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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)
 

 
Chan Robles Virtual Law Library
 
 

 
UNITED STATES SUPREME COURT JURISPRUDENCE
 

 
PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT JURISPRUDENCE
 

   
March-2001 Jurisprudence                 

  • A.M. No. MTJ-00-1279 March 1, 2001 - ALICIA GONZALES-DECANO v. ORLANDO ANA F. SIAPNO

  • A.M. No. MTJ-00-1282 March 1, 2001 - SOFRONIO DAYOT v. RODOLFO B. GARCIA

  • G.R. No. 112092 March 1, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ROBERT NUÑEZ

  • G.R. No. 123069 March 1, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. PEDRO SASPA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 126019 March 1, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. MARIO CALDONA

  • G.R. No. 131637 March 1, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. RODELIO PERALTA

  • G.R. No. 133888 March 1, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ALFREDO NARDO

  • G.R. No. 134330 March 1, 2001 - ENRIQUE M. BELO, ET AL. v. PHIL. NATIONAL BANK, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 135667-70 March 1, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. JESSIE VENTURA COLLADO

  • G.R. No. 138666 March 1, 2001 - ISABELO LORENZANA v. PEOPLE OF THE PHIL.

  • G.R. No. 140511 March 1, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. BALTAZAR AMION

  • G.R. No. 142313 March 1, 2001 - MANUEL CHU, SR., ET AL. v. BENELDA ESTATE DEV’T. CORP.

  • G.R. No. 142527 March 1, 2001 - ARSENIO ALVAREZ v. COMELEC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 144678 March 1, 2001 - JAVIER E. ZACATE v. COMELEC, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 146710-15 & 146738 March 2, 2001 - JOSEPH E. ESTRADA v. ANIANO DESIERTO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 113236 March 5, 2001 - FIRESTONE TIRE & RUBBER COMPANY OF THE PHIL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 113265 March 5, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. MANUEL PEREZ

  • G.R. No. 118680 March 5, 2001 - MARIA ELENA RODRIGUEZ PEDROSA v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 123788 March 5, 2001 - DOMINADOR DE GUZMAN v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 124686 March 5, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ROQUE ELLADO

  • G.R. No. 127158 March 5, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. JULIO HERIDA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 132353 March 5, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ALFREDO IBO

  • G.R. No. 126557 March 6, 2001 - RAMON ALBERT v. CELSO D. GANGAN

  • G.R. No. 138646 March 6, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. JOMER CABANSAY

  • G.R. No. 139518 March 6, 2001 - EVANGELINE L. PUZON v. STA. LUCIA REALTY AND DEVELOPMENT

  • G.R. Nos. 140249 & 140363 March 6, 2001 - DANILO S. YAP v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 140884 March 6, 2001 - GELACIO P. GEMENTIZA v. COMELEC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 143823 March 6, 2001 - JENNIFER ABRAHAM v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 126168 March 7, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ANTONIO SAMUDIO

  • G.R. No. 129594 March 7, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. JUNNIFER LAURENTE

  • G.R. No. 135945 March 7, 2001 - UNITED RESIDENTS OF DOMINICAN HILL v. COMM. ON THE SETTLEMENT OF LAND PROBLEMS

  • G.R. No. 136173 March 7, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ERNESTO ICALLA

  • G.R. Nos. 137481-83 & 138455 March 7, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. CONRADO SALADINO

  • G.R. Nos. 139962-66 March 7, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. EUGENIO MANGOMPIT

  • A.M. No. MTJ-00-1297 March 7, 2001 - JOSEFINA BANGCO v. RODOLFO S. GATDULA

  • A.M. No. MTJ-00-1329 March 8, 2001 - HERMINIA BORJA-MANZANO v. ROQUE R SANCHEZ

  • G.R. No. 122611 March 8, 2001 - NAPOLEON H. GONZALES v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 125901 March 8, 2001 - EDGARDO A. TIJING, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 130378 March 8, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ARNEL MATARO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 134279 March 8, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. RICKY ROGER AUSTRIA

  • G.R. Nos. 135234-38 March 8, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ALEJANDRO GUNTANG

  • G.R. No. 137649 March 8, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. RODOLFO VILLADARES

  • G.R. No. 138137 March 8, 2001 - PERLA S. ZULUETA v. ASIA BREWERY

  • G.R. No. 138774 March 8, 2001 - REGINA FRANCISCO, ET AL v. AIDA FRANCISCO-ALFONSO

  • G.R. No. 140479 March 8, 2001 - ROSENCOR DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION, ET AL. v. PATERNO INQUING, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 140713 March 8, 2001 - ROSA YAP PARAS, ET AL. v. ISMAEL O. BALDADO

  • G.R. No. 112115 March 9, 2001 - REPUBLIC OF THE PHIL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 140619-24 March 9, 2001 - BENEDICTO E. KUIZON, ET AL. v. ANIANO A. DESIERTO

  • G.R. No. 126099 March 12, 2001 - ROBERTO MITO v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 128372 March 12, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. REMEGIO DELA PEÑA

  • G.R. Nos. 130634-35 March 12, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. MANOLITO OYANIB

  • G.R. No. 131889 March 12, 2001 - VIRGINIA O. GOCHAN, ET AL. v. RICHARD G. YOUNG, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 136738 March 12, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. EFREN VALEZ

  • G.R. No. 137306 March 12, 2001 - VIRGINIA AVISADO, ET AL. v. AMOR RUMBAUA, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 140011-16 March 12, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. EUSTAQUIO MORATA

  • A.M. No. P-01-1464 March 13, 2001 - SALVADOR O. BOOC v. MALAYO B. BANTUAS

  • G.R. No. 103073 March 13, 2001 - REPUBLIC OF THE PHIL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 131530 March 13, 2001 - Y REALTY CORP. v. SANDIGANBAYAN, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 136594 March 13, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. JOEL CANIEZO

  • G.R. No. 139405 March 13, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ARTURO F. PACIFICADOR

  • A.M. No. RTJ-00-1530 March 14, 2001 - EDGARDO ALDAY, ET AL. v. ESCOLASTICO U. CRUZ

  • G.R. Nos. 116001 & 123943 March 14, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. LUISITO GO

  • G.R. No. 130209 March 14, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. LARRY LAVAPIE, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 130515 & 147090 March 14, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ANSELMO BARING

  • G.R. Nos. 134451-52 March 14, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. REYNALDO FRETA

  • G.R. No. 137036 March 14, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. HERNANDO DE MESA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 138045 March 14, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. MARIETTA PATUNGAN, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 139300 March 14, 2001 - AMIGO MANUFACTURING v. CLUETT PEABODY CO.

  • G.R. No. 102985 March 15, 2001 - RUBEN BRAGA CURAZA v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 133480 March 15, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. FLORANTE AGUILUZ

  • G.R. Nos. 135201-02 March 15, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. FLORENCIO FRANCISCO

  • G.R. No. 141616 March 15, 2001 - CITY OF QUEZON v. LEXBER INCORPORATED

  • G.R. No. 116847 March 16, 2001 - MANUFACTURERS BUILDING v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 128083 March 16, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. RODOLFO M. HILARIO

  • G.R. No. 128922 March 16, 2001 - ELEUTERIA B. ALIABO, ET AL. v. ROGELIO L. CARAMPATAN, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 129070 March 16, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. NELLIE CABAIS

  • G.R. No. 131544 March 16, 2001 - EPG CONSTRUCTION CO., ET AL. v. GREGORIO R. VIGILAR

  • G.R. No. 135047 March 16, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. RICARDO CACHOLA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 137282 March 16, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ALFREDO ALIPAR

  • G.R. Nos. 137753-56 March 16, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL v. NILO ARDON

  • A.M. No. 01-1463 March 20, 2001 - EVELYN ACUÑA v. RODOLFO A. ALCANTARA

  • A.M. No. MTJ-00-1306 March 20, 2001 - ROBERT M. VISBAL v. RODOLFO C. RAMOS

  • A.M. No. P-97-1241 March 20, 2001 - DINNA CASTILLO v. ZENAIDA C. BUENCILLO

  • G.R. Nos. 105965-70 March 20, 2001 - GEORGE UY v. SANDIGANBAYAN, ET AL

  • G.R. No. 108991 March 20, 2001 - WILLIAM ALAIN MIAILHE v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 130663 March 20, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL v. ANGELES STA. TERESA

  • G.R. Nos. 136862-63 March 20, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ROLANDO SANTOS

  • G.R. Nos. 139413-15 March 20, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ENDRICO GALAS

  • G.R. No. 140356 March 20, 2001 - DOLORES FAJARDO v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 140919 March 20, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. BUTCH BUCAO LEE

  • G.R. No. 142476 March 20, 2001 - REPUBLIC OF THE PHIL. v. SANDIGANBAYAN

  • G.R. No. 144074 March 20, 2001 - MEDINA INVESTIGATION & SECURITY CORP., ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 127772 March 22, 2001 - ROBERTO P. ALMARIO v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 133815-17 March 22, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. EDGARDO LIAD, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 134972 March 22, 2001 - ERNESTO CATUNGAL, ET AL. v. DORIS HAO

  • A.M. No. P-01-1469 March 26, 2001 - ROEL O. PARAS v. MYRNA F. LOFRANCO

  • A.M. No. RTJ-01-1624 March 26, 2001 - REQUEST FOR ASSISTANCE RELATIVE TO SPECIAL PROCEEDINGS NO. 28

  • A.M. No. 99-731-RTJ March 26, 2001 - HILARIO DE GUZMAN v. DEODORO J. SISON

  • G.R. Nos. 102407-08 March 26, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. EDMUNDO LUCERO

  • G.R. No. 121608 March 26, 2001 - FLEISCHER COMPANY v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 121902 March 26, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. WALTER MELENCION

  • G.R. No. 125865 March 26, 2001 - JEFFREY LIANG v. PEOPLE OF THE PHIL.

  • G.R. No. 129916 March 26, 2001 - MAGELLAN CAPITAL MNGT. CORP., ET AL. v. ROLANDO M. ZOSA, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 131638-39 March 26, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. LORETO MEDENILLA

  • G.R. No. 131653 March 26, 2001 - ROBERTO GONZALES v. NLRC, ET AL

  • G.R. No. 133475 March 26, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ERNESTO MONTEJO

  • G.R. No. 134903 March 26, 2001 - UNICRAFT INDUSTRIES INTERNATIONAL CORP., ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 136790 March 26, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. MANUEL GALVEZ

  • G.R. No. 137268 March 26, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. EUTIQUIA CARMEN, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 137590 March 26, 2001 - FLORENCE MALCAMPO-SIN v. PHILIPP T. SIN

  • G.R. No. 137739 March 26, 2001 - ROBERTO B. TAN v. PHIL. BANKING CORP., ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 137889 March 26, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ROMEO DELOS SANTOS

  • G.R. No. 142950 March 26, 2001 - EQUITABLE PCI BANK v. ROSITA KU

  • G.R. Nos. 147066 & 147179 March 26, 2001 - AKBAYAN - Youth, ET AL. v. COMELEC, ET AL.

  • A.M. No. 00-7-09-CA March 27, 2001 - IN RE: DEMETRIO G. DEMETRIA

  • A.M. No. P-01-1473 March 27, 2001 - GLORIA O. BENITEZ v. MEDEL P. ACOSTA

  • G.R. No. 123149 March 27, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. CORNELIO CABUG

  • G.R. No. 131588 March 27, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. GLENN DE LOS SANTOS

  • G.R. Nos. 137762-65 March 27, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. REYNALDO BARES

  • G.R. No. 137989 March 27, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. SONNY MATIONG, ET AL.

  • A.M. No. MTJ-01-1357 March 28, 2001 - MONFORT HERMANOS AGRICULTURAL DEVELOPMENT CORP. v. ROLANDO V. RAMIREZ

  • A.M. No. RTJ-00-1574 March 28, 2001 - GORGONIO S. NOVA v. SANCHO DAMES II

  • G.R. No. 100701 March 28, 2001 - PRODUCERS BANK OF THE PHIL. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 101442 March 28, 2001 - JOSE ANGELES v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL

  • G.R. No. 110012 March 28, 2001 - ANASTACIO VICTORIO v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 112314 March 28, 2001 - VICENTE R. MADARANG v. SANDIGANBAYAN, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 117964 March 28, 2001 - PLACIDO O. URBANES, JR. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 122216 March 28, 2001 - ALJEM’S CORPORATION v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 126751 March 28, 2001 - SAFIC ALCAN & CIE v. IMPERIAL VEGETABLE OIL CO.

  • G.R. No. 126959 March 28, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. SERVANDO SATURNO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 136965 March 28, 2001 - UNIVERSITY OF THE PHIL. v. SEGUNDINA ROSARIO

  • G.R. No. 137660 March 28, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. CARLOS L. ALCANTARA

  • G.R. No. 137932 March 28, 2001 - CHIANG YIA MIN v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 138474 March 28, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. FORTUNATO BALANO

  • G.R. Nos. 139571-72 March 28, 2001 - ROGER N. ABARDO v. SANDIGANBAYAN

  • G.R. No. 140153 March 28, 2001 - ANTONIO DOCENA, ET AL. v. RICARDO P. LAPESURA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 141307 March 28, 2001 - PURTO J. NAVARRO, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 142007 March 28, 2001 - MANUEL C. FELIX v. ENERTECH SYSTEMS INDUSTRIES, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 143173 March 28, 2001 - PEDRO ONG, ET AL. v. SOCORRO PAREL, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 144169 March 28, 2001 - KHE HONG CHENG v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 131836 March 30, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. MELITA SINCO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 137564 March 30, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. DOMINADOR DOMENDED

  • G.R. No. 137648 March 30, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. IRENEO PADILLA

  • G.R. No. 140311 March 30, 2001 - DENNIS T. GABIONZA v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL

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    A.M. No. MTJ-00-1306   March 20, 2001 - ROBERT M. VISBAL v. RODOLFO C. RAMOS

     
    PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT DECISIONS

    THIRD DIVISION

    [A.M. No. MTJ-00-1306. March 20, 2001.]

    Prosecutor ROBERT M. VISBAL, Complainant, v. Judge RODOLFO C. RAMOS, Municipal Trial Court of Jaro, Leyte, Respondent.

    D E C I S I O N


    PANGANIBAN, J.:


    Judges must resolve matters pending before them promptly and expeditiously within the prescribed period. If they fail to do so, they should ask the Supreme Court for an extension, citing meritorious grounds therefor. Otherwise, they may be charged with gross inefficiency and sanctioned administratively.chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary

    The Case and the Facts


    In a verified Letter-Complaint 1 received by the Office of the Court Administrator (OCA) on February 27, 1998, Prosecutor Robert M. Visbal charged Judge Rodolfo C. Ramos of the Municipal Trial Court of Jaro, Leyte, with gross ignorance of the law, grave abuse of judicial authority, and negligence. The material averments of the Letter-Complaint were summarized by the OCA in this wise:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

    "Complainant alleges that the aforecited case [Crim. Case No. 9484, entitled People v. Antonio Grana, for reckless imprudence] was filed before the sala of respondent judge who issued an Order dated February 18, 1998 directing him (herein complainant) to appear for the prosecution even when he has already delegated his prosecutory authority to the Station Commander or duly authorized representative. He claims that only the executive department, through the Department of Justice, can give such order. In addition, he cites the provision of the Rules of Court which succinctly provides that although criminal cases must be prosecuted by the public prosecutor, his authority may be delegated to a private prosecutor under his control or supervision or to the Chief of Police in the Municipal Trial Court, when a regular prosecutor is not available. In the instant case, no regular prosecutor is available in respondent Judge’s sala since he (complainant) is officially and regularly assigned to RTC, Branch VIII of Tacloban City, thus forcing him to delegate the prosecution of the case to the ‘police investigator’.

    "According to complainant, respondent Judge [was] motivated by malice and bad faith when he issued the assailed order because of the latter’s lingering grudge against him arising out of an action which he filed in 1994 against respondent Judge before the RTC of Tacloban City.

    "Finally, complainant accuses respondent Judge of deliberately failing to rule on the prosecution’s offer of evidence which was submitted as early as March 10, 1997 despite his repeated manifestation for the resolution of the aforesaid motion." 2

    In his Comment, 3 respondent judge denies any liability and prays for the dismissal of the Complaint. He maintains that the police chief’s authority to prosecute ceases upon actual intervention of the prosecutor. Although the judge admits that it was only on November 24, 1997 that he ruled on the Offer of Evidence submitted by the prosecution on March 10, 1997, he claims that "it was not deliberately done considering that respondent was motivated by no other consideration than to give a chance to the accused to make his comment to said offer." 4 He further denies complainant’s allegation that the February 18, 1998 Order was impelled by malice and bad faith.

    In a Resolution dated August 2, 2000, 5 this Court directed the parties to manifest within twenty days from notice whether they were submitting the case on the basis of the pleadings filed. Complainant submitted his Manifestation 6 in a letter dated September 10, 2000.

    In a Resolution issued on November 29, 2000, 7 the Court considered respondent to have waived the filing of the required manifestation, because he had not done so within the prescribed period.

    The OCA Report and Recommendation

    In its Report, 8 the OCA recommended that respondent be sanctioned for his unjustified delay in the resolution of the prosecution’s offer of evidence in Criminal Case No. 9484, and that the other charges filed against him be dismissed. It explained:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

    ". . . [I]n those municipalities and cities which do not have their own fiscals, the criminal cases therein may be prosecuted by any peace or law enforcement officers, or by private prosecutors. Their authority ceases, however, upon actual intervention of the provincial or city fiscal or their assistants, or upon elevation of the case to the Regional Trial Court (People v. Beriales, April 7, 1976, 70 SCRA 361). In the instant case, it appears that a public prosecutor, Pros. Ricardo Candido, actively handled the prosecution of the case but [it] was only transferred to herein complainant when the former was hospitalized.

    "It is clear from the provision of Sec. 5, Rule 110 that the authority to prosecute criminal cases may only be delegated when there is no fiscal available. Hence, respondent Judge did not abuse his authority when he issued the assailed order.chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary

    "Anent the second issue, the record shows that there was indeed delay in the resolution of the prosecution’s offer of evidence. Even if we consider respondent Judge’s explanation that complainant was not immediately furnished with a copy of the Order dated November 24, 1997, the resolution of the motion was still very much delayed.

    "On the loss of the necropsy report in Criminal Case No. 7613, complainant failed to submit evidence that would make respondent Judge liable therefor particularly since the control and supervision over all court records, exhibits, documents, etc. within the branch pertains to the branch clerk of court (OCA v. Judge Amelita D.R. Benedicto, Et. Al. A.M. No. 96-5-176-RTJ, October 12, 1998). Respondent Judge’s Clerk of Court, moreover, specifically declared that "the Medico-Legal Necropsy Report was not included because the Complainant-Police Officer failed to [attach to] the complaint said document when it was filed . . . on December 18, 1989.’ (Ltr. Dated May 22, 1998 of Clerk of Court Simeon M. Polo to Pros. Robert M. Visbal)." 9

    This Court’s Ruling


    This Court agrees with the OCA’s finding that respondent is guilty of delay in resolving the prosecution’s offer of exhibits in Criminal Case No. 9484. It believes, however, that the recommended penalty of reprimand is too light, considering that this is respondent’s second offense.

    Respondent’s Administrative Liability

    The records show that the prosecution submitted an Offer of Evidence in Criminal Case No. 9484 on March 10, 1997. But it was only on April 7, 1998, or more than one year later, that it received respondent’s Order admitting the Offer.

    Respondent asserts that the Order was in fact dated November 24, 1997. He explains that it was sent to the prosecution only in April 1998, because of the inadvertence of the clerk of court.

    Respondent’s contention is not meritorious. First, the alleged inadvertence of the clerk of court in sending the prosecution’s copy of the November 24, 1997 Order only in April 1998 does not speak well of respondent’s managerial competence. While the clerk of court, as administrative officer, 10 is primarily tasked to send notices to parties and their counsel, the judge is ultimately responsible for ensuring that court personnel perform their tasks, and that parties are promptly notified of his orders and decisions. Verily," [p]roper and efficient court management is as much his responsibility. He is the one directly responsible for the proper discharge of his official functions." 11

    Second, respondent’s assertion that the Order admitting the Offer of Evidence was issued on November 24, 1997 is an admission of liability. Section 15 (1), Art. VII of the Constitution, provides:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

    "SECTION 15. (1) All cases or matters filed after the effectivity of this Constitution must be decided or resolved within twenty-four months from date of submission [to] 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." (Emphasis supplied)

    In this case, it took respondent more than eight months to resolve the prosecution’s Offer of Evidence. In fact, the prosecution had filed two Motions — the first on September 1, 1997 and the second on November 20, 1997 — urging respondent to resolve the question. That he did not delay deliberately is not an excuse.

    Once again, we remind judges that they must resolve matters pending before them promptly and expeditiously within the constitutionally mandated 90-day period. Failing to do so, they should ask for an extension from the same court, citing meritorious grounds therefor. Otherwise, they may be charged with gross inefficiency and sanctioned administratively. 12

    While the OCA recommends that respondent be reprimanded for the foregoing, we believe that the penalty is too light. In Francisco Tan Sr. v. Judge Rodolfo Ramos, 13 the judge was already reprimanded for failure to decide two cases within the reglementary period, "with the warning that a repetition of the same or similar violation will be dealt with more severely." Accordingly, the proper penalty in the present case should be a fine of three thousand pesos (P3,000).

    Other Charges

    We agree with the OCA that complainant failed to substantiate his allegation that respondent had lost the Necropsy Report, which was supposedly part of the records submitted to the Judge for preliminary investigation in Criminal Case No. 7613.

    In his Rejoinder, respondent alleged that "there was no necropsy medical report . . . attached to the complaint . . ., although it was merely listed therein as one of the exhibits supporting the complaint." 14 His allegation was based on the letter 15 dated May 22, 1998, written by the MTC clerk of court who, as such, had control and supervision over all court records, exhibits and documents within that particular branch. 16 Significantly, complainant has not controverted respondent’s claim.chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary

    Complainant also charges respondent with gross ignorance of the law, in connection with the latter’s February 18, 1998 Order directing the former to continue his appearance for the prosecution in Criminal Case No. 9484. Complainant contends that his authority to prosecute the case may be delegated to a private prosecutor or even to the town police chief. He chides respondent for "intruding into the exclusive authority of the Executive Branch, an unpardonable error to commit, being a basic principle of separation of powers [of] the three Departments of Government; . . ." 17

    There is nothing in the said February 18, 1998 Order that constitutes gross ignorance of the law. In fact, it is in accord with Section 5, Rule 110 of the 2000 Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure, which reads as follows:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

    "SECTION 5. Who must prosecute criminal actions. — All criminal actions commenced by a complaint or information shall be prosecuted under the direction and control of the prosecutor. However, in Municipal Trial Courts or Municipal Circuit Trial Courts when the prosecutor assigned thereto or to the case is not available, the offended party, any peace officer, or public officer charged with the enforcement of the law violated may prosecute the case. This authority shall cease upon actual intervention of the prosecutor or upon elevation of the case to the Regional Trial Court." 18

    As a general rule, all criminal actions shall be prosecuted under the control and direction of the prosecutor. As an exception, when the assigned prosecutor is not available, cases before the MTC and the MCTC (Municipal Circuit Trial Court) may be prosecuted by the offended party, any peace officer or any proper public officer. The Rules further provides that such authority, which properly belongs to the government’s prosecutory arm, ceases upon actual intervention of the prosecutor or upon the elevation of the case to the RTC.

    In People v. Ramos, 19 the Court held that the aforesaid exception must be applied strictly. In its words:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

    "The exception provided in Section 5 must be strictly applied as the prosecution of crime is the responsibility of officers appointed and trained for that purpose. The violation of the criminal laws is an affront to the People of the Philippines as a whole and not merely the person directly prejudiced, who is merely the complaining witness. This being so, it is necessary that the prosecution be handled by persons skilled in this function instead of being entrusted to private persons or public officers with little or no preparation for this responsibility. The exception should be allowed only when the conditions therefor as set forth in Section 5, Rule 110 of the Rules on Criminal Procedure have been clearly established."cralaw virtua1aw library

    In this case, a prosecutor had already intervened in the case. Prosecutor Ricardo P. Candido had actively handled the prosecution which was, however, transferred to complainant when the former was hospitalized. Hence, a prosecutor was available; there was no reason for the delegation of the prosecutory authority to the police chief of the municipality.

    Also apropos to this case is the observation of the Court in People v. Beriales: 20

    "Moreover, as aptly observed by the Solicitor General, ‘to permit such prosecution of a criminal case by the private prosecutor with the fiscal in absentia can set an obnoxious precedent that can be taken advantage of by some indolent members of the prosecuting arm of the government as well as those who are oblivious of their bounden duty to see to it not only that the guilty should be convicted, but that the innocent should be acquitted — a duty that can only be effectively and sincerely performed if they actively participate in the conduct of the case, especially in the examination of the witnesses and the presentation of documentary evidence for both parties." chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary

    We must stress that gross ignorance of the law is a serious accusation. It therefore behooves complainant to be more circumspect in hurling this charge. Indeed, a person who accuses a judge of this very serious offense must be sure of the grounds for the accusation, or else be found ignorant of the law, as in this case. Judges, while expected to be a cut above the rest in the legal profession, are not inured to the strain concomitant with baseless and unfair aspersions on their competence. They certainly deserve a better treatment, especially from a prosecutor who should know, at the very least, the basic provisions of the Rules of Criminal Procedure.chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary

    WHEREFORE, Judge Rodolfo C. Ramos is found GUILTY of gross inefficiency and is hereby ordered to PAY a fine of three thousand pesos (P3,000). He is WARNED that a repetition of the same or a similar act shall be dealt with much more severely. Let a copy of this Decision be attached to his personal records.

    SO ORDERED.chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary

    Melo, Vitug, Gonzaga-Reyes and Sandoval-Gutierrez, JJ., concur.

    Endnotes:



    1. Rollo, pp. 1-2.

    2. OCA Report, p. 1; rollo, p. 86.

    3. Rollo, pp. 40-43.

    4. Comment, p. 2; rollo, p. 41.

    5. Rollo, p. 90.

    6. Rollo, p. 91.

    7. Rollo, p. 97.

    8. Rollo, pp. 86-89.

    9. OCA Report, pp. 3-4; rollo, pp. 88-89.

    10. Beegan v. Borja, 261 SCRA 474, September 6, 1996.

    11. Office of the Court Administrator v. Judge Villanueva, 279 SCRA 267, 273, September 18, 1997, per Melo, J., citing Agcaoili v. Ramos, 229 SCRA 705, 710, February 7, 1994. See also Office of the Court Administrator v. RTC Judge Amelita D.R. Benedicto, AM No. 96-176-RTC, September 25, 1998 and Mamamayan ng Zapote 1, Bacoor, Cavite v. Balderian, 265 SCRA 360, December 6, 1996; Celino v. Abrogar, 245 SCRA 304, June 27, 1995.

    12. See Lambino v. De Vera, 275 SCRA 60, July 7, 1997; Report of Audit and Physical Inventory of the Records of Cases in MTC of Peñaranda, Nueva Ecija, 276 SCRA 257, July 28, 1997; Abarquez v. Judge Rebosura, 285 SCRA 109, January 28, 1998; Office of the Court Administrator v. Judge Butalid, 293 SCRA 589, August 5, 1998; Bernardo v. Judge Fabros, AM No. MTJ-99-1189, May 12, 1999.

    13. AM No. MTJ-88-224, November 7, 1989. This is an unsigned en banc Resolution.

    14. Rejoinder, p. 1; rollo, p. 81.

    15. Rollo, p. 84.

    16. Odoño v. Macaraeg, AM No. RTJ-00-1542, March 16, 2000; Bandong v. Ching, 261 SCRA 10, August 23, 1996.

    17. Complaint, p. 1.

    18. This is substantially identical to Section 5, Rule 110 of the Rules of Court before the 2000 revision.

    19. 207 SCRA 144, 152, March 11, 1992, per Cruz, J.

    20. 70 SCRA 361 and 367, April 7, 1976, per Concepcion, J.

    A.M. No. MTJ-00-1306   March 20, 2001 - ROBERT M. VISBAL v. RODOLFO C. RAMOS




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