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Prof. Joselito Guianan Chan's The Labor Code of the Philippines, Annotated Labor Standards & Social Legislation Volume I of a 3-Volume Series 2019 Edition (3rd Revised Edition)
 

 
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UNITED STATES SUPREME COURT JURISPRUDENCE
 

 
PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT JURISPRUDENCE
 

   
June-2001 Jurisprudence                 

  • A.M. No. P-00-1446 June 6, 2001 - PATERNO R. PLANTILLA v. RODRIGO G. BALIWAG

  • A.M. No. P-91-642 June 6, 2001 - SOLEDAD LAURO v. EFREN LAURO

  • G.R. No. 92328 June 6, 2001 - DAP MINING ASSO. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 100579 June 6, 2001 - LEANDRO P. GARCIA v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 113918 June 6, 2001 - MARCELINA G. TRINIDAD, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 121272 June 6, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. REYDERICK LAGO

  • G.R. No. 122353 June 6, 2001 - EVANGELINE DANAO v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 129534 & 141169 June 6, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. NESTOR MACANDOG, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 138949 June 6, 2001 - UNION BANK OF THE PHIL. v. SEC

  • G.R. No. 138971 June 6, 2001 - PEZA v. RUMOLDO R FERNANDEZ

  • G.R. No. 139034 June 6, 2001 - DEVELOPMENT BANK OF THE PHIL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 139323 June 6, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. CARLO ELLASOS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 140128 June 6, 2001 - ARNOLD P. MOLLANEDA v. LEONIDA C. UMACOB

  • G.R. No. 140277 June 6, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL v. GUILLERMO BALDAGO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 141529 June 6, 2001 - FRANCISCO YAP, JR. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 142888 June 6, 2001 - EVELIO P. BARATA v. BENJAMIN ABALOS JR.

  • G.R. No. 143561 June 6, 2001 - JONATHAN D. CARIAGA v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 110335 June 18, 2001 - IGNACIO GONZALES, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • A.M. No. RTJ-01-1615 June 19, 2001 - WINNIE BAJET v. PEDRO M. AREOLA

  • A.M. No. RTJ-01-1633 June 19, 2001 - ANTONIO and ELSA FORTUNA v. MA. NIMFA PENACO-SITACA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 99433 June 19, 2001 - PROJECT BUILDERS, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 114944 June 19, 2001 - MANUEL C. ROXAS, ET AL. v. CONRADO M. VASQUEZ, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 120701 June 19, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. JONATHAN CRISANTO

  • G.R. No. 123916 June 19, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. LYNTON ASUNCION

  • G.R. No. 130605 June 19, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. FELIX UGANAP, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 132160 June 19, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. MARIO DE LEON, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 132223 June 19, 2001 - BONIFACIA P. VANCIL v. HELEN G. BELMES

  • G.R. No. 134895 June 19, 2001 - STA. LUCIA REALTY and DEV’T., ET AL. v. LETICIA CABRIGAS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 137164 June 19, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ALBERT NUBLA

  • G.R. No. 137752 June 19, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ROBERT AYUNGON

  • G.R. Nos. 138298 & 138982 June 19, 2001 - RAOUL B. DEL MAR v. PAGCOR, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 139313 June 19, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. FLORANTE LEAL

  • G.R. No. 140690 June 19, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. NAZAR U. CHAVEZ

  • G.R. No. 141441 June 19, 2001 - JOSE SUAN v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • A.M. No. 00-10-230-MTCC June 20, 2001 - RE: JULIAN C. OCAMPO III AND RENATO C. SAN JUAN

  • A.M. No. 00-11-521-RTC June 20, 2001 - RE: AWOL OF MS. LILIAN B. BANTOG

  • A.M. No. P-99-1346 June 20, 2001 - RESTITUTO L. CASTRO v. CARLOS BAGUE

  • A.M. No. RTJ-00-1606 June 20, 2001 - PATRIA MAQUIRAN v. LILIA G. LOPEZ

  • G.R. No. 84831 June 20, 2001 - PACENCIO ABEJARON v. FELIX NABASA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 109666 June 20, 2001 - ROGERIO R. OLAGUER, ET AL. v. EUFEMIO DOMINGO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 113564 June 20, 2001 - INOCENCIA YU DINO v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 115851 June 20, 2001 - LA JOLLA v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 127129 June 20, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ROLANDO CABAYA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 128617 June 20, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. CESAR BACUS

  • G.R. Nos. 129292-93 June 20, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ARLENGEN DEGALA

  • G.R. No. 130524 June 20, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. RUDY MADIA

  • G.R. No. 131036 June 20, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. DONATO DEL ROSARIO

  • G.R. Nos. 135976-80 June 20, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. CLAUDIO GALENO

  • G.R. No. 138629 June 20, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. RAMON CAMACHO

  • G.R. No. 139430 June 20, 2001 - EDI STAFF BUILDERS INTERNATIONAL v. FERMINA D. MAGSINO

  • G.R. Nos. 139445-46 June 20, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. RODRIGO GONZALES

  • G.R. No. 142304 June 20, 2001 - CITY OF MANILA v. OSCAR SERRANO, ET AL.

  • A.M. No. MTJ-01-1342 June 21, 2001 - BISHOP CRISOSTOMO A. YALUNG, ET AL. v. ENRIQUE M. PASCUA

  • G.R. No. 108558 June 21, 2001 - ANDREA TABUSO, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 109197 June 21, 2001 - JAYME C. UY, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 111580 & 114802 June 21, 2001 - SHANGRI-LA INTERNATIONAL HOTEL MNGT. LTD. ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 116200-02 June 21, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ELEUTERIO TAN, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 131131 June 21, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ABELARDO SALONGA

  • G.R. No. 134138 June 21, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. EDMUNDO BRIONES AYTALIN

  • G.R. Nos. 135552-53 June 21, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ABEL ABACIA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 139542 June 21, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. INOCENCIO GONZALEZ

  • G.R. No. 140206 June 21, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. RODOLFO MATYAONG

  • G.R. No. 142023 June 21, 2001 - SANNY B. GINETE v. SUNRISE MANNING AGENCY, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 103068 June 22, 2001 - MEAT PACKING CORP. OF THE PHIL. v. SANDIGANBAYAN, ET AL.

  • A.M. No. MTJ-96-1110 June 25, 2001 - MANUEL N. MAMBA, ET AL. v. DOMINADOR L. GARCIA

  • G.R. No. 116710 June 25, 2001 - DANILO D. MENDOZA v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 117857 June 25, 2001 - LUIS S. WONG v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 128126 June 25, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. RAFAEL M. CATAPANG

  • G.R. No. 132051 June 25, 2001 - TALA REALTY SERVICES CORP. v. BANCO FILIPINO SAVINGS AND MORTGAGE BANK

  • G.R. No. 134068 June 25, 2001 - UNION BANK OF THE PHIL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 136221 June 25, 2001 - EQUATORIAL REALTY DEVELOPMENT v. MAYFAIR THEATER

  • G.R. No. 136382 June 25, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. FIDEL ALBORIDA

  • G.R. Nos. 138439-41 June 25, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. MARIO PANGANIBAN

  • G.R. No. 141141 June 25, 2001 - PAGCOR v. CARLOS P. RILLORAZA

  • G.R. No. 141801 June 25, 2001 - SOLOMON ALVAREZ v. COURT OF APPEALS

  • G.R. No. 143428 June 25, 2001 - SANDOVAL SHIPYARDS, ET AL. v. PRISCO PEPITO, ET AL.

  • A.M. No. 99-11-423-RTC June 26, 2001 - RE: Report on the Judicial Audit Conducted in the Regional Trial Court

  • A.M. No. RTJ-99-1461 June 26, 2001 - RICARDO DELA CRUZ v. HERMINIA M. PASCUA

  • A.M. No. RTJ-99-1486 June 26, 2001 - OFFICE OF THE COURT ADMINISTRATOR v. ISMAEL SANCHEZ

  • G.R. Nos. 110547-50 & 114526-667 June 26, 2001 - JOSE SAYSON v. SANDIGANBAYAN ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 120859 June 26, 2001 - METROPOLITAN BANK AND TRUST COMPANY v. FRANCISCO Y. WONG

  • G.R. No. 123542 June 26, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ROGELIO BULOS

  • G.R. Nos. 132848-49 June 26, 2001 - PHILROCK v. CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY ARBITRATION COMMISSION, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 133990 June 26, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. HECTOR MARIANO

  • G.R. No. 134764 June 26, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL v. BENJAMIN FABIA

  • G.R. Nos. 139626-27 June 26, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. DOMINGO DELA CRUZ

  • G.R. No. 143204 June 26, 2001 - HYATT TAXI SERVICES INC. v. RUSTOM M. CATINOY

  • G.R. Nos. 147589 & 147613 June 26, 2001 - ANG BAGONG BAYANI-OFW LABOR PARTY, ET AL. v. COMELEC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 130661 June 27, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. DANILO I. TORRES, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 135882 June 27, 2001 - LOURDES T. MARQUEZ v. ANIANO A. DESIERTO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 140001 June 27, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. EDUARDO BUENAFLOR

  • A.C. No. 3910 June 28, 2001 - JOSE S. DUCAT v. ARSENIO C. VILLALON, ET AL.

  • A.C. No. 4073 June 28, 2001 - ARACELI SIPIN-NABOR v. BENJAMIN BATERINA

  • A.M. No. P-01-1480 June 28, 2001.

    AMADO S. CAGUIOA v. CRISANTO FLORA

  • A.M. No. P-99-1343 June 28, 2001 - ORLANDO T. MENDOZA v. ROSBERT M. TUQUERO, ET AL.

  • A.M. No. RTJ-00-1576 June 28, 2001 - SIMPLICIO ALIB v. EMMA C. LABAYEN

  • G.R. No. 105364 June 28, 2001 - PHIL. VETERANS BANK EMPLOYEES UNION-N.U.B.E., ET AL. v. BENJAMIN VEGA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 110813 June 28, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ERNESTO PARDUA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 110914 June 28, 2001 - ALFREDO CANUTO; JR., ET AL. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 112453-56 June 28, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. GERARDO LATUPAN

  • G.R. Nos. 112563 & 110647 June 28, 2001 - HEIRS OF KISHINCHAND HIRANAND DIALDAS v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 120630 June 28, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. MARCELO PALERMO

  • G.R. No. 131954 June 28, 2001 - ASELA B. MONTECILLO, ET AL v. CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION

  • G.R. Nos. 132026-27 June 28, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. MARIO ABENDAN, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 132362 June 28, 2001 - PIO BARRETTO REALTY DEV’T. CORP. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 132837 June 28, 2001 - JO CINEMA CORP., ET AL. v. LOLITA C. ABELLANA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 133605 June 28, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. BENJAMIN BARRIAS

  • G.R. No. 135846 June 28, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL v. NOEL ORTEGA

  • G.R. No. 138270 June 28, 2001 - SEA POWER SHIPPING ENTERPRISES INC. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 142314 June 28, 2001 - MC ENGINEERING, ET AL. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 143723 June 28, 2001 - LITONJUA GROUP OF CO.’s., ET AL. v. TERESITA VIGAN

  • G.R. No. 144113 June 28, 2001 - EDWEL MAANDAL v. PEOPLE OF THE PHIL

  • G.R. No. 144942 June 28, 2001 - COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE v. LA SUERTE CIGAR.

  • G.R. No. 146062 June 28, 2001 - SANTIAGO ESLABAN v. CLARITA VDA. DE ONORIO

  • A.M. No. 00 4-166-RTC June 29, 2001 - Re: Report on the Judicial Audit

  • A.M. No. 01-4-03-SC June 29, 2001 - HERNANDO PEREZ, ET AL. v. JOSEPH E. ESTRADA, ET AL.

  • A.M. No. P-00-1380 June 29, 2001 - GLORIA O. DINO v. FRANCISCO DUMUKMAT

  • G.R. No. 110480 June 29, 2001 - BANGKO SILANGAN DEVELOPMENT BANK v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 111860 June 29, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. JESUS CLEDORO

  • G.R. No. 116092 June 29, 2001 - SUSANA VDA. DE COCHINGYAN, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 118251 June 29, 2001 - METROPOLITAN BANK AND TRUST COMPANY v. REGINO T. VERIDIANO II, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 121597 June 29, 2001 - PHIL. NATIONAL BANK v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 125944 June 29, 2001 - DANILO SOLANGON, ET AL. v. JOSE AVELINO SALAZAR

  • G.R. No. 126396 June 29, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL v. FELIXBERTO LAO-AS

  • G.R. No. 128705 June 29, 2001 - CONRADO AGUILAR v. COMMERCIAL SAVINGS BANK, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 129782 June 29, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. BALWINDER SINGH, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 131968 June 29, 2001 - ERNESTO PENGSON, ET AL v. MIGUEL OCAMPO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 132059 June 29, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. WENEFREDO DIMSON ASOY

  • G.R. No. 138598 June 29, 2001 - ASSET PRIVATIZATION TRUST v. SANDIGANBAYAN, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 144542 June 29, 2001 - FRANCISCO DELA PEÑA, ET AL v. SANDIGANBAYAN, ET AL.

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    A.M. No. RTJ-00-1606   June 20, 2001 - PATRIA MAQUIRAN v. LILIA G. LOPEZ

     
    PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT DECISIONS

    SECOND DIVISION

    [A.M. No. RTJ-00-1606. June 20, 2001.]

    PATRIA MAQUIRAN, Complainant, v. JUDGE LILIA C. LOPEZ, Regional Trial Court, Branch 109, Pasay City, Respondent.

    D E C I S I O N


    MENDOZA, J.:


    This is an administrative complaint for gross negligence filed by Patria Maquiran against Judge Lilia C. Lopez of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 109, Pasay City.chanrob1es virtua1 1aw library

    It appears that on August 31, 1990, complainant Patria Maquiran filed a suit for damages, docketed as Civil Case No. 7548, arising from the death of her husband due to an accident. The case, entitled "Heirs of Pablo Maquiran and Jean Castillo v. Manila Aero Transport System, Inc., Captain Anastacio Maravilla and Maria Basilonia So," was assigned to respondent judge. The case was submitted for decision in August 1994 after the parties had submitted their memoranda. On March 25, 1996, counsel for complainant moved for the resolution of the case. 1 However, up to the time the complaint in this case was filed on September 16, 1999, no decision had as yet been rendered by respondent judge.

    In her comment, dated January 10, 2000, respondent judge claimed that she had finally decided the case and given copies of the decision to the parties. She explained that during the almost five years that the case was pending decision, many things had happened to her: that she was confined in the hospital and was scheduled for an operation for the removal of a mass in her uterus, but for her extremely high blood pressure; that her parents died and she was left with the responsibility of having to take care of her retardate sister and a brother who was suffering from a nervous breakdown; that as Executive Judge, she was given additional administrative duties; and that she had to conduct continuous hearings by reason of the designation of her court as a Special Criminal Court.

    The Office of the Court Administrator found respondent administratively liable and recommended that she be ordered to pay a fine of P4,000.00 for inefficiency with a stern warning that a repetition of the same or similar act shall be dealt with more severely.

    Except as to the penalty recommended, we find the report of the OCA well taken.

    Under Art. VIII, 15(1) of the Constitution, lower courts have three months within which to decide cases or resolve matters submitted to them for resolution. 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. Indeed, this Court has constantly impressed upon judges — may it not be said without success — the need to decide cases promptly and expeditiously, for it cannot be gainsaid that justice delayed is justice denied. For delay in the disposition of cases undermines the people’s faith and confidence in the judiciary. Hence, failure of judges to render judgment within the required period constitutes gross inefficiency warranting the imposition of administrative sanctions on them. 2

    This is not the first time respondent judge is being sanctioned for failure to decide a case within the time for doing so. In Dizon v. Lopez, 3 she was found guilty of delay in the decision of a case and inefficiency, thus:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    Judge Lopez claims that on April 22, 1993, when the judgment was promulgated with the reading of the dispositive portion, her decision was already prepared, although to prevent leakage in the process of preparing it, she withheld its dispositive portion until the day of its promulgation. Respondent judge states that after the dispositive portion had been read to complainant, respondent gave it to Ma. Cleotilde Paulo (Social Worker II, presently OIC of Branch 109) for typing and incorporation into the text of the decision. The court found complainant guilty beyond reasonable doubt of falsification of private document under Art. 172, par. 2 of the Revised Penal Code. Respondent states that the delay in furnishing complainant with a copy of the decision was unintentional.chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary

    Respondent judge referred to difficulties she had in preparing her decision and to a series of personal problems which contributed to this delay in the release of her decision, to wit: she has only two (2) stenographers to attend to daily trials in her court, making it necessary for her to make use of the Social Worker assigned to her to type her decisions. During the period January to December 1993, she had to dispose of 285 cases, apart from the fact that there was an unusually big number of criminal, civil, and land registration cases as well as special proceedings filed in her court which required the holding of hearings in the mornings and in the afternoons. During the same period, she went through some personal tragedies. She lost her niece, Gloria Lopez Roque, whom she had raised from childhood, due to a hospital accident. This was followed by the death on March 1, 1992 of her mother, Margarita Lopez, who had been under respondent’s care for the past eight years after suffering a stroke. On September 17, 1993, respondent’s father died of diabetes, a renal failure, pneumonia, and cardiac arrest. Respondent was the one who single-handedly brought them in and out of the hospital because all her able-bodied relatives are abroad. Respondent herself was found to be suffering from diabetes and hypertension, necessitating her treatment and leave of absence from September 27, 1994 to December 12, 1994, in addition to her other leaves of absence. Aside from these, respondent’s family suffered financial reverses because of estafa committed against them. 4

    Considering that the case was respondent’s first one and that her failure to decide the case on time was occasioned by the death of her parents, financial reverses of the family, and respondent’s poor health — factors which this Court considered mitigating — respondent was simply given a reprimand and a warning:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    If indeed all that had to be done after the dispositive portion had been read in open court on April 22, 1993 was to incorporate it in the text of the decision allegedly then already prepared, it is difficult to see why it took respondent judge one year and eight more months before she was able to do so. Respondent claims that she was prevented from putting out her decision by a series of personal and other problems which leads the Court to believe that when she promulgated her sentence she had not finished the preparation of the entire decision. At all events, she could have applied for extension of time to decide the case and put off the promulgation of judgment until she had finished it. 5

    However, respondent judge was again found administratively liable in Ricafranca, Jr. v. Lopez, 6 for failure to decide a case until five years after it was submitted for resolution. It is noteworthy that her excuse is the same one given in this case, to wit:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    That on or about those dates, the undersigned was in and out of the hospital for the removal of a mass on both (sic) her uterus and in fact was scheduled for operation several times and was rolled in and out of the operating table (sic) five (5) times only to be brought out of the operating room upon advice of her cardiologist because of extremely high blood pressure.

    Likewise, on or about said times, she lost both her parents and had to take care of her handicapped sister (a retardate) and a brother (who is suffering from a nervous breakdown and always lost his way) and the undersigned single-handedly has to look for him at least (sic) he dies of hunger and exposure to the elements, thus even aggravating further her health condition.

    Additionally, she was designated as one of the Special Criminal Courts and lately as the only Family Court continuously hearing cases mornings and afternoons not to mention her administrative duties as a former executive judge and representing courts in other official functions. 7

    While again noting respondent’s predicament in mitigation of her liability, this Court imposed on her a fine of P5,000.00. This Court said:chanrob1es virtua1 law library

    We note that this is not the first time that an administrative case was filed against respondent judge for delay in deciding a case pending before her sala. In 1997, in the case of Dizon v. Lopez, the Court reprimanded respondent judge for a similar offense. Nonetheless, we also note, as in the case of Dizon, that there were factors beyond the control of respondent that prevented her from giving her full attention to her official duties and responsibilities at the time. Aside from the fact that she was afflicted with a grave illness, she also had to take care of her sister and brother who were both suffering some disability. Although these do not justify her failure, they nonetheless serve to mitigate her culpability. In the light of these circumstances, we hold that the imposition of a fine of five thousand pesos upon respondent judge is just and reasonable. 8

    The reasons adduced by respondent judge for her failure to decide Civil Case No. 7548 for a period of five years is unsatisfactory. While respondent judge claimed that she had decided the case and had in fact furnished the parties copies of the same, she did not state when she had done so. It would appear that she did so only shortly before she filed her comment on the complaint in this case on January 10, 2000, after a delay of more than five years. Hence, her excuse. Although we are inclined to be compassionate, respondent must realize that compassion has its limits. After all, respondent could have asked for time within which to decide cases, although not for such a long time as five years. Then, too, she could have gone on sick leave. But for her not to decide a case for five years cannot be wholly excused. A heavy caseload may excuse a judge’s failure to decide cases within the reglementary period, but not her failure to request an extension of time within which to decide the case on time. 9

    Respondent likewise blames her failure to decide Civil Case No. 7548 on her administrative duties as Executive Judge of the Regional Trial Court of Pasay City and the fact that she was required to conduct continuous trials because her court had been designated a Special Criminal Court. However, she could have declined her designation as Executive Judge. She could also have asked to be relieved of her other duties. But she never did so.

    WHEREFORE, a fine in the amount of Five Thousand Pesos (P5,000.00) is imposed on respondent Judge Lilia C. Lopez for delay in deciding Civil Case No. 7548 with warning that repetition of the same or similar acts will be dealt with more severely.

    SO ORDERED.chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary

    Bellosillo, Quisumbing, Buena and De Leon, Jr., JJ., concur.

    Endnotes:



    1. Annex "A" of Complaint.

    2. Report on the Judicial Audit Conducted in RTC, Brs. 29, 56, & 57, Libmanan, Camarines Sur, 316 SCRA 272 (1999).

    3. 278 SCRA 483 (1997).

    4. Id., at 486-487.

    5. Id. at 488-489.

    6. A.M. No. RTJ-00-1583, November 15, 2000.

    7. Id.

    8. Id.

    9. Adao v. Lorenzo, 316 SCRA 570 (1999); Request of Judge Irma Zira V. Masamayor, RTC-Branch 52, Talibon, Bohol for Extension of Time to Decide Criminal Case No. 96-185, A.M. No. 99-1-16-RTC, 308 SCRA 553 (1999).

    A.M. No. RTJ-00-1606   June 20, 2001 - PATRIA MAQUIRAN v. LILIA G. LOPEZ


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