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  Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT ManilaEN BANC A.M. No. 08-5-305-RTC July 9, 2013RE: FAILURE OF FORMER JU!E ANTONIO A. CAR ONELL TO ECIE CASES SU MITTEFOR ECISION AN TO RESOL#E PENIN! MOTIONS IN T$E RE!IONAL TRIAL COURT, RANC$ 2%, SAN FERNANO, LA UNION. R E S O L U T I O N ERSAMIN, J.: This administati!e case oi inates fom the #udicial audit conducted b$ the Office of the Cout  Administato %OCA& on Mach ' and () *++, in the Re ional Tial Cout of San -enando) La Union) Banch *.) in !ie/ of the disabilit$ etiement of Pesidin 0ud e Antonio A1 Cabonell on 2ecembe '3) *++.1 Accodin to the Audit Team4s Repot) Banch *. had a total caseload of *'3 cases) consistin of 3(. ciminal cases and ,( ci!il cases) and 0ud e Cabonell failed to decide (3 ciminal cases %one inheited& and ** ci!il cases %fou inheited&) namel$5 Ciminal Case Nos1 33,') (667) 633.) '6'*) '8.*) 6386) 6++.) 67(8) 87'() 6.8') .+3() 6773) (.*() 8'33) 8+.8) (.,7) 8*7.) 6(*() (7*,) 8(+') 8,38) 68'6) 6888) 63'() 6,86) 8*,() 8(6() 6'7() 8..+) 6'.6) 6'68) .66.) 67(+) 8'33) 8''') ..*7) .333) 8'*6) 8+8,) 863.) and ..889 and Ci!il Case Nos1 '++7) (68() (68') (.3() '8(.) ('8*) 8+(3) (.7,) (683) 87,7) *,,*) 83,6) .36') .38') LRC *''*) SCA .37,) .'3+) '(,.) .'*.) .''3) .*7,) and .'*'1 3 0ud e Cabonell /as also epoted to ha!e failed to esol!e pendin motions o incidents in fou ciminal cases and 3* ci!il cases) to /it5 Ciminal Case Nos1 .667) 8(+7) ..,.) and ..,,9 and Ci!il Case Nos1 (.7') LRC 3'+,) .+8() (7.') SP *7+3) SP *76*) AC 3.7.) .3++) .36*) .+8+) SP *7,8) and SP *7,.1 * In a Memoandum dated Ma$ 36) *++,) the OCA ecommended to the Cout that a fine of P6+)+++1++ be imposed upon 0ud e Cabonell fo oss inefficienc$ fo failin to pomptl$ decide the cases and to esol!e pendin motions and incidents1 ' On 0une 3.) *++,) the Cout diected the Cle: of Cout to funish 0ud e Cabonell /ith a cop$ of the Audit Team4s Repot) and odeed him to submit his comment on the epot /ithin ten da$s fom notice1 ( Not ha!in ecei!ed the comment fom 0ud e Cabonell despite the lapse of the time i!en) the Cout esol!ed on Septembe *3) *+3+ to e;uie him to sho/ cause /h$ he should not be disciplinail$ dealt /ith o held in contempt1 6 0ud e Cabonell eplied) 8  statin that he had incopoated his comment<compliance to the 0une 3.) *++, esolution in the lette dated 0ul$ 3.) *++, %Re5 =e$ U ent Re;uest fo Release of 2isabilit$  Retiement Benefits and Mone$ =alue of Accued Lea!e Cedits& he had sent to Chief 0ustice Re$nato S1 Puno1 .  >e ema:ed that the Cout had actuall$ anted his e;uest fo the pa$ment of his disabilit$ etiement benefits sub#ect to the etention of P*++)+++1++ pendin esolution of the pendin administati!e cases a ainst him1 , In his 0ul$ 3.) *++, lette to Chief 0ustice Puno) 0ud e Cabonell sumised that the Audit Team mi ht ha!e o!eloo:ed the fact that he had inheited some of the undecided cases fom the pedecesso #ud e9 that said cases had no tanscipts of steno aphic notes) because of /hich he /as impelled to e;uie the paties to submit thei especti!e memoanda9 that the cases /ould onl$ be consideed submitted fo decision afte the paties /ould ha!e filed thei especti!e memoanda9 and that he had unde one a ;uaduple heat b$pass opeation in *++6 that had ad!esel$ affected his pace in decidin the cases1On No!embe *') *+3+) the Cout efeed 0ud e Cabonell4s lette to the OCA fo e!aluation) epot)and ecommendation1 7 In its Memoandum dated -ebua$ *) *+33) 3+  the OCA eiteated its ecommendation to impose a fine of P6+)+++1++ on 0ud e Cabonell) notin that he had failed to ende an$ !alid eason fo his dela$ in decidin the cases submitted fo decision and in esol!in the pendin motions o incidents in othe cases1 The OCA noted that onl$ fi!e cases submitted fo decision had been inheited9 and that the case ecods did not bea an$ e;uests fo e?tension of time o an$ diecti!e fo the tansciption of steno aphic notes1 It stessed that hea!$ caseload /ould not #ustif$ the failue to pomptl$ decide and esol!e cases because he could ha!e simpl$ as:ed the Cout fo an e?tension of time1The ecommendation of the OCA is /ell@ta:en) sub#ect to the modification of the penalt$ to be imposed1 As a fontline official of the 0udicia$) a tial #ud e should at all times act /ith efficienc$ and pobit$1 >e is dut$@bound not onl$ to be faithful to the la/) but also to maintain pofessional competence1 Thepusuit of e?cellence ou ht al/a$s to be his uidin pinciple1 Such dedication is the least that he can do to sustain the tust and confidence that the public ha!e eposed in him and the institution he epesents1 33 The Cout cannot o!estess its polic$ on pompt disposition o esolution of cases1 3*  2ela$ in the disposition of cases is a ma#o culpit in the eosion of public faith and confidence in the #udicial s$stem) as #ud es ha!e the s/on dut$ to administe #ustice /ithout undue dela$1 3'  Thus) #ud es ha!e been constantl$ eminded to stictl$ adhee to the ule on the speed$ disposition of cases and obse!e the peiods pescibed b$ the Constitution fo decidin cases) /hich is thee months fom the filin of the last pleadin ) bief o memoandum fo lo/e couts1 3( To futhe impess upon #ud es such mandate) the Cout has issued uidelines %Administati!e Cicula No1 '@77 dated 0anua$ 36) 3777& that /ould insue the speed$ disposition of cases and has theein eminded #ud es to scupulousl$ obse!e the peiods pescibed in the Constitution1Nonetheless) the Cout has been mindful of the pli ht of ou #ud es and undestandin of cicumstances that ma$ hinde them fom pomptl$ disposin of thei businesses1 >ence) the Cout has allo/ed e?tensions of time to decide cases be$ond the 7+@da$ peiod1 All that a #ud e needs to do is to e;uest and #ustif$ an e?tension of time to decide the cases) and the Cout has almost in!aiabl$ anted such e;uest1  0ud e Cabonell failed to decide a total of 8' cases and to esol!e 38 pendin motions o incidents /ithin the 7+@da$ e lementa$ peiod1 >e intimated that his poo health affected his pace in decidin the cases1 >ad such been the case) then he should ha!e e?plained his pedicament to the Cout and as:ed fo an e?tension of time to decide the cases1 Unfotunatel$) he failed to do so10ud e Cabonell claims that some of the inheited cases had no tanscipts of steno aphic notes) theeb$ pe!entin him fom esol!in the cases on time1 >e posits that a case /ould not be consideed submitted fo decision if the paties did not $et file thei especti!e memoanda1 1âwphi1 The Audit Team4s Repot sho/s that) in an appaent attempt to suspend the unnin of the 7+@da$ peiod to decide the cases) 0ud e Cabonell libeall$ a!e the paties in most of the o!edue cases se!eal e?tensions of time to file thei especti!e memoanda1 Some e?tensions /ee e!en fo indefinite peiods) /ith the paties bein simpl$ i!en ample time to file thei memo) as the ele!antcout odes stated1In !ie/ of the foe oin ) 0ud e Cabonell4s e?cuses ae futile in the li ht of the follo/in po!isions of Administati!e Cicula No1 *,) dated 0ul$ ') 37,7) !i5%'& A case is consideed submitted fo decision upon the admission of the e!idence of the paties at the temination of the tial1 The ninet$ %7+& da$s peiod fo decidin the case shall commence to un fomsubmission of the case fo decision /ithout memoanda9 in case the Cout e;uies o allo/s its filin ) the case shall be consideed submitted fo decision upon the filin of the last memoandum o the e?piation of the peiod to do so) /hiche!e is ealie1 Lac: of tanscipt of steno aphic notes shall not be a !alid eason to inteupt o suspend the peiod fo decidin the case unless the case /as pe!iousl$ head b$ anothe #ud e not the decidin #ud e in /hich case the latte shall ha!e the full peiod of ninet$ %7+& da$s fom the completion of the tanscipts /ithin /hich to decide the same1%(&The cout ma$ ant e?tension of time to file memoanda) but the ninet$ %7+& da$ peiod fo decidin shall not be inteupted theeb$1ithout a doubt) 0ud e Cabonell4s failue to decide se!eal cases /ithin the e lementa$ peiod) /ithout #ustifiable and cedible easons) constituted oss inefficienc$) /aantin the imposition of administati!e sanctions) 36  li:e fines1 The fines imposed ha!e !aied in each case) dependin chiefl$ on the numbe of cases not decided /ithin the e lementa$ peiod and othe factos) includin the pesence of a a!atin o miti atin cicumstances li:e the dama e suffeed b$ the paties fom the dela$) the health condition and a e of the #ud e) etc1 38  Thus) in one case) the Cout miti ated the liabilit$ of a 0ud e /ho had been suffein fom illnesses and /ho had late etied due to disabilit$) and imposed upon him a fine of P*+)+++1++ fo failue to decide '3 cases1 3. Considein that 0ud e Cabonell similal$ etied due to disabilit$) the Cout belie!es that his poo health condition eatl$ contibuted to his inabilit$ to efficientl$ pefom his duties as a tial #ud e1 That miti ated his administati!e liabilit$) fo /hich eason the Cout educes the ecommended penalt$ of fine fom P6+)+++1++ to P*+)+++1++1  >ERE-ORE) Retied 0ud e Antonio A1 Cabonell is OR2ERE2 to pa$ a fine of P*+)+++1++ to be deducted fom the P*++)+++1++ that /as /ithheld fom his etiement benefits) and the balance to beimmediatel$ eleased to him1SO OR2ERE21
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