylen Regencia failed to render judgment in the ejectment case within the 30-day reglementary period.

The SC warned Regencia not to repeat the same act in the future.

“It is undisputed that Civil Case No. 212-B was already submitted for resolution on October 17, 2008. Being an ejectment case, it is governed by the Rules of Summary Procedure which clearly sets a period of thirty days from the submission of the last affidavit or position paper within which a decision thereon must be issued. Despite this, Judge Regencia rendered judgment only about two years and four months later, or on February 18, 2011,” the decision reads.

Gershon Dulang, who filed the complaint, alleged that the judge committed gross inefficiency, gross ignorance of the law, gross incompetence, serious misconduct and serious dereliction of duty for the much delayed decision on the case filed on February 2, 2000.

Dulang said that on May 4, 2009, he moved for the resolution of the ejectment case that they filed considering it had already been submitted for resolution.

He said that the notice of judgment for the civil case entitled “Spouses Gershon Dulang and Luzviminda Dulang, represented by Reynaldo Moldez versus Emmanuel Flores,” was issued on March 7, 2011 and mailed on March 15, 2011. 

On September 1, 2011, Dulang said he filed a verified supplemental complaint before the Office of the Court Administrator (OCA) dated May 28, 2011 alleging that despite the filing of notice of appeal from the Regencia’s order dated February 18, the judge issued an order on August 1, 2011.

He said the judge should have not issued an order considering that she had no jurisdiction over the case.

For her defense,Regencia denied the allegations, saying that she assumed as MCTC judge only in November 2002.

She maintained that there was no trial conducted in the ejectment case as both parties merely filed their respective position papers.

Regencia said she could have resolved the case easily if not for another case pending before the Regional Trial Court of Toledo City Civil Case No. T-862 entitled “Spouses Emmanuel Flores and Daisy Flores versus Spouses Jose G. Paulin and Eleodora Ganhinhin, et al,” which was “closely intertwined” with the case filed by Dulang against Emmanuel Flores.

Regencia said she found it prudent to defer the resolution of the Civil Case No. 212-B until  the other civil case was decided. She said that she only presided over the case on November 15, 2007.

The judge added that she issued an order dated August 1, 2011 because Emmanuel Flores filed an opposition on the notice of appeal filed by Dulang.

The case was referred to RTC Executive Judge Hermes Montero of Toledo City in 2012 to conduct an investigation, make a report and recommendation.

Montero said that based on his investigation, he found Regencia administratively liable.

Montero added that contrary to the contentions of the respondent, there was no suspension of the proceedings that was agreed upon by the parties.

Regencia questioned the findings of Montero. She said that Montero cannot be expected to make an impartial investigation of the case considering that he is a “compadre” of Dulang’s lawyer.

The OCA agreed with the findings of Montero holding Regencia administratively liable.

With the foregoing facts, SC ruled in favor of the complainant.

“Prompt disposition of cases is attained basically through the efficiency and dedication to duty of judges. If judges do not possess those traits, delay in the disposition of cases is inevitable to the prejudice of the litigants. Accordingly, judges should be imbued with a high sense of duty and responsibility in the discharge of their obligation to administer justice promptly,” the decision further reads.  — (FREEMAN)











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