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Cebu News

Retired judge fined for delayed decisions

Mylen P. Manto - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines - For failure to resolve cases within the reglementary period of three months, the former presiding judge of Regional Trial Court Branch 53 in Lapu-Lapu City was found guilty of an administrative case.

Enriqueta Vidal, clerk of court of the Supreme Court en banc, found Judge Benedicto G. Cobarde guilty of undue delay in rendering the decision in 191 cases filed before his court. Cobarde was ordered to pay a fine in the amount of P100,000 to be deducted from his retirement benefits.

“Under the circumstances, this Court deems it sufficient to fine Judge Cobarde in the amount of Pl00,000.00 for his failure to decide 191 cases submitted for decision within the reglementary period prior to his retirement,” the notice read.

Andrea Maratas, branch clerk of court of RTC Branch 53, disclosed that as of August 31, 2011, there were 191 cases submitted for decision before Cobarde that were already beyond the reglementary period. The said cases were 73 criminal cases, 112 civil and special proceeding cases and six cadastral cases.

The Office of the Court Administrator then re-docketed the matter as regular administrative case and imposed a P200,000 fine against Cobarde for gross inefficiency which shall be deducted from his retirement benefits.

Vidal found the recommendation of the OCA proper except for the amount imposed on Cobarde.

She said under the Revised Rules of the Court, undue delay in rendering decision is a less serious offense punishable by suspension from office without salary and other benefits for not less than one month nor more than three months, or a fine of more than P10,000 but not exceeding P20,000.

Because it was not the first offense of Cobarde, Vidal said the court deemed it sufficient to fine him P100,000.

“There were cases, however, in which this Court did not rigidly apply the Rules on the maximum amount of fine that may be imposed against the erring judge. In fact, this Court discussed in Re: Cases Submitted for Decision before Hon. Teresita A. Andoy, former Judge, Municipal Trial Court, Cainta, Rizal the varying amounts of fines imposed for the same offense depending on the circumstances of each case,” the notice further read, adding Cobarde had already been found guilty of same offense on three separate occasions and was fined the amounts of P20,000, Pl5,000 and P5,000, respectively.

Section 15(1), Article VIII of the 1987 Constitution mandates that the lower courts to decide or resolve all cases within the reglementary period of three months.   (FREEMAN)

vuukle comment

ANDREA MARATAS

CASES

CASES SUBMITTED

COBARDE

COURT

ENRIQUETA VIDAL

JUDGE BENEDICTO G

JUDGE COBARDE

LAPU-LAPU CITY

MUNICIPAL TRIAL COURT

OFFICE OF THE COURT ADMINISTRATOR

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