POLI CASE DIGESTS 8 Part 1 - Judiciary Department

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POLITICAL LAW REVIEW CASE DIGESTS [8] Part 1: JUDICIARY DEPARTMENT CASAR VS SOLUREN AM NO. RTJ- 12 - 2333 AREVALO DOCTRINE: This Court has consistently enjoined judges to avoid not just impropriety in their conduct but even the mere appearance of impropriety6 because the appearance of bias or prejudice can be damaging as actual bias or prejudice to the public’s confidence on the Judiciary’s role in the administration of justice. To say the least, using detention prisoners who had cases before Judge Soluren cannot be countenanced.1âwphi1

YES. Judge Soluren opened herself to charges of impropriety when she went to the Aurora Provincial Jail to solicit the sympathies and signatures of the prisoners, especially those who had pendings cases in her sala. This Court has consistently enjoined judges to avoid not just impropriety in their conduct but even the mere appearance of impropriety 6 because the appearance of bias or prejudice can be damaging as actual bias or prejudice to the public’s confidence on the Judiciary’s role in the administration of justice. To say the least, using detention prisoners who had cases before Judge Soluren cannot be countenanced. MADRIAGA VS CBC GR NO. 192377. JULY 25, 2012



Complainants, who were the Assistant Provincial Prosecutors charged Judge Soluren with Gross Misconduct. They averred that on June 20 and 22, 2011 and July 19, 2011, Judge Soluren went to the Aurora Provincial Jail and conferred with the inmates including those who had pending cases before her sala. This was in contravention of Office of the Court Administrator (OCA) Circular No. 03-2010, dated January 12, 2010, which suspended the conduct of jail visitation and inspection by Executive Judges and Presiding Judges pending results of the re-examination of the provisions of A.M. No. 07-3-02-SC.

Judicial power presupposes actual controversies, the very antithesis of mootness. Where there is no more live subject of controversy, the Court ceases to have a reason to render any ruling or make any pronouncement.21 Courts generally decline jurisdiction on the ground of mootness – save when, among others, a compelling constitutional issue raised requires the formulation of controlling principles to guide the bench, the bar and the public; or when the case is capable of repetition yet evading judicial review,22 which are not extant in this case.

According to complainants, the purpose of Judge Soluren’s visit was to persuade the prisoners into signing a letter addressed to then Chief Justice Renato C. Corona, calling for the dismissal of the administrative complaint filed against her by Atty. Juliet M. Isidro-Reyes, District Public Attorney, Baler, Aurora, and for the removal of Judge Evelyn Atienza-Turla as Presiding Judge of RTC, Branch 6, Baler, Aurora. The Office of the Court Administrator (OCA) issued its Report, dated August 17, 2012, finding Judge Soluren guilty of Simple Misconduct and imposing upon her a fine of ten thousand pesos (P10,000.00) to be deducted from her retirement benefits in view of her compulsory retirement from the service on January 29, 2012. ISSUE: Whether or not Judge Soluren can be held liable for Simple Misconduct HELD:

FACTS: The spouses Rolando and Norma Trajano (Spouses Trajano) were the original registered owners of the properties in dispute – two residential properties located in Ibayo, Marilao, Bulacan, covered by TCT Nos. 114853(M) and 114854(M). Sometime in 1991, they agreed to sell the properties to the petitioner’s father, Cesar Madriaga, Sr. (Madriaga, Sr.) for P1,300,000.00 payable on installment basis. Upon completion of payment,4 Spouses Trajano executed in Madriaga, Sr.’s favor a Deed of Absolute Sale. Spouses Trajano, however, failed to deliver the lot titles, so Madriaga, Sr. sued for specific performance with the RTC Branch 19 of Malolos City. The parties later entered into a compromise agreement, which the court approved. On motion of Madriaga, Sr., the RTC issued a writ of execution on September 6, 1994, and several properties of Spouses Trajano were levied upon, including the disputed properties. At the auction held on February 22, 1995, Madriaga, Sr. was declared the winning bidder, and a certificate of sale was issued to him on. After the lapse of the one-year redemption period, he was issued a final deed of sale. On January 27, 1997, he secured an ex parte writ of possession.


POLITICAL LAW REVIEW CASE DIGESTS [8] Part 1: JUDICIARY DEPARTMENT Meanwhile, on January 2, 1995, Spouses Trajano obtained a loan from China Bank in the amount of P700,000.00, payable in one year and secured by a mortgage over the disputed properties. They defaulted on their loan, and on October 20, 1997, China Bank foreclosed the mortgage and was declared the highest bidder at the foreclosure sale.

the bar and the public; or when the case is capable of repetition yet evading judicial review,22 which are not extant in this case. PEOPLE VS GUTIERREZ GR NOS. L- 32282-83 NOV. 26,1970 DOCTRINE:

China Bank ex parte petition for writ of possession was granted. Undeterred, the petitioner filed a ―Motion to Quash/Abate the Writ of Possession, which was denied by the RTC in its Order stating that it was a ministerial duty to issue the writ. The RTC also noted that the petitioner’s motion had been mooted by the satisfaction of the writ on April 15, 2005, per the Sheriff’s return. CA ruled that the RTC did not commit grave abuse of discretion in denying Madriaga, Sr.’s motion to quash or abate the ex parte writ of possession for the reason that the motion had already been rendered moot and academic after the writ was satisfied on April 15, 2005 with the physical removal of Madriaga, Sr. from the premises. ISSUE: Whether or not the court is bound to rule on the petition despite the case being moot and academic HELD: NO. The trial court in its Order dated February 6, 2006 took note of the Sheriff’s return stating that the writ of possession it issued to China Bank had been satisfied on April 15, 2005 after the petitioner had been successfully removed from the subject premises, prompting the court to declare that the petitioner’s Motion to Quash/Abate the Writ of Possession has been rendered moot and academic. Indeed, with the writ of possession having been served and satisfied, the said motions had ceased to present a justiciable controversy, and a declaration thereon would be of no practical use or value.20 Judicial power presupposes actual controversies, the very antithesis of mootness. Where there is no more live subject of controversy, the Court ceases to have a reason to render any ruling or make any pronouncement.21 Courts generally decline jurisdiction on the ground of mootness – save when, among others, a compelling constitutional issue raised requires the formulation of controlling principles to guide the bench,

We must thus reject the idea that our courts, faced by an impasse of the kind now before Us, are to confess themselves impotent to further the cause of justice. The Constitution has vested the Judicial Power in the Supreme Court and such inferior courts as may be established by law (Article VIII, Section 13), and such judicial power connotes certain incidental and inherent attributes reasonably necessary for an effective administration of justice. The courts "can by appropriate means do all things necessary to preserve and maintain every quality needful to make the judiciary an effective institution of government" (Borromeo vs. Mariano, 41 Phil. 322). FACTS: In the morning of 22 May 1970, a group of armed persons descended and burned inhabited houses in barrio Ora Centro, municipality of Bantay, Province of Ilocos Sur, and in barrio Ora Este of the same municipality and province resulting in the destruction of various houses and in the death of an old woman. The respondents (17 identified together with 82 unidentified persons) herein were charged with arson with homicide and arson. Subsequently, on 18 June 1970, the Secretary of Justice issued Administrative Order No. 226, authorizing Judge Mario Gutierrez to transfer Criminal Cases Nos. 47-V and 48-V to the Circuit Criminal Court, "in the interest of justice and pursuant to Republic Act No. 5179. The prosecution moved the respondent judge for a transfer of cases 47-V and 48-V to the Circuit Criminal Court, invoking the Administrative Orders just mentioned and calling attention to the circumstance that they were issued at the instance of the witnesses seeking transfer of the hearing from Vigan to either San Fernando, La Union, or Baguio City, for reasons of security and personal safety, and they can be free from tension and terrorism as shown in their affidavits. The accused vigorously opposed such transfer. In view of the denial of the motion to transfer the cases to Circuit Criminal Court, the prosecution resorted to Us for writs of certiorari and mandamus, charging abuse of discretion and praying this Court to set aside the order of denial of the transfer and to compel the respondent Court of First Instance to remand the cases to the Circuit Criminal Court of the Second Judicial District, as well as to authorize the latter to try the


POLITICAL LAW REVIEW CASE DIGESTS [8] Part 1: JUDICIARY DEPARTMENT cases (47-V and 48-V) at either San Fernando, La Union, or Baguio City. Respondents in their answer denied any abuse of discretion in view of the fact that the Administrative Order No. 226 merely authorized the court below, but did not require or command it, to transfer the cases in question to the Circuit Criminal Court, and likewise denied that the circumstances justified any such transfer. [REASONS WHY THE COMPLAINANTS WOULD LIKE THE CASE TO BE TRANSFERRED TO A DIFFERENT COURT (based on their affidavit):] of the one hundred armed participants in the burning of the houses at barrios Ora Este and Ora Centro, Municipality of Bantay, some eighty-two (82) are still unidentified and at large; that one of the accused, private respondent Vincent Crisologo, belongs to an influential family in the province, being concededly the son of the Congressman for the first district of Ilocos Sur and of the lady Governor that the reluctant witnesses are themselves the complainants in the criminal cases, and, therefore, have reasons to fear that attempts will be made to silence them; that it is not shown that the Executive branch is able or willing to give these witnesses full security during the trial and for a reasonable time thereafter, that even if armed security escorts were to be provided, the same would be no guarantee against the possibility of murderous assault against the affiant witnesses, as recent events have proved; that Constabulary reports show that between 1 January and 31 May 1970 no less than 78 murders have been reported committed in said province, of which number only 21 were solved; and, finally, that the promotion and confirmation of respondent Judge Mario Gutierrez from Clerk of Court to Judge of the Court of First Instance of the Second Judicial District, Branch III, was actively supported by Congressman and Governor Crisologo, parents of accused Vincent Crisologo. ISSUE: 1) Whether or not the Secretary of Justice has power to determine what court should hear specific cases. 2) whether or not case can be heard in a different court in the interest of justice and truth HELD: 1) NO. We agree with respondents that the present laws do not confer upon the Secretary of Justice power to determine what court should hear specific cases. Any such power, even in the guise of administrative regulation of executive affairs, trenches upon the time-honored separation of the Executive and the Judiciary; and while not directly depriving the courts of their independence, it would endanger the rights and immunities

of the accused or civil party. It could be much too easily transformed into a means of predetermining the outcome of individual cases, so as to produce a result in harmony with the Administration's preferences. The creation by Republic Act No. 5179 of the Circuit Criminal Courts for the purpose of alleviating the burden of the regular Courts of First Instance, and to accelerate the disposition of criminal cases pending or to be filed therein, nowhere indicates an intent to permit the transfer of preselected individual cases to the circuit courts 2) YES. In the particular case before Us, to compel the prosecution to proceed to trial in a locality where its witnesses will not be at liberty to reveal what they know is to make a mockery of the judicial process, and to betray the very purpose for which courts have been established. Since the rigorous application of the general principle of Rule 110, Section 14 (a), would result here in preventing a fair and impartial inquiry into the actual facts of the case, it must be admitted that the exigencies of justice demand that the general rule relied upon by accused respondents should yield to occasional exceptions wherever there are weighty reasons therefor. Otherwise, the rigor of the law would become the highest injustice — "summum jus, summa in juria.‖ One of these incidental and inherent powers of courts is that of transferring the trial of cases from one court to another of equal rank in a neighboring site, whenever the imperative of securing a fair and impartial trial, or of preventing a miscarriage of justice, so demands. This authority was early recognized in England as inhering in the courts of justice even prior to the eighteenth century. The opinion in Crocker vs. Justices of the Superior Court, 208 Mass. 162, 21 Ann. Cases 1067, has shown how the eminent Lord Chief Justice Mansfield, in Rex vs. Cowle (Eng.) 2 Burr 834, decided in 1759, said that, in this respect, "the law is clear and uniform as far back as it can be traced.‖ That this Supreme Court, in the exercise of the Judicial Power vested by the Constitution upon it and other statutory Courts, possesses inherent power and jurisdiction to decree that the trial and disposition of a case pending in a Court of First Instance be transferred to another Court of First Instance within the same district whenever the interest of justice and truth so demand, and there are serious and weighty reasons to believe that a trial by the court that originally had jurisdiction over the case would not result in a fair and impartial trial and lead to a miscarriage of justice. IN THE MATTER OF THE IBP MEMBERSHIP DUES DELINQUENCY OF ATTY. MARCIAL A. EDILLION AC-1928. December 19, 1980 CRUZ, CHANINE


POLITICAL LAW REVIEW CASE DIGESTS [8] Part 1: JUDICIARY DEPARTMENT DOCTRINE: Membership in the bar is a privilege burdened with conditions. Failure to abide by any of them entails the loss of such privilege if the gravity thereof warrants such drastic move. Thereafter a sufficient time having elapsed and after actuations evidencing that there was due contrition on the part of the transgressor, he may once again be considered for the restoration of such a privilege; The IBP Board of Governors has the authority to recommend to the Supreme Court the removal of a delinquent member's name from the Roll of Attorneys. FACTS: Atty. Marcial Edillon was dibarred due to non-payment of his IBP dues. He claimed that the provisions of Sec. 10 of Rule 139-A of the Rules of Court is unconstitutional as he is being compelled, as a precondition in maintaining his good standing as a lawyer, to pay and settle his dues to the IBP. Petitioner stubbornly insisted his take and refused to admit full competence of the court in this matter. But after some time in realization, his recalcitrance and defiance were gone in his subsequent communication with the court. He appealed that his health, advanced age, and concern to his former clients’ welfare be considered in his prayer so that he can again practice law. ISSUE:

annual dues. The Supreme Court, in order to further the State’s legitimate interest in elevating the quality of professional legal services, may require that the cost of improving the profession in this fashion be shared by the subjects and beneficiaries of the regulatory program — the lawyers. Such compulsion is justified as an exercise of the police power of the State. The right to practice law before the courts of this country should be and is a matter subject to regulation and inquiry. And, if the power to impose the fee as a regulatory measure is recognize, then a penalty designed to enforce its payment, which penalty may be avoided altogether by payment, is not void as unreasonable or arbitrary. Considered in addition was the two (2) years Atty. Edillon was barred to practice law, and the dictum of Justice Malcolm in Villavicencio v. Lukban that ―the power to discipline, especially if amounting to disbarment, should be exercised in a preservative and not on the vindictive principle‖. After contrition on the part of the petitioner, the court finds reinstatement in order. MATURAN vs. JUDGE GUTIERREZ-TORRES A.M. OCA IPI No. 04-1606-MTJ. September 19, 2012 DOCTRINE: A judge must exert every effort to timely rule upon a case submitted for decision. If she thinks that she would need a period to decide a case or to resolve an issue longer than what the Constitution prescribes, she may request an extension from the Court to avoid administrative sanctions. FACTS:

Whether or not Atty. Edillon should be reinstated as member of the bar? RULING: YES. Admission to the bar is a privilege burdened with condition. Failure to abide entails loss of such privilege. When the Edillon entered upon the legal profession, his practice of law and his exercise of the said profession, which affect the society at large, were (and are) subject to the power of the body politic to require him to conform to such regulations as might be established by the proper authorities for the common good, even to the extent of interfering with some of his liberties. If he did not wish to submit himself to such reasonable interference and regulation, he should not have clothed the public with an interest in his concerns. To compel a lawyer to be a member of the Integrated Bar is not violative of his constitutional freedom to associate. Bar integration does not compel the lawyer to associate with anyone. He is free to attend or not attend the meetings of his Integrated Bar Chapter or vote or refuse to vote in its elections as he chooses. The only compulsion to which he is subjected is the payment of

Atty. Arturo Juanito T. Maturan, the counsel for the private complainant in Criminal Case No. 67659 entitled People v. Anicia C. Ventanilla, filed a sworn complaint against Judge Lizabeth Gutierrez-Torres, the former Presiding Judge of Branch 60 of the Metropolitan Trial Court in Mandaluyong City, charging her with unjustifiably delaying the rendition of the decision in his client's criminal case. Atty. Maturan averred that the criminal case had remained pending and unresolved despite its having been submitted for decision since June 2002. Atty. Maturan stated that Judge Gutierrez-Torres' failure to render the judgment within the 90-day period from submission of the case for decision violated Canon 3, Rule 3.05 of the Code of Judicial Conduct and the Constitution, and constituted gross inefficiency. The Office of the Court Administrator (OCA) directed Judge Gutierrez-Torres through its first indorsement of the complaint to submit her comment, and also to show cause why no disciplinary action should be taken against her for her violation of her professional responsibility. Judge Gutierrez-Torres implored the OCA to grant her a 20day extension of the period within which to submit her comment. Despite


POLITICAL LAW REVIEW CASE DIGESTS [8] Part 1: JUDICIARY DEPARTMENT her request being granted, she failed to submit a comment. The records show that Judge Gutierrez-Torres sought four more extensions of the period within which to submit a comment; and that the Court granted her further requests. Notwithstanding the liberality of the Court in granting several extensions, she still did not submit a comment. Thus, OCA recommended that Judge Gutierrez-Torres be administratively sanctioned.

extension of the period from the Court, through the OCA, and lay out in the request the justification for her inability. Yet, she did not at all do so in the Criminal Case. She was clearly guilty of gross inefficiency, especially because her inability to decide the case within the required period became absolutely devoid of excuse after she did not bother to proffer any explanation for her inability.



Whether or not Judge Gutierrez-Torres must be sanctioned? DOCTRINE: RULING: YES. Article VIII, Section 15 (1) of the 1987 Constitution requires that all cases or matters filed after the effectivity of the Constitution must be decided or resolved within twenty-four months from date of submission for the Supreme Court, and, unless reduced by the Supreme Court, twelve months for all lower collegiate courts, and three months for all other lower courts. Thereby, the Constitution mandates all justices and judges to be efficient and speedy in the disposition of the cases or matters pending in their courts. Reiterating the mandate, the New Code of Judicial Conduct for the Philippine Judiciary requires judges to "devote their professional activity to judicial duties, which include . . . the performance of judicial functions and responsibilities in court and the making of decisions . . .," and to "perform all judicial duties, including the delivery of reserved decisions, efficiently, fairly and with reasonable promptness." Likewise, Rule 3.05, Canon 3 of the Code of Judicial Conduct imposes on all judges the duty to dispose of their courts' business promptly and to decide cases within the required periods. These judicial canons directly demand efficiency from the judges in obvious recognition of the right of the public to the speedy disposition of their cases. In such context, the saying justice delayed is justice denied becomes a true encapsulation of the felt need for efficiency and promptness among judges. All judges should be mindful of the duty to decide promptly, knowing that the public's faith and confidence in the Judiciary are no less at stake if they should ignore such duty. They must always be aware that upon each time a delay occurs in the disposition of cases, their stature as judicial officers and the respect for their position diminish. The reputation of the entire Judiciary, of which they are among the pillars, is also thereby undeservedly tarnished. A judge like Judge Gutierrez-Torres should be imbued with a high sense of duty and responsibility in the discharge of the obligation to promptly administer justice. She must cultivate a capacity for promptly rendering her decisions. Should she anticipate that she would need a period longer than what the Constitution and the issuances of the Court prescribe within which to render her decision or resolution, she should request a proper

In the Judicial Department, the Supreme Court has the exclusive administrative supervision over all courts and its personnel. All cases against a judge or court personnel must be referred to the Supreme Court. The Ombudsman has no authority to determine whether a criminal complaint against a judge or court employee involves an administrative matter. FACTS: On May 20, 1997, petitioner Judge Jose F. Caoibes, Jr. and respondent Judge Florentino M. Alumbres were involved in a fight within the court premises. Respondent alleged therein that at the hallway on the third floor of the Hall of Justice, Las Piñas City, he requested petitioner to return the executive table he borrowed from respondent; that petitioner did not answer so respondent reiterated his request but before he could finish talking, petitioner blurted "Tarantado ito ah," and boxed him at his right eyebrow and left lower jaw so that the right lens of his eyeglasses was thrown away, rendering his eyeglasses unserviceable; and that respondent had the incident blottered with the Las Piñas Police Station. Thereafter, the respondent judge lodged before the Office of the Ombudsman, a criminal complaint for physical injuries, malicious mischief for the destruction of complainant's eyeglasses, and assault upon a person in authority. He prayed that criminal charges be filed before the Sandiganbayan against the petitioner judge. The respondent judge also filed an administrative complaint with the Supreme Court, praying for the dismissal of petitioner judge from the judiciary on the ground of grave misconduct or conduct unbecoming a judicial officer. Instead of filing a counter-affidavit, petitioner judge filed an "Ex-Parte Motion for Referral to the Honorable Supreme Court," praying that the Office of the Ombudsman hold its investigation of the case in abeyance, and refer the same to the Supreme Court. The motion for referral was, however, denied by the Office of the Ombudsman. Invoking Section 15 of R.A. 6770, the Office of the Ombudsman refused to refrain from taking cognizance of the cases in


POLITICAL LAW REVIEW CASE DIGESTS [8] Part 1: JUDICIARY DEPARTMENT favor of the Supreme Court on the ground that, allegedly, the accusations therein against petitioner judge constitute simple criminal charges falling within the parameters of its constitutional power and duty to investigate and prosecute any act or omission of any public officer or employee which appears to be illegal, unjust, improper or inefficient. The Office of the Ombudsman denied petitioner's motion for reconsideration and directed petitioner judge to submit a counter-affidavit. Petitioner sought recourse before the Supreme Court through a petition for certiorari. ISSUE: Whether or not Supreme Court has jurisdiction over the case? RULING: YES. Under Section 6, Article VIII of the Constitution, it is the Supreme Court, which is vested with exclusive administrative supervision over all courts and its personnel. Prescinding from this premise, the Ombudsman cannot determine for itself and by itself whether a criminal complaint against a judge, or court employee, involves an administrative matter. The Ombudsman is duty bound to have all cases against judges and court personnel filed before it, referred to the Supreme Court for determination as to whether an administrative aspect is involved therein. This rule should hold true regardless of whether an administrative case based on the act subject of the complaint before the Ombudsman is already pending with the Court. For, aside from the fact that the Ombudsman would not know of this matter unless he is informed of it, he should give due respect for and recognition of the administrative authority of the Court, because in determining whether an administrative matter is involved, the Court passes upon not only administrative liabilities but also other administrative concerns. Accordingly, the Court directed the Ombudsman to dismiss the complaint filed by the respondent Judge and to refer the same to the Court for appropriate action. IN RE: DEROGATORY NEWS ITEMS CHARGING COURT OF APPEALS ASSOCIATE JUSTICE DEMETRIO DEMETRIA WITH INTERFERENCE ON BEHALF OF A SUSPECTED DRUG QUEEN A.M. No. 00-7-09-CA March 27, 2001 CRUZ, TIN DOCTRINE: Although every office in the government service is a public trust, no position exacts a greater demand on moral righteousness and uprightness than a seat in the Judiciary. High ethical principles and a sense of

propriety should be maintained, without which the faith of the people in the Judiciary so indispensable in orderly society cannot be preserved. There is simply no place in the Judiciary for those who cannot meet the exacting standards of judicial conduct and integrity. FACTS: In an Information, State Prosecutor Formaran charged Yu Yuk Lai and Kenneth Monceda alias William Sy before the RTC Manila with violation of RA 6425 for willfully, unlawfully and feloniously selling and delivering to a poseurbuyer three (3) kilograms of shabu. Yu Yuk Lai and Kenneth Monceda were held at the detention cell of the PNP Narcotics Group in Camp Crame. Yu Yuk Lai filed a Petition for Bail on the ground that the evidence of her guilt was not strong. Upon receiving information that Yu Yuk Lai had been seen regularly playing in the casinos, Formaran filed an Urgent Ex-Parte Motion to Transfer the Detention of the Accused to the City Jail, which was granted. Judge Laguio, Jr. denied the petition for bail of accused Yu Yuk Lai for lack of merit. Consequently, both accused filed a Joint Motion for Inhibition. Judge Laguio, Jr. inhibited himself. The case was re-raffled to Branch 53, presided by Judge Colet. Accused Yu Yuk Lai then filed a Motion to Order the Confinement of the Accused in a Hospital. Before Judge Colet could resolve the motion, the case was handled by the Branch's Pairing Judge Manuel T. Muro. Judge Muro granted accused Yu Yuk Lai's motion and allowed her to be confined at the Manila Doctors Hospital for a period not exceeding seven (7) days, contrary to the recommendation of Dr. Rosal, that Yu Yuk Lai be confined at the Philippine General Hospital. Judge Muro granted Yu Yuk Lai's Urgent Motion for Extension of Medical Confinement for a period of one (1) month, or until such time that she is fit to be discharged from the said hospital. Judge Muro also granted Yu Yuk Lai's Motion for Leave of Court to File Demurrer to Evidence with Motion to Admit Demurrer to Evidence. Soon, rumors circulated in the Manila City Hall that Judge Muro was partial towards accused Yu Yuk Lai. Unidentified employees of the RTC Manila wrote the Secretary of Justice that Judge Muro ordered the hospitalization of Yu Yuk Lai even if she was not sick and there was already a rumor circulating around the City Hall that the notorious Judge had given the go signal to the counsel of the accused to file the Motion to Quash, which would be granted for a consideration of millions of pesos and the contact person was allegedly the daughter of the Judge, who was an employee in the said branch. Formaran filed a Motion for Inhibition praying that Judge Muro inhibit himself from further handling this case. Yu Yuk Lai was arrested inside the VIP room of the Casino Filipino at the Holiday Inn Pavilion, Manila, while playing baccarat. Then, the Motion for Inhibition of Judge Muro was heard and


POLITICAL LAW REVIEW CASE DIGESTS [8] Part 1: JUDICIARY DEPARTMENT submitted for resolution. Later, when Formaran arrived in his office, he was informed by his secretary that the staff of CA Justice Demetria had called earlier. As requested, Formaran immediately returned the call of Justice Demetria but the Justice had already gone out for lunch. Justice Demetria, Go Teng Kok and Atty. Paas, lawyer of Kok and a close friend of Justice Demetria, went to the office of Formaran in the DOJ. Kok immediately pleaded with Formaran to withdraw his motion to inhibit Judge Muro. Kok also expressed his apprehension that if Judge Muro would inhibit, a new judge might convict his friend, accused Yu Yuk Lai, who was then already receiving bad publicity. Justice Demetria then asked about the status of the case. Formaran informed the Justice that a motion for inhibition has been submitted for resolution. The Justice asked Formaran if he could do something to help Go Teng Kok. Formaran declined the request. But later, he told them that he would bring the matter to CSP Zuño. The Justice then left. Formaran went to see Zuño and informed the latter of what had transpired and denied the request of the justice. Zuño received a call from Justice Demetria who requested him to instruct Formaran to withdraw the motion for inhibition of Judge Muro so that the Judge could already issue an order. Then, The Philippine Daily Inquirer reported that a "Supreme Court Justice and an outspoken sports person and leader had been exerting "undue pressure" on the DOJ to go slow in prosecuting rearrested drug queen Yu Yuk Lai. That same afternoon, the names of Justice Demetria and Mr. Go Teng Kok were disclosed to the media to clear the name of the Supreme Court. There newspaper accounts reported that CA Justice Demetrio G. Demetria tried to intercede on behalf of suspected Chinese drug queen Yu Yuk Lai, alias Sze Yuk Lai, who went in and out of prison to play in a Manila casino. Then, Judge Muro inhibited himself from further hearing the case of Yu Yuk Lai and Kenneth Monceda. Chief Justice Davide issued a Memorandum to Justice Demetria directing him to comment on the derogatory allegations in the news items. Court En Banc ordered an investigation and designated. Justice Griño-Aquino as Investigator and Court Administrator Alfredo L. Benipayo as Prosecutor. Justice Demetria vehemently denied having interceded for Yu Yuk Lai. While he admitted that he indeed visited the DOJ, he went there to "visit old friends" and his meeting Go Teng Kok whom he did not know until that time was purely accidental. Expectedly, Atty. Paas and Go Teng Kok corroborated the claim of respondent Justice. Justice Demetria explained that he merely requested Formaran to do something to help Go Teng Kok about the case without ever specifying the kind of "help" that he requested. Justice Demetria claimed that if ever he said anything else during the discussion between Kok and Formaran, such was not a form of intervention. He only admonished Kok "to cool it" when the discussion between the prosecutor and Go Teng Kok became heated. While he asked about the status of the

case this, demonstrated his lack of knowledge about the case and bolstered his claim that he could not have possibly interceded for Yu Yuk Lai. Justice Demetria likewise argued that the bases of his identification by Zuño as the Justice exerting undue pressure on the DOJ were all hearsay. Demetria submitted that Zuño based his identification from a newspaper account, from the statement of his secretary that it was Demetria who was on the other end of the telephone and from Formaran when the latter consulted the Chief State Prosecutor about the visit of the Justice and Kok impliedly asking him to withdraw the motion. In defense of Justice Demetria, Atty. Paas stated that it was actually he who later called up Zuño to inquire about the latter's decision regarding the withdrawal of the motion to inhibit since Formaran had earlier told Kok that the matter would be taken up with his superiors. Justice Demetria maintained that it was inconceivable for him to ask Formaran whom he just met for the first time to do something for Kok whom he claimed he just likewise met for the first time. Neither did he know Yu Yuk Lai. It would be unthinkable for him to intercede in behalf of someone he did not know. Justice Demetria asserted that his meeting Kok at the DOJ was purely coincidence, if not accidental. Investigating Justice Griño-Aquino found Justice Demetria guilty of violating Rule 2.04, Canon 2, Code of Judicial Conduct and recommended that appropriate disciplinary action be taken against him by this Honorable Court. ISSUE: Whether or not Justice Demetria was administratively liable for his intervention in the case. HELD: Yes. While Justice Demetria vehemently denied interfering with the criminal case, his denial cannot stand against the positive assertions of Zuño and Formaran. The testimony of Zuño was plainly unambiguous and indubitably consistent with the other facts and circumstances surrounding the case. Justice Demetria was there to join forces with Go Teng Kok in arguing for the withdrawal of Formaran's Motion for Inhibition of Judge Muro, which was the real purpose of their visit to SP Formaran and to the DOJ. The coincidence in the timing of Justice Demetria's visit to SP Formaran's office and that of Kok could not have been 'accidental' but prearranged. And, visiting old friends only came as an afterthought. The circumstances simply show that Justice Demetria and Atty. Paas, together with Kok, did not go to the DOJ to see Sec. Tuquero, but to visit, if not "pressure," Zuño and Formaran. It is admitted that Demetria is a very close friend of Atty. Paas, lawyer of Kok. And, it is not necessary that Justice Demetria be


POLITICAL LAW REVIEW CASE DIGESTS [8] Part 1: JUDICIARY DEPARTMENT acquainted with Kok, Yu Yuk Lai or Formaran for him to intercede in behalf of the accused. It is enough that he is a close friend of the lawyer of Kok, who has been helping the accused, and that he wields influence as a former DOJ Undersecretary and later, Acting Secretary, and now, a Justice of the Court of Appeals. In sum, SC found the testimonies of the prosecution witnesses convincing and trustworthy, as compared to those of the defense which do not only defy natural human experience but are also riddled with major inconsistencies which create well-founded and overriding doubts. The conduct and behavior of everyone connected with an office charged with the dispensation of justice is circumscribed with the heavy of responsibility. His at all times must be characterized with propriety and must be above suspicion. His must be free of even a whiff of impropriety, not only with respect to the performance of his judicial duties, but also his behavior outside the courtroom and as a private individual. Unfortunately, Justice Demetrio Demetria failed failed to live up to this expectation. Through his indiscretions, Justice Demetria did not only make a mockery of his high office, but also caused incalculable damage to the entire Judiciary. The mere mention of his name in the national newspapers, allegedly lawyering for a suspected drug queen and interfering with her prosecution seriously undermined the integrity of the entire Judiciary. SC sustained the findings of the Investigating Justice and held Justice Demetria GUILTY of violating Rule 2.04 of the Code of Judicial Conduct. He was ordered DISMISSED from the service with forfeiture of all benefits and with prejudice to his appointment or reappointment to any government office, agency or instrumentality, including any government owned or controlled corporation or institution. MARBURY VS MADISON Caveat: No full case found. Taken from different internet sites. DOCTRINE: The Supreme Court has the authority to review acts of Congress and determine whether they are unconstitutional and therefore void. ―A Law repugnant to the Constitution is void.‖ –C.J Marshal (alam niyo naman mahilig sa quotable quotes ang lolo niyo) ―The Constitution of the United States, was not made to fit us like a strait jacket. In its elasticity lies its chief greatness.‖ –Woodrow Wilson

This case established the principle of judicial review, an important addition to the system of ―checks and balances‖ created to prevent any one branch of the Federal Government from becoming too powerful. The document shown here bears the marks of the Capitol fire of 1898. FACTS: On his last day in office, President John Adams named forty-two justices of the peace and sixteen new circuit court justices for the District of Columbia under the Organic Act. The Organic Act was an attempt by the Federalists to take control of the federal judiciary before Thomas Jefferson took office. The commissions were signed by President Adams and sealed by acting Secretary of State John Marshall (who later became Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and author of this opinion), but they were not delivered before the expiration of Adams’s term as president. Thomas Jefferson refused to honor the commissions, claiming that they were invalid because they had not been delivered by the end of Adams’s term. William Marbury (P) was an intended recipient of an appointment as justice of the peace. Marbury applied directly to the Supreme Court of the United States for a writ of mandamus to compel Jefferson’s Secretary of State, James Madison (D), to deliver the commissions. The Judiciary Act of 1789 had granted the Supreme Court original jurisdiction to issue writs of mandamus ―…to any courts appointed, or persons holding office, under the authority of the United States.‖ ISSUES: Does Marbury have a right to the commission? Does the law grant Marbury a remedy? Does the Supreme Court have the authority to review acts of Congress and determine whether they are unconstitutional and therefore void? Can Congress expand the scope of the Supreme Court’s original jurisdiction beyond what is specified in Article III of the Constitution? Does the Supreme Court have original jurisdiction to issue writs of mandamus? RULING: (Marshall) Yes. Marbury has a right to the commission. The order granting the commission takes effect when the Executive’s constitutional power of appointment has been exercised, and the power has been exercised when the last act required from the person possessing the power has been


POLITICAL LAW REVIEW CASE DIGESTS [8] Part 1: JUDICIARY DEPARTMENT performed. The grant of the commission to Marbury became effective when signed by President Adams.

No. The Supreme Court does not have original jurisdiction to issue writs of mandamus.

Yes. The law grants Marbury a remedy. The very certainly consists in the right of every individual to the laws whenever he receives an injury. One government is to afford

To enable this court then to issue a mandamus, it must be shown to be an exercise of appellate jurisdiction, or to be necessary to enable them to exercise appellate jurisdiction.

essence of civil liberty claim the protection of of the first duties of that protection.

Where a specific duty is assigned by law, and individual rights depend upon the performance of that duty, the individual who considers himself injured has a right to resort to the law for a remedy. The President, by signing the commission, appointed Marbury a justice of the peace in the District of Columbia. The seal of the United States, affixed thereto by the Secretary of State, is conclusive testimony of the verity of the signature, and of the completion of the appointment. Having this legal right to the office, he has a consequent right to the commission, a refusal to deliver which is a plain violation of that right for which the laws of the country afford him a remedy. Yes. The Supreme Court has the authority to review acts of Congress and determine whether they are unconstitutional and therefore void. It is emphatically the duty of the Judicial Department to say what the law is. Those who apply the rule to particular cases must, of necessity, expound and interpret the rule. If two laws conflict with each other, the Court must decide on the operation of each. If courts are to regard the Constitution, and the Constitution is superior to any ordinary act of the legislature, the Constitution, and not such ordinary act, must govern the case to which they both apply. No. Congress cannot expand the scope of the Supreme Court’s original jurisdiction beyond what is specified in Article III of the Constitution. The Constitution states that ―the Supreme Court shall have original jurisdiction in all cases affecting ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls, and those in which a state shall be a party. In all other cases, the Supreme Court shall have appellate jurisdiction.‖ If it had been intended to leave it in the discretion of the Legislature to apportion the judicial power between the Supreme and inferior courts according to the will of that body, this section is mere surplusage and is entirely without meaning. If Congress remains at liberty to give this court appellate jurisdiction where the Constitution has declared their jurisdiction shall be original, and original jurisdiction where the Constitution has declared it shall be appellate, the distribution of jurisdiction made in the Constitution, is form without substance.

It is the essential criterion of appellate jurisdiction that it revises and corrects the proceedings in a cause already instituted, and does not create that case. Although, therefore, a mandamus may be directed to courts, yet to issue such a writ to an officer for the delivery of a paper is, in effect, the same as to sustain an original action for that paper, and is therefore a matter of original jurisdiction. NB: When James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, and John Jay wrote a defense of the Constitution in The Federalist, they explained their judgment that a strong national government must have built-in restraints: ―You must first enable government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself.‖ The writers of the Constitution had given the executive and legislative branches powers that would limit each other as well as the judiciary branch. The Constitution gave Congress the power to impeach and remove officials, including judges or the President himself. The President was given the veto power to restrain Congress and the authority to appoint members of the Supreme Court with the advice and consent of the Senate. In this intricate system, the role of the Supreme Court had not been defined. It therefore fell to a strong Chief Justice like Marshall to complete the triangular structure of checks and balances by establishing the principle of judicial review. Although no other law was declared unconstitutional until the Dred Scott decision of 1857, the role of the Supreme Court to invalidate Federal and state laws that are contrary to the Constitution has never been seriously challenged. HEBRON VS JUDGE MATIAS GARCIA A.M. No. RTJ-12-2334, November 14, 2012 DOCTRINE: Article VIII, Section 15 of the 1987 Constitution mandates that "all cases or matters filed after the effectivity of the Constitution must be decided or resolved within twenty-four months from date of submission for the SC, and, unless reduced by the SC, twelve months for all collegiate courts, and three months for all other courts." FACTS:


POLITICAL LAW REVIEW CASE DIGESTS [8] Part 1: JUDICIARY DEPARTMENT Hebron was the complainant in Criminal Case for falsification of public document which he filed against one Aladin Simundac (Simundac) relative to the latter’s application for free patent over a property situated in Carmona, Cavite. When Simundac’s motion to suspend proceedings was denied by the Municipal Trial Court (MTC) of Carmona, Cavite where the criminal case was pending, Simundac filed with the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Bacoor, Cavite a petition for certiorari with prayer for issuance of temporary restraining order (TRO) and writ of preliminary injunction, and raffled to RTC presided by respondent Judge Garcia. Hebron filed a motion for Judge Garcia’s inhibition, citing his perceived bias and partiality of Judge Garcia, who had earlier dismissed Civil Case No. BCV-2005-94 also filed by Hebron against Simundac. A hearing on Simundac’s application for injunctive writ was conducted by Judge Garcia on April 16, 2009, when he issued a Temporary Restraining Order and/or Writ of Preliminary Injunction. Now, Atty. Frolin Remonquillo filed a Motion to Inhibit. Atty. Bingle B. Talatala, counsel for the petitioner, moved that she be given ten (10) days to file her comment. Atty. Remonquillo prayed that he be given the same number of days within which to file his reply, if necessary. After which, the incident is submitted for resolution. Both parties agreed to maintain the status quo until this Court could have resolved the incident. On June 2, 2009, Judge Garcia set for June 8, 2009 another hearing on the application for TRO. Come June 8, 2009, he issued an Order that states, "by agreement of the parties, let them be given time to file their respective position papers." On September 18, 2009, he finally issued his Order granting Simundac’s application for preliminary injunction, which led to the suspension of the proceedings in Criminal Case No. CC-07-43. He denied in the same Order Hebron’s motion for inhibition. Against the foregoing antecedents, Hebron filed the administrative complaint with the OCA, claiming that: (1) Judge Garcia "distorted the facts" to justify his issuance of the writ of preliminary injunction; (2) neither Hebron nor hiscounsel could have agreed on June 8, 2009 to file a position paper on Simundac’s application for injunctive writ, since they were both absent during the hearing on said date; (3) Judge Garcia was guilty of "ignorance of the rule and jurisprudence" for ordering the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction without first conducting a hearing thereon; (4) Judge Garcia had ignored existing jurisprudence, making his rulings "beyond the permissible margin oferror" and (5) Judge Garcia should have recused himself from Civil Case No. BSC No. 2009-02, given his bias and partiality in favor of Simundac.

Motion for Reconsideration (MFR) of the order of Judge Garcia were filed and submitted for resolution and hearing was set. But no hearing happened. A second MFR was filed and the same was set for hearing. Up to the present, after the lapse of one (1) year, nine (9) months and fourteen (14) days, no notice of resolution on our Motion for Reconsideration was sent to his counsel or tocomplainant. Any motion, regardless of whether the motions were frivolous or dilatory, and not germane to the pending case respondent judge should have resolved the same citing the facts and the law on which the order was based within the time prescribed by the rules (Aries vs. Beldia, 476 SCRA 298). OCA recommended that Judge Garcia be administratively liable for the delay. However, before acting upon OCA’s report, complainant withdrew his complaint. ISSUE: WON Respondent Judge is liable for the delay in resolving the MFR HELD: YES. Hebron’s withdrawal of his complaint against Judge Garcia does not necessarily warrant its dismissal. In Bayaca v. Ramos we explained: We have repeatedly ruled in a number of cases that mere desistance or recantation by the complainant does not necessarily result in the dismissal of an administrative complaint against any member of the bench. The withdrawal of complaints cannot divest the Court of its jurisdiction nor strip it of its power to determine the veracity of the charges made and to discipline, such as the results of its investigation may warrant, an erring respondent. Administrative actions cannot depend on the will or pleasure of the complainant who may, for reasons of his own, condone what may be detestable. Neither can the Court be bound by the unilateral act of the complainant in a matter relating to its disciplinary power. The Court’s interest in the affairs of the judiciary is of paramount concern. x x x. Given this doctrine, the Court has resolved to allow the administrative case to proceed, especially after taking due consideration of the nature of the offense which, per the evaluation of the OCA, had been committed by Judge Garcia. The Court fully agrees with the OCA’s report that Judge Garcia cannot be held administratively liable for the alleged wrongful rulings that he made in the Civil Case. Time and again, we have ruled that the errors attributed to judges pertaining to the exercise of their adjudicative functions should be assailed in judicial proceedings instead of in an administrative case.


POLITICAL LAW REVIEW CASE DIGESTS [8] Part 1: JUDICIARY DEPARTMENT Even assuming arguendo that respondent Judge made an erroneous interpretation of the law, the matter is judicial in nature. Well-entrenched is the rule that a party’s remedy, if prejudiced by the orders of a judge given in the course of a trial, is the proper reviewing court, and not with the OCA by means of an administrative complaint. As a matter of policy, in the absence of fraud, dishonesty or corruption, the acts of a judge in his judicial capacity are not subject to disciplinary action even though such acts are erroneous. The Court has to be shown acts or conduct of the judge clearly indicative of arbitrariness or prejudice before the latter can be branded the stigma of being biased and partial. To hold otherwise would be to render judicial office untenable, for no one called upon to try the facts or interpret the law in the process of administering justice can be infallible in his judgment.

reglementary period of ninety (90) days constitutes gross inefficiency and warrants the imposition of administrative sanction against the erring judge. This is not only a blatant transgression of the Constitution but also of the Code of Judicial Conduct, which enshrines the significant duty of magistrates to decide cases promptly.

However, Judge Garcia’s undue delay in resolving Hebron’s motion for reconsideration is a wrong of a different nature which warrants a different treatment. Article VIII, Section 15 of the 1987 Constitution mandates that "all cases or matters filed after the effectivity of the Constitution must be decided or resolved within twenty-four months from date of submission for the SC, and, unless reduced by the SC, twelve months for all collegiate courts, and three months for all other courts." In relation thereto, SC Administrative Circular No. 13-87 provides that "judges shall observe scrupulously the periods prescribed by Article VIII, Section 15 of the Constitution for the adjudication and resolution of all cases or matters submitted in their courts. Thus, all cases or matters must be decided or resolved within twelve months from date of submission by all lower collegiate courts while all other lower courts are given a period of three months to do so."


Judge Garcia failed to meet this three-month deadline. He explained his delay by saying that "the Motion for Reconsideration was inadvertently not acted upon by the Court for an unreasonable length of time," because it noticed its pendency only when it conducted an inventory of its cases in July 2011. Unfortunately for Judge Garcia, such poor excuse merits no weight for his exoneration from the charge. It, in fact, demonstrates serious errors in Judge Garcia’s performance of his duties and the management of his court. For such error, even Judge Garcia has admitted that the delay in resolving the motion to reconsider has dragged on for an "unreasonable length of time."19Furthermore, we observe that he should have been prompted to take immediate action by the two motions to resolve that were filed by Hebron, yet even these two motions remained unacted upon. To the Court, the volume of Judge Garcia’s pending cases did not justify the delay. The failure to decide cases and other matters within the

He was ordered to pay fine of 2000php and sternly warned that repetition of the same will be dealt more severely. OFFICE OF THE COURT ADMINISTRATOR VS. HON. LIBERTY O. CASTAÑEDA, ET.AL. A.M. NO. RTJ-12-2316 || OCTOBER 9, 2012 DUMALANTA

Judges, clerks of court and other court employees share in the same duty and obligation to ascertain that justice is dispensed promptly. It bears to stress that it is the judge, who has, at the end of the day, the ultimate responsibility that the professional competence of her staff is constantly displayed, and to take the necessary steps when she feels the same is not observed or begins to take a downward path. FACTS: The case is an administrative matter sprouting from the results of two judicial audits and physical inventory of cases conducted from September 29, 2008 to October 8, 2008 in the RTC Branch 67 court of Paniqui, Tarlac, presided over by Judge Liberty O. Castaneda. The follow-up audit was held on February 1 to 4, 2011. It came to the attention of the OCA, per the auditing team’s report, that as of audit date, Branch 67 had a caseload of 1, 123 consisting of 406 criminal cases and 717 civil cases. 70 cases were deemed submitted for decision, but 18 had not been decided notwithstanding the lapse of the mandatory 90-day period for resolution. Despite these shortcomings, respondent Judge certified in her Certificates of Service that she had no more pending cases and incidents, and this allowed her to be able to claim her salaries. It was also discovered that 164 cases have not been acted upon; 14 cases with pending incidents and no initial action taken on 27 more cases. There were also criminal cases haphazardly archived, and even the Clerk of Court, herein respondent Atty. Paulino I. Saguyod, issued commitment orders without written authority from respondent judge.


POLITICAL LAW REVIEW CASE DIGESTS [8] Part 1: JUDICIARY DEPARTMENT The most serious of the irregularities was that Branch 67 had become notorious for annulment and legal separation cases. It was found that out of the 717 civil cases, 522 of those or 72.08% involved nullity of marriage, annulment and legal separation. One notorious case was that of Dodgie Banaid vs. Lea Borreo-Banaid, where petitioner and respondent were made to appear as residents of Tarlac when they were in fact residents of Infanta, Quezon. Not only were respondent judge and the Clerk of Court found with infractions. The stenographers were found to neglect attaching pertinent documents to court records; the utility worker was found to be incompetent in stitching together said records, and the court sheriff was found in many instances to haphazardly utilize substituted summons with no real effort for personal service for summons. The OCA recommended dismissal from service with forfeiture of all retirement benefits with prejudice to re-employment in government instrumentalities for respondent judge. The Clerk of Court suspended for 6 months; the stenographers, sheriff and utility worker ordered fined Php 5,000.00 each. ISSUE: WON the recommendation of the OCA is to be upheld? HELD: 1.) YES. The Supreme Court upheld the findings and recommendations of the OCA in all incidents and penalties. Respondent Judge was found to have violated Section 5, Canon 6 of the New Code of Judicial Conduct and Section 15(1), Article VIII of the Constitution on the inexplicable delay in disposing of the cases under her responsibility. She had failed to decide 40 cases from the first audit and 22 cases from the 2 nd audit. She also did not apply for an extension to finish the matters pending before her court. Her failure to perform her judicial duties is inexcusable. Moreover, respondent also blatantly falsified her certificates of service to be able to collect her salary and this makes her liable for serious misconduct and inefficiency. The Court also agreed with the extensive explanation of the OCA regarding the scandalous transgressions regarding the actions for annulment and legal separation. For such open disregard of the provisions of A.M. Nos. 02-11-10-SC and 02-11-11-SC, respondent judge is also found guilty of gross ignorance of the law and procedure. Her haste in granting these

actions without compliance with the rules and evident irregularities also displayed her lack of competence, probity and grave abuse of authority. The penalties as against the Clerk of Court, the sherriff, the stenographers and the utility worker were all likewise affirmed. RE: CASES SUBMITTED FOR DECISION BEFORE HON. TEOFILO D. BALUMA, FORMER JUDGE BRANCH 1, RTC, TAGBILARAN CITY, BOHOL A.M. No. RTJ-13-2355 September 2, 2013 DOCTRINE: Article VIII, Section 15(1) of the 1987 Constitution provides that lower courts have three months within which to decide cases or resolve matters submitted to them for resolution. Moreover, Canon 3, Rule 3.05 of the Code of Judicial Conduct enjoins judges to dispose of their business promptly and decide cases within the required period. FACTS: The matter involves the request for clearance of Judge Teofilo D. Baluma in support of his application or his retirement/gratuity benefits under RA 910, as a amended. Judge Baluma availed of optional retirement on July 22, 2011. According to the Certification of Juan J. Lumanas, OIC, RTC Branch 1, there were 23 cases submitted for decision/resolution left undecided by Judge Baluma. All 23 cases were already beyond the reglementary period for decision when Judge Baluma retired. The same cases were also the subject of a Memorandum from the OCA where Judge Baluma was required to explain why he failed to act upon the cases. The processing of Judge Baluma’s clearance was put on hold pending clearance with the OCA. Meanwhile, Judge Baluma’s son, Atty. Cristifil D. Baluma, averred that his father was suffering from depression and requested for the early release of Judge Baluma’s retirement pay and other benefits. He also asked that if any amount needs to be withheld, Judge Baluma’s health condition should be taken into consideration. The OCA recommended that Judge Baluma be fined Php 46,000.00 for gross inefficiency for failure to decide his pending 23 cases, but that the value of his terminal leave be released. ISSUE:


POLITICAL LAW REVIEW CASE DIGESTS [8] Part 1: JUDICIARY DEPARTMENT WON Judge Baluma should be fined? HELD: NO. The Supreme Court modified the penalty and fined Judge Baluma only in the amount of Php 20,000.00. While the Constitution and the Code of Judicial Conduct enjoins judges to conclude their businesses promptly, the high court is not unaware of the heavy caseload of trial courts. The fines imposed on each judge may vary, depending on the number of cases left unresolved, plus the presence of aggravating or mitigating circumstances, such as the damage suffered by the parties as a result of the delay, and the health and age of the judge. Considering that Judge Baluma only left 23 cases despite his failure to explain nor express remorse for his offense, but that he is also suffering from depression and this is his first infraction, the Court lowered the fine recommended and imposed.


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