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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
 

   
November-2006 Jurisprudence                 

  • A.C. No. 6266 - ESTELA ANASTACIO-BRIONES vs ATTY. ALFREDO A. ZAPANTA

  • A.C. No. 7123 - MARIA DIVINA CRUZ-VILLANUEVA vs ATTY. CARLOS P. RIVERA, ET AL.

  • A.C. No. 7214 - AILEEN A. FERANCULLO vs ATTY. SANCHO M. FERANCULLO, JR.

  • A.C. No. 6266 - ESTELA ANASTACIO-BRIONES vs ATTY. ALFREDO A. ZAPANTA

  • A.C. No. 7123 - MARIA DIVINA CRUZ-VILLANUEVA vs ATTY. CARLOS P. RIVERA, ET AL.

  • A.C. No. 7214 - AILEEN A. FERANCULLO vs ATTY. SANCHO M. FERANCULLO, JR.

  • A.C. No. 6266 - ESTELA ANASTACIO-BRIONES vs ATTY. ALFREDO A. ZAPANTA

  • A.C. No. 7123 - MARIA DIVINA CRUZ-VILLANUEVA vs ATTY. CARLOS P. RIVERA, ET AL.

  • A.C. No. 7214 - AILEEN A. FERANCULLO vs ATTY. SANCHO M. FERANCULLO, JR.

  • Adm. Case No. 7252 - CBD 05-1434 - JOHNNY NG vs ATTY. BENJAMIN C. ALAR

  • A.C. No. 7280 - DAHLIA S. GACIAS vs ATTY. ALEXANDER BULAUITAN

  • A.M. No. 06-4-219-RTC - RE: REPORT ON THE JUDICIAL AUDIT AND PHYSICAL INVENTORY

  • A.M. No. 2004-15-SC - PROSECUTOR AGAPITO B. ROSALES vs ENGR. CELERINO BUENAVENTURA

  • A.M. No. 2005-26-SC - RE: LOST CHECKS ISSUED TO THE LATE RODERICK ROY P. MELLIZA, ETC.

  • A.M. No. MTJ-03-1503 - NATIONAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION vs JUDGE LUISITO T. ADAOAG

  • A.M. No. MTJ-06-1660 - Formerly A.M. No. OCA IPI 04-1519-MTJ - SPOUSES TREFIL AND LINA A. UMALE vs JUDGE NICOLAS V. FADUL, JR.

  • A.M. No. P-03-1731 - PNB MANAGEMENT AND DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION vs CARMELO CACHERO

  • A.M. No. P-03-1737 - Formerly OCA IPI No. 01-1250-P - NICOLAS PACLIBAR vs RENAN V. PAMPOSA

  • A.M. No. P-05-2092 - ATTY. PERFECTO A.S. LAGUIO, JR. vs MILA AMANTE-CASICAS

  • A.M. No. P-05-1979 - JUDGE LEONARDO P. CARREON vs ERIC ANTHONY S. ORTEGA

  • A.M. No. P-06-2109 - LIGAYA V. REYES vs MARIO PABLICO

  • A.M. No. P-06-2204 - NYDIA S. SERVINO vs MA. MAWILYNN CONCEPCION B. ADOLFO

  • A.M. No. P-06-2266 - ENCARNACION FLORES vs ROMEO S. GATCHECO, JR.

  • A.M. No. P-06-2257 - SPS. ARTHUR and LEONORA STILGROVE vs ERIBERTO R. SABAS, ET AL.

  • A.M. No. P-06-2268 - BIENVENIDO L. PUNZALAN vs RUMEL M. MACALISANG

  • A.M. No. RTJ-05-1901 - FORTUNE LIFE INSURANCE, COMPANY, INC. vs JUDGE JIMMY H. F. LUCZON, JR.

  • A.M. No. RTJ-06-2002 - ROCKLAND CONSTRUCTION CO., INC. vs JUDGE MARIANO M. SINGZON, JR.

  • G.R. No. 74269 & 92137 - SOLID HOMES, INC., ET AL. vs HON. INTERMEDIATE APPELLATE COURT, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 127636 - E. ROMMEL REALTY AND DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION, ET AL. vs STA. LUCIA REALTY DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION

  • G.R. No. 126890 - UNITED PLANTERS SUGAR MILLING COMPANY, INC. vs COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 129820 - PNOC-ENERGY DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION vs EMILIANO G. VENERACION, JR.

  • G.R. No. 132834 - RUPERTO LUCERO, JR., ET AL. vs CITY GOVERNMENT OF PASIG

  • G.R. No. 135817 - REYNALDO RODRIGUEZ, ET AL. vs CONCORDIA ONG LIM, ET AL.

  • G.R. NOS. 140371-72 - DY YIENG SEANGIO, ET AL. vs AMOR A. REYES, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 140833 - LACEPI T. MAGNANAO vs PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES

  • G.R. No. 141480 - CARLOS B. DE GUZMAN vs TOYOTA CUBAO, INC.

  • G.R. No. 142351 - ST. MARTIN FUNERAL HOMES vs NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 143219 - ASIAN TERMINALS, INC. vs RENATO P. VILLANUEVA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 143382 - SECURITY BANK and TRUST COMPANY vs MAR TIERRA CORPORATION, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 144062 - THE BASES CONVERSION AND DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY, ET AL. vs ELPIDIO UY

  • G.R. No. 146707 - ERNESTO DUMLAO, JR., ET AL. vs RODOLFO PONFERRADA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 148090 - STRONGHOLD INSURANCE COMPANY, INC. vs NEMESIO S. FELIX, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 148490 - 7K CORPORATION vs NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION, ET AL.

  • G.R. NOS. 148500-01 - TIMES TRANSPORTATION CO. INC. vs NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION, ET AL.

  • G.R. NOS. 148839-40 - NAGKAHIUSANG MAMUMUO SA PICOP RESOURCES, INC. - SOUTHERN PHILIPPINES FEDERATION OF LABOR (NAMAPRI - SPFL), ET AL. vs COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 148971 - ALBERTO GARONG vs PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES

  • G.R. No. 149633 - EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR GABRIEL S. CASAL, ET AL. v. COMMISSION ON AUDIT

  • G.R. No. 149748 - JANG LIM, ET AL vs COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 149753 - Miguel Cosme, Jr. v. People of the Philippines

  • G.R. NO. 149764 - PHILIPPINE OVERSEAS TELECOMMUNICATIONS CORPORATION vs ENRIQUE GUTIERREZ, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 150253 - DAVAO LIGHT AND POWER CORPORATION, INC. vs ANTONIO G. DIAZ, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 150402 - EPARWA SECURITY AND JANITORIAL SERVICES, INC. vs LICEO DE CAGAYAN UNIVERSITY

  • G.R. No. 152258 - ROGELIO P. ANTALAN vs ANIANO DESIERTO

  • G.R. No. 152984 - WILLIAM G. KWONG vs ATTY. RAMON GARGANTOS, ET AL.

  • G.R. NO. 154006 - STAR PAPER CORPORATION vs CARLITO ESPIRI TU, ET AL.

  • G.R. NO. 154565 - REMEDIOS RAMOS vs TESSIE PABAS

  • G.R. No. 154685 - METROPOLITAN BANK and TRUST COMPANY, ET AL. vs COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 155645 - PHILIPPINE LONG DISTANCE TELEPHONE COMPANY, INC. vs MAYFLOR T. YLAGAN

  • G.R. No. 155574 - TIMOTEO A. GARCIA vs SANDIGANBAYAN

  • G.R. No. 156294 - MELVA THERESA ALVIAR GONZALES vs RIZAL COMMERCIAL BANKING CORPORATION

  • G. R. No. 156888 - PEDRO R. SANTIAGO vs SUBIC BAY METROPOLITAN AUTHORITY

  • G.R. No. 156903 - SPOUSES CARLOS and TERESITA RUSTIA vs EMERITA RIVERA

  • G.R. No. 157107 - ALPINE LENDING INVESTORS, ET AL. vs ESTRELLA CORPUZ

  • G.R. No. 157117 - COASTAL SUBIC BAY TERMINAL, INC. vs DEPARTMENT OF LABOR and EMPLOYMENT, ET AL.

  • G.R. NOS. 157236-45 - ROMEO D. LONZANIDA vs SANDIGANBAYAN

  • G.R. No. 157906 - JOAQUINITA P. CAPILI vs SPS. DOMINADOR CARDAÑA and ROSALITA CARDAÑA,

  • G.R. No. 158676 - BPI-FAMILY SAVINGS BANK, INC. vs SPS. ZENAIDA DOMINGO & ABUNDIO S. DOMINGO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 158707 - COMMUNITY RURAL BANK OF SAN ISIDRO (N.E.), INC. vs YSAGANI V. PAEZ

  • G.R. NOS. 157294-95 - JOSEPH VICTOR G. EJERCITO vs SANDIGANBAYAN, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 158960 - LORNA FRANCES FILIPINO vs F. WALTER R. MACABUHAY

  • G.R. No. 159373 - JOSE R. MORENO, JR. vs PRIVATE MANAGEMENT OFFICE

  • G.R. No. 159991 - CARMELINO F. PANSACOLA vs COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE

  • G.R. No. 159734 and G.R. NO. 159745 - ROSARIO V. ASTUDILLO vs PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES

  • G.R. No. 160347 - ARCADIO and MARIA LUISA CARANDANG vs HEIRS OF QUIRINO A. DE GUZMAN, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 160618 - DENNIS D. SY vs METROPOLITAN BANK & TRUST COMPANY

  • G.R. No. 160805 - SPOUSES ADIEL DE LA CENA and CARIDAD AREVALO DE LA CENA vs SPOUSES JOSE BRIONES and HERMINIA LLEDO BRIONES

  • G.R. No. 161086 - CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION vs COURT OF APPEALS

  • G.R. No. 161136 - WILFREDO VAGILIDAD, ET AL. vs GABINO VAGILIDAD, JR., ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 161115 - DOLE PHILIPPINES, INC. vs MEDEL ESTEVA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 162037 - Heirs of Enrique Diaz v. Elinor A. Virata

  • G.R. No. 162243, G.R. No. 164516 & G.R. No. 171875 - HEHERSON ALVAREZ vs PICOP RESOURCES, INC.

  • G.R. No. 162308 - G & M PHILIPPINES, INC. vs ROMIL V. CUAMBOT

  • G.R. No. 162331 - LEPANTO CONSOLIDATED MINING CO. vs WMC RESOURCES INT L. PTY. LTD., ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 162366 - FEDERICA M. SERRANO, ET AL. vs SPOUSES ANSELMO GUTIERREZ AND CARMELITA GUTIERREZ

  • G.R. No. 163735 - GREEN ASIA CONSTRUCTION AND DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION, ET AL. vs COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 163712 - METROPOLITAN BANK AND TRUST COMPANY, ET AL. vs JOSE B. TAN, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 163763 - MALAYAN REALTY, INC. vs UY HAN YONG

  • G.R. No. 164300 - SPOUSES BENJAMIN AND AGRIFINA SIM vs M.B. FINANCE CORPORATION

  • G.R. No. 164321 - SKECHERS, U.S.A., INC. vs INTER PACIFIC INDUSTRIAL TRADING CORP., ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 164545 - LORBE REBUCAN y BALTAZAR vs PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES

  • G.R. No. 165038 - HEIRS OF EMILIO R. DOMINGO AND FELICIDAD CORNEJO, ET AL. vs THE HEIRS OF CLARITA D. MARTIN, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 164858 - HENRY P. LANOT vs COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS

  • G.R. No. 165724 - ZAMORA REALTY and DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION, ET AL. vs OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT OF THE PHILIPPINES, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 165879 - MARIA B. CHING vs JOSEPH C. GOYANKO, JR., ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 166403 - BENZON O. ALDEMITA vs HEIRS OF MELQUIADES SILVA

  • G.R. NOS. 166143-47 and G.R. NO. 166891 - ABDUSAKUR M. TAN, ET AL. vs COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 166496 - JOSEFA BAUTISTA FERRER vs SPS. MANUEL M. FERRER, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 166501 - ERNESTO B. FRANCISCO, JR. vs HON. BAYANI F. FERNANDO

  • G.R. No. 166649 - ROBERT B. CABUYOC vs INTER-ORIENT NAVIGATION SHIPMANAGEMENT, INC., ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 166833 - FELIXBERTO CUBERO, ET AL. vs LAGUNA WEST MULTI-PURPOSE COOPERATIVE, INC., ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 166837 - LIGAYA S. ORBETA vs RUBEN P. ORBETA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 167680 - SAMUEL PARILLA, ET AL. vs DR. PROSPERO PILAR

  • G.R. No. 167723 - CLUB FILIPINO, INC. vs ROMEO ARAULLO

  • G.R. No. 167743 - HILARIO P. SORIANO vs OMBUDSMAN SIMEON V. MARCELO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 167844 - OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN vs COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 168035 - MELANIE M. MESINA, ET AL. vs GLORIA C. GARCIA

  • G.R. No. 168718 - OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN vs FARIDA T. LUCERO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 168694 - THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES vs SAIDAMIN MACABALANG y MALAMAMA

  • G.R. No. 169193 - SPOUSES ILUMINADA CAPITLE and CIRILO CAPITLE vs FORTUNATA ELBAMBUENA, ET AL.

  • G.R. NOS. 169295-96 - REMINGTON INDUSTRIAL SALES CORPORATION vs ERLINDA CASTANEDA

  • G.R. No. 169341 - City of Cebu v. Vicente B. Del Rosario

  • G.R. No. 169578 - TERESITA DIO vs ST. FERDINAND MEMORIAL PARK, INC., ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 169698 - LUPO ATIENZA vs YOLANDA DE CASTRO

  • G.R. No. 169891 - PHILIPPINE NATIONAL RAILWAYS vs ETHEL BRUNTY, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 170220 - JOSEFINA S. LUBRICA, ET AL. vs LAND BANK OF THE PHILIPPINES

  • G.R. No. 170522 - CELSO LOPEZ OCATE vs COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 170829 - Perla G. Patricio v. Marcelino G. Dario III, et al.

  • G.R. No. 171102 - ATP TECHNOLOGIES INTERNATIONAL, INC. vs MICRON PRECISION PHILS., INC.

  • G.R. No. 170840 - THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES vs GREGORIO CARPIO @ "GORIO"

  • G.R. No. 171144 - SANTOS L. NACAYTUNA vs PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES

  • G.R. NOS. 171322-24 - MARIANITO S. VICTORIANO vs PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES

  • G.R. No. 172274 - ROMEO D. CABARLO vs PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES

  • G. R. No. 171447 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES vs FEDERICO ARNAIZ y ARMONIO

  • G.R. No. 173290 - ZENAIDA M. LIMBONA vs JUDGE RALPH S. LEE, ET AL.

  •  





     
     

    A.M. No. MTJ-06-1660 - Formerly A.M. No. OCA IPI 04-1519-MTJ - SPOUSES TREFIL AND LINA A. UMALE  vs  JUDGE NICOLAS V. FADUL, JR.

      A.M. No. MTJ-06-1660 - Formerly A.M. No. OCA IPI 04-1519-MTJ - SPOUSES TREFIL AND LINA A. UMALE vs JUDGE NICOLAS V. FADUL, JR.

    PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT DECISIONS

    FIRST DIVISION

    [A.M. NO. MTJ-06-1660 : November 30, 2006]
    (Formerly A.M. No. OCA IPI 04-1519-MTJ)

    SPOUSES TREFIL AND LINA A. UMALE, Complainants, v. JUDGE NICOLAS V. FADUL, JR., MUNICIPAL TRIAL COURT, PAGSANJAN, LAGUNA, Respondent.

    R E S O L U T I O N

    CALLEJO, SR., J.:

    The instant administrative matter stemmed from the Complaint1 filed by the spouses Trefil and Lina Umale, charging Judge Nicolas V. Fadul, Jr., Municipal Trial Court, Pagsanjan, Laguna, with serious neglect of duty, partiality, and gross ignorance of the law.

    The antecedents, as well as the allegations in the complaint, are summarized by Executive Judge Maryann E. Corpus-Manalac, Regional Trial Court, Santa Cruz, Laguna (to whom the case was assigned for investigation, report and recommendation) as follows:

    The complaint stemmed from respondent's Order dated December 4, 2002 suspending indefinitely the proceedings in seven (7) criminal cases for violation of BP 22 filed before his sala by herein complainants against one Hung Ching Ming docketed as Criminal Cases Nos. 4709-4710 and 4745-4749. The order of suspension came as a result of the parties' joint oral manifestation of a compromise agreement.

    When Hung Ching Ming's counsel failed to draft the compromise agreement, herein complainants filed a Motion, dated January 15, 2003, for the early decision of the subject criminal cases. Because of the inaction of respondent judge on this motion, the complainants filed a second motion for early resolution dated July 10, 2003, and eventually on August 27, 2003 filed a Motion for Inhibition and Disqualification of respondent. As of the filing of the instant administrative charge, none of the subject motions were acted upon.

    From the foregoing factual backdrop, complainants charged the respondent judge with the aforementioned administrative offenses, contending that:

    1. The indefinite suspension of the proceedings in the subject criminal cases upon mere verbal manifestation of the parties of settlement instead of requiring the parties to submit the compromise agreement, constitute ignorance of the law, bias and prejudice against herein complainants;

    2. [To] further support the claim of bias and prejudice of the respondent judge, complainants cited an alleged instance when complainant Trefil Umale went to the latter's sala to inquire on the status of the motions but respondent allegedly confronted her in a "loud voice overheard by many court employees."

    3. The failure of the respondent to act on the two motions for early decision dated [January] 15 and July 10, 2003 as well as the motion for inhibition and disqualification beyond the 90-day period constitute gross neglect of duty;2

    Thus, the instant complaint centers on three motions filed by complainants in Criminal Cases Nos. 4709-4710 and 4745-4749, which respondent failed to act upon:

    (1) Motion for Early Decision dated 15 January 2003;

    (2) Motion for Immediate Resolution dated 10 July 2003; andcralawlibrary

    (3) Motion for Inhibition or Disqualification filed on 27 August 2003.

    In his Comment,3 respondent judge denied the allegations against him. He explained that it was the parties themselves who manifested that the proceedings be suspended after they agreed to talk about the civil aspect of the case, thus, he issued the Order4 dated December 4, 2002. Respondent judge pointed out that the suspension of the proceedings was made with the conformity of the public prosecutor, and that he had offered his chambers for the parties' use while he was hearing other cases. He was merely waiting for an appropriate legal move from the complainants to proceed with the case. He stressed that the defense had not yet terminated its presentation of evidence, and as such, it would not have been proper for him to act on the motion for early resolution.

    To disprove the charge of bias and partiality, respondent judge pointed out that he had granted complainant's oral motion to strike the direct testimony of the accused when the latter failed to appear for continuation of his testimony. As to his alleged serious neglect of duty, respondent judge alleged that he is handling five salas and personally hears almost 2,000 cases, coupled with the constraint of limited court attendance of the public prosecutor who is available only for two (2) days a month. Hence, his delay in acting on the subject motions are for reasons attributable not solely to him.

    During the hearings before Executive Judge Corpus-Manalac, respondent judge was initially directed to file an additional comment or answer to the complaint within ten (10) days from notice. Initial hearing was set on September 13, 2005. However, respondent judge failed to appear on the said date, and hearing was reset to September 27, 2005. On this date, respondent judge manifested that he was adopting his comment as his answer. On the other hand, complainant's counsel manifested that he had no witness to present since complainant Trefil Umale was in the United States, and thus, rested its case. The hearing for reception of evidence in respondent judge's favor was reset to October 12, 2005, during which complainant's counsel formally manifested that the charges against respondent judge were being withdrawn. Respondent judge welcomed this development and opted not to proceed with the presentation of counter-evidence. Thus, the Executive Judge made the following findings:

    As admitted by respondent, he incurred delay in resolving the motions pending before his sala way beyond the 90-day period fixed by the Constitution and the law. His explanation - that the two (2) motions for early decision are erroneous pleadings - does not absolve him from nonetheless acting on the same within the 90-day deadline, since he simply had to deny it and proceed with the reception of the defense' evidence as he claimed to be proper. On the other hand, the alleged unavailability of the public prosecutor and the volume of cases pressing his attention, granting them to be true, are hardly acceptable to exempt him from being prompt in resolving the pending incidents. The reasons he cited could have earned merit had he sought an extension of time to rule on the motions. x x x

    x x x

    Be that as it may, a review of the record bears no trace of ignorance of the law, bias and partiality on the part of respondent to warrant an administrative sanction on that score.

    It is noted from the complaint itself that the Order of suspension dated December 4, 2002 was an offshoot of complainant's own oral manifestation of a compromise settlement. If they, indeed, did not agree to the suspension of the proceeding, they should have timely moved for its reconsideration. Records show that it was only when the intended settlement failed that the complainants moved for early decision of the criminal cases, and belatedly prayed for the setting aside of the suspension order.

    While complainants attribute error and irregularity in the questioned order, allegedly being tainted with bias and partiality, they miserably failed to prove the same. On the contrary, they withdrew their charge against respondent. Though in principle the said withdrawal does not terminate this administrative case, the same stripped the record of a persuasive showing that, indeed, respondent was motivated by bias in issuing the order of suspension and in failing to act on the subject motions. Mere failure to act on the motions within the prescribed period does not connote bad faith and partiality. Malice and bias are never presumed. The complainants have the burden of proving the allegations in the complaint with substantial evidence. In the absence thereof, charges of bad faith, bias and partiality based on mere suspicion and speculation cannot be given credence.

    Recommendation

    Whereof, it is respectfully recommended that:

    1. The instant complaint for Gross Ignorance of the Law, Bias and Partiality and Serious Neglect of Duty against respondent be dismissed;

    2. Respondent judge Nicolas V. Fadul, Jr. be found guilty of the less serious charge of undue delay in resolving incidents in his court and fined the amount of eleven thousand pesos (Php11,000.00) and warned that a repetition of the same will be dealt with more severely.5

    For its part, the Office of the Court Administrator (OCA) opined that while respondent judge should be held administratively liable for the less serious charge of undue delay in resolving motions, there are "attenuating circumstances" which should be considered in favor of respondent, and thus, a P5,000.00 fine will suffice:

    An inquiry from the Court Management Office, OCA revealed that aside from his regular station, respondent Judge Fadul is the acting presiding judge of MCTC, Lumban-Kalayaan; MCTC, Paete-Pakil-Pangil; MCTC, Siniloan-Famy; MCTC, Sta. Maria-Mabitac, all in the province of Laguna; and MCTC, Infanta-General Nakar; and MTC, Real, both in the province of Quezon.

    In view of the attenuating circumstances of numerous assignments of respondent judge and the nuances in the subject case brought about by the manifestation of the parties that they are in the process of entering into a settlement with respect to the civil aspect of the case, a fine of P5,000.00 would be appropriate.

    IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, the undersigned respectfully recommend that respondent Judge Nicolas V. Fadul, Jr., MTC, Pagsanjan, Laguna, be found guilty of undue delay in resolving pending incidents in Criminal Case Nos. 4709, 4710 and 4745 to 4749 and be FINED in the amount of P5,000.00 with a warning that a repetition of the same in the future shall be dealt with more severely. It is further recommended that the instant complaint be given a regular administrative matter number in order that it may be reflected in the personal file of respondent judge. The complaint for ignorance of the law, bias and partiality be dismissed for lack of merit.6

    At the outset, the Court stresses that the dismissal or withdrawal of charges and the desistance of witnesses does not automatically result in the dismissal of an administrative case. Affidavits of desistance filed by complainants are looked upon with disfavor; even the withdrawal of the complaint does not have the legal effect of exonerating the respondent from any administrative disciplinary action. It does not operate to divest this Court of jurisdiction to determine the truth behind the matter stated in the complaint, as our disciplinary authority cannot be dependent on, or frustrated by, private arrangements between parties; otherwise, the prompt and fair administration of justice, as well as the discipline of court personnel, would be undermined.7 However, in such cases, the charge against the respondent judge should still be proven by substantial evidence, which in this case was not established. Thus, we agree with the recommendation of both the Executive Judge and the OCA that the charges of partiality and gross ignorance of the law should be dismissed.

    However, respondent judge ought to be reminded of his duty to dispose of court business promptly within the period prescribed by law or the extended time granted by this Court.8 This is mandated by Rule 3.05 of Canon 3 of the Code of Judicial Conduct, and by no less than the Constitution itself.9 Canon 6 extols a judge to be prompt in disposing of all matters submitted to him/her, remembering that justice delayed is often justice denied.10 Delay in the disposition of cases erodes the faith and confidence of the public in the institution of justice, lowers its standards and brings them into disrepute. It is because of this that every judge must cultivate a capacity for quick decision, and must not delay the judgment which a party justly deserves. The public trust reposed in a judge's office imposes the highest degree of responsibility to promptly administer justice.11 ςηαñrοblεš νιr υαl lαω lιbrαrÿ

    The Court, however, is not unaware of the heavy caseload of judges and the rigors of travel that they sometimes have to make because of detail to vacant salas. It is precisely for this reason that the Court has been sympathetic to requests for extensions of time within which to decide cases and resolve matters and incidents related thereto.12 Indeed, the Court allows a certain degree of latitude to judges and grants them a reasonable extension of time to decide and resolve cases upon proper application by the judge concerned and on meritorious grounds.13 As pointed out by the OCA in its Report dated August 2, 2006:

    x x x [T]he alleged unavailability of the public prosecutor and the volume of cases pending in his court, assuming these were true, are also unacceptable reasons for his failure to act promptly in resolving the pending incidents. The reasons he cited could have earned merit had he sought an extension of time to rule on the motions. x x x

    There is nothing on record to show that respondent judge requested from the Court an extension of time to resolve the pending incidents.

    Under Section 9, Rule 140 of the Rules of Court, undue delay in rendering a decision or order is classified as a less serious charge, punishable by either suspension from office without salary and other benefits for not less than one (1) nor more than three (3) months, or a fine of more than P10,000.00 but not exceeding P20,000.00.14 In this case, however, considering that respondent judge has not been previously charged administratively and, as observed by the OCA, has "numerous [court] assignments," the Court finds that the penalty of admonition with stern warning will suffice.

    WHEREFORE, the Court finds respondent Judge Nicolas V. Fadul, Jr. GUILTY of inefficiency. He is ADMONISHED to be more circumspect in observing the reglementary periods for disposing of motions and cases, and is STERNLY WARNED that a repetition of the same or similar act shall be dealt with more severely.

    SO ORDERED.

    Endnotes:


    1 Rollo, pp. 1-5.

    2 Report and Recommendation dated December 22, 2005, pp. 1-2.

    3 Rollo, pp. 28-35.

    4 Id. at 36.

    5 Supra note 2, at 3-4.

    6 OCA Report dated August 2, 2006, p. 5.

    7 Guray v. Bautista, 413 Phil. 1, 11-12 (2001).

    8 Macachor v. Judge Beldia, Jr., 451 Phil. 849, 851 (2003).

    9 See Re: Judicial Audit Report Conducted in the Regional Trial Court, Branch 17, Kidapawan City v. Judge Serrano, 447 Phil. 128, 136 (2003), citing Office of the Court Administrator v. Quizon,376 SCRA 579 (2002).

    10 Re: Request of Judge Sylvia G. Jurao for Extension of Time to Decide Criminal Case No. 5812 and 27 Others Pending before the RTC-Branches 10 and 12, San Jose, Antique, 455 Phil. 212, 225 (2003).

    11 Balsamo v. Judge Suan, 458 Phil. 11, 23 (2003).

    12 Report on the Judicial Audit Conducted in the MTCC-Brs. 1, 2 & 3, Mandaue City, 454 Phil. 1, 16 (2003).

    13 Office of the Court Administrator v. Judge Joven, 447 Phil. 86, 95 (2003).

    14 Section 11 (B) of Rule 140, as amended by AM No. 01-8-10-SC, September 11, 2001.

    A.M. No. MTJ-06-1660 - Formerly A.M. No. OCA IPI 04-1519-MTJ - SPOUSES TREFIL AND LINA A. UMALE  vs  JUDGE NICOLAS V. FADUL, JR.


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