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Diaz filed an unlawful detainer case before MTC of Naga, the case was scheduled for pretrial conference.
During the conference, Gestopa recommended barangay conciliation. Diaz’s counsel objected and
moved for mediation instead, but Gestopa insisted that he has authority to refer it back to barangay for

Gestopa concluded that since the subject land is in Naga, and the Diaz is a resident of Naga, it is proper
to refer the case for barangay conciliation. Diaz is no longer a resident of Naga so she moved for
reconsideration arguing that the referral of the case to the lupon is violation of Rules on Summary
Procedure and that she is now a resident in Dumlog, Talisay City and that the case had already beed
referred to the lupon. Gestopa denied the motion. Diaz filed an administrative case against Gestopa
alleging that he exhibited gross ignorance of the law in referring the case back to the lupon when she is
not anymore a resident of Naga. Gestopa is accused of unduly delaying for months the resolution of the
case and that he is biased so Diaz requested the case to be transferred to another court.

Gestopa argued that the referral of the case to the lupon was made in good faith. He admitted that
Lupong Tagapamayapa of Brangay North Poblacion declared that barangay conciliation failed to reach a
settlement and the case was directed to PMC but it was unsuccessful

OCA found Gestopa guilty of gross ignorance of the law.


Whether Gestopa is liable


YES. It is very clear that the period for rendition of judgments in cases faliing under summary procedure
is 30 days. There was no reason to refer the case back to the barangay for amicable settlement

Rule 140 of Rules of Court, gross ignorance of the law or procedure is a serious charge for which the
judge may be penalized with dismissal or suspension or a fine


Mansueta is the widow of the late Feliciano who was appointed as Judicial Admin of the estate of the
sps. Dioscoro Rubin and Emperatiz Rubin. Mansueta claims that during the Special Proceeding of the
intestate estate of the sps. Rubin, and an Annulment of Adoption pending before Judge Aguirre, that
Judge Aguirre extorted money from the estate; that the consolidated labor cases were decided and
became final and executory and the judgment was already satisfied and paid for personally by Dioscoro
Rubin in the amount of 44K; that he acted with grave abuse of discretion and grave abuse of authority
by ordering the estate to pay based on an non-existing final or executory decision which was illegal and
improper without notice or hearing; that Judge Aguirre threatened the Judicial Administrator if he will
not pay the labor claims and to sell the properties to pay such claims; that Feliciano was forced to pay
the amount ordered by Judge Aguirre, but was ordered released by Judge Aguirre because the money
claim had already been paid and satisfied; that the Judge was grossly ignorant of the law when he
ordered the change of administrator Feliciano when he refused to follow the orders of Judge Aguirre as
he ordered his Clerk of Court to act as Special Administrator; that the judge extended unwarranted
benefit, advantage and preference to the newly appointed Judicial Administratrix Aileen Rubin; that he
appointed adminstratrix ransacked the premises, took out records, personal belongings of Feliciano and
his wife.

Judge Aguirre claimed that Mansueta contained malicious and scurrilous allegations that smacked of
harassment, and it was filed by a disgruntled complainant who mistakenly believed that she should be
the appointed administratrix. His appointment of Aileen Rubin, the adopted child of the deceased
spouses was affirmed by CA and SC; that Mansueta confused two labor cases and that only the amount
of 44k was paid and Judge Aguirre required Feliciano to pay lawful and valid claims against the estate

Investigating Justice, found that except for the charge of Conduct Unbecoming of a Judge and violation
of Judicial Conduct, other charges against Judge Aguirre were bereft of legal basis. Judge Aguirre
committed impropriety when he sent a letter to Feliciano to discuss and expedite a possible extra-
judicial settlement of the estate and that he violated Canon2 of Code of Judicial Conduct.


Whether Judge Aguirre is guilty for conduct unbecoming of a judge and violation of Judicial Court only.


YES. For liability to attach for ignorance of the law the assailed order, decision or actuation of
the judge in the performance of official duties must not only be erroneous but must
be established to have been motivated by bad faith, dishonesty, hatred, or some
other like motive. Although the appointment of Judge Aguirre of his clerk of court
as special administrator was erroneous, such appointment was made in good faith.
Such appointment was prompted by the continued refusal of Feliciano to settle the
money claims filed against the estate.
Further, on Judge Aguirre’s impropriety, it was held that employees of the court
have no business meeting with litigants or their representatives under any

Judge Aguirre is also liable under Code of Judicial Conduct and Canons of Judicial
Ethics Canon 2 of the Code of Judicial Conduct provides that "[a] judge should
avoid impropriety and the appearance of impropriety in all activities." Carrying the
same guiding principle is Canon 3 of the Canons of Judicial Ethics which states, "[a]
judge's official conduct should be free from the appearance of impropriety, and his
personal behavior, not only upon the bench and in the performance of judicial
duties, but also in his every day life, should be beyond reproach."


Prosecutor Tilan was handling a criminal case for falsification of public document and violation of RA
7610 pending promulgation and for libel pending arraignment before Judge Flor. Prosecutor Tilan
charged Judge Flor with gross inefficiency, gross negligence and dishonesty. In the first two cases, Judge
Flor resorted to the issuance of an order requiring the submission of the parties’ memoranda instead of
rendering a decision to circumvent the statutory period of the resolution of the cases. CHR even called
his attention on the matter. In the last case, the accused filed a petition for suspension of trial, despite
the parties submission of the matter for resolution, judge flor filed to resolve the petition within the
required period.

Judge Piscoso-Flor claimed that in the first case, because prosecutors tilan and lamase and the accused’s
coiunsel asked that the promulgation of the decision be deferred pending a possible settlement of the
case.OCA directed Judge Flor to conduct an inventory of the cases pending in her court and find out
whether there were cases to be submitted for decision that had not been decided within the required
period, and to decide the cases within 30 days.

Court Administrator found Judge Piscoso-Flor to have been remiss in her duty to decide
cases within the period required by law. He recommended that the judge be merely
admonished considering that this is her first infraction and that she inherited most
of the cases that gave rise to the complaint.

Whether Judge Piscoso-Flor should be held administratively liable.


YES. Although Judge Piscoso-Flor claimed that she had requested for an extension of
time to decide there was no showing that the request was ever granted. we find
Judge Piscoso-Flor guilty of undue delay in the disposition of other cases within the
required period, in violation of the law and the rules. No less than the Constitution
sets the limits on this all-important aspect in the administration of justice. It
mandates that lower courts have three (3) months or ninety (90) days within which
to decide cases or matters submitted to them for resolution.


Eladio filed charges against Judge Esidera of soliciting and receiving at the prosecutor’s office 1,000 from
Atty. Uruma and Prosecuroe Diaz to defray expenses for a religious celebration and barangay fiesta. This
was supported by an affidavit of prosecutor Ching who claimed to have witnessed the first incident and
heard that Judge Esidera also solicited from prosecutor Diaz. Eladio also questions the Judge’s conduct
in a special proceedings in which she issued an order directing the petitioner to publish the order in a
newspaper of general circulation, instead of Catarman Weekly Tribune of which Eladio is a publisher;
that the Judge scolded her staff in open court and treated them in an inhumane and hostile manner.

Judge Alma claims that she was merely received donation for a Sto. Nino image; that Prosecutor Cing is
of dubious personality and has narcissistic personality disorder; that Catarman Weekly Tribune is not in
circulation and that Catarman Weekly Tribune failed to publish her orders on time; that she had been
maintaining a professional relationship with her staff and lawyers in her court.

OCA found Judge Alma guilty of impropriety and unbecoming conduct


Whether Judge Alma should be held administratively liable.


YES. Judge alma is guilty of Impropriety, which was manifested in, among other things, her lack of
discretion and vicious attack on Prosecutor Ching by her use of uncalled for offensive language. Her
admission of receiving P1000 and her failure to disclaim such act only confirms her lack of
understanding of the notion of propriety under which judges must be measured. Her act of proceeding
to the Prosecutor’s Office under the guise of soliciting for a religious cause betrays not only her lack of
maturity as a judge but also a lack of understanding of her vital role as an impartial dispenser of justice,
held in high esteem and respect by the local community which must be preserved at all times. It spawns
the impression that she was using her office to unduly influence or pressure Atty Yruma, and Prosecutor
Diaz into donating money through her charismatic group of religious purposes.


Antionio charged Judg Maraya with gross ignorance of the law, gross incompetence and grave abuse of
authority thru false representation. Antonio is a defendant in a case for collection of sum of money filed
by Fatima Credit Coopertive. The case was dismissed by MCTC did not rule on the counterclaim of
Antonio for attorney’s fees and litigation expenses. He filed a motion of reconsideration but was denied,
he elevated the case to RTC and filed a motion for extension of time to file a memorandum on appeal
which was granted by Judge Jr. but the judge dismissed the appeal for having been filed out of time.
Antonio imputes the following errors on the Judge: (1) that he erred in ruling that the case is covered by
Rules on Summary Procedure, considering that the total claim exceeds P10,000; (2) That he cited non-
existent case of Jaravata v. CA in his questioned order; (3) that he accepted brides in the form of food
from the cooperative, and that Antonio witnessed the Judge enjoying a drinking spree with Costelo,
then Sheriff of trial court presided over by the judge and chairman of the board and president of the

Judge Jr. refutes all accusations claiming that, his decision to dismiss the appeal was made in exercise of
the appellate jurisdiction of MCTC and of his sound discretion. That the accusations of bad faith and
corruption is baseless and that it was filed by Atty. Lacab, his counsel in an attempt to get even with the
judge; that his doctor prohibited him to drink alcoholic beverages.

Associate Justice Sorongon absolved the judge from the charge of grave misconduct and corruption, but
the citation of non-existent case is tantamount to a misrepresentation.


Whether Judge Jr. should be held liable.


YES. In order to merit disciplinary action, it must be established that the Judge’s actions were motivated
by bad faith, dishonesty or hatred or were attended by fraud, dishonesty or corruption. Absence of such
proof, the decision of order is presumed to have been issued in good faith. Bias or partiality cannot be
presumed, neither can bad faith or malice be inferred just because the judgment or order is adverse to
the complainant.

Judge Jr. can be liable for gross ignorance of the law if it can be shown that he committed an error so
gross and patent as to produce an inference of bad faith. Antonio is mistaken because under the Rules
of Court all other cases… where the total amount of the plaintiff’s claim does not exceed P100,000… falls
within the scope of Rules on Summary Procedure. Moreover, even if the judge erred in issueing the
order, he cannot be held administratively liable for his official acts, no matter how erroneous, for as long
as he acted in good faith.

On the citation of non-existent case, the Code of Judicial Conduct demands a judge be faithful to the law
and maintain professional competence.


OCA conducted a financial audit on MTCC books of accounts which covered terms of several clerks of
court. It showed that Marcelo incurred P792,213 shortage and Espanola incurred shortage of P11,647.
Espanola paid the shortages she incurred. Marcelo denied the charge of malversing/pocketing the
court’s collections but admitted that he failed to deposit the collections with Land Bank and instead
gave it to his mother who in turn gave it to Bernadette; that aroiund 2 years, his collections had
accumulated and when he decided to make the deposits, there was already change in the signatories
authorized to make such deposits.

Judge Capellan recommended Marcelo’s dimisal. OCA concurred the Judge’s findings.




Marcelo violated that trust several times over for a period covering more than two
years. He made collections for the court's several funds (JDF, Fiduciary Fund,
General Fund, Special Allowance for the Judiciary, between March 5, 2002 and
December 31, 2004) and never bothered to deposit these collections in the official
court depository bank, the Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP), a violation of the rule
that all clerks of court are required to deposit all collections with the LBP within
twenty-four (24) hours upon receipt of the collections. Marcelo also held on to his
collections, thus committing another violation. Clerks of court may not keep funds
in their custody.

"[N]o amount of explanation can hide the fact that respondent Marcelo for so many
years had at his disposal the huge amount of money which if deposited in the bank
could have redounded to the benefit of the government.


Complainant were plaintiffs in a civil case against FBM Construction & Agro-Industrial Corporation for
specific performance. The case was decided based on a compromise agreement by the parties. On their
motion, the court issued an order directing the issuance of writ of execution but they did not receive a
copy of the order granting the motion, neither did Ramirez (OIC, branch clerk of court) issue the writ of
execution. When Judge Iturralde and Gumarang went to the court to inquire on the status of their
motion, they insisted that Flordeliza look for the records and found out that he court order with original
carbon copies was still attached to the records and claimed that at that point, FBM Corporation already
had a copy of the order. They also claim that when they confronted Ramirez, she appeared to be
uneasy, hesitant and apprehensive on what to do but she was compelled to issue the writ. Salvador, the
branch sheriff, unjustifiably and for unknown reasons, refused to implement the writ, after a few days.
Salvador informed the complainants that FB Corporation appealed to the CA, but upon inquiry to CA,
instead of an appeal, FBM Corp filed a petition for annulment of judgment, which the CA disissed


Sonido filed a complaints against Kristel Ann Asebo for violatiokn of RA 9262. Sonido received a copy of
the resolution. She went to Branch 80 and Ilocso, Clerk III of RTC said that she would prepare the
warrant of arrest and advised Sonido to return the next day to get a copy. However, despite repeated
returns, Ilocso consistently failed to give her a copy and instead gave excuses. Ilocso assured Sonido that
copies of the warrant were already mailed to proper authorities. When Sonido finally got a copy of the
warrant with the remark, “sige ipahuli mo na yan”, she immediately went to a police investigator for
execution but found out that Kristel already went abroad to work as a caregiver. Ilocso denied Sonido’s
accusations and blamed her busy schedule for her inability to have the warrant of arrest released, she
denied receiving P100; she also claimed that the parties to the criminal case executed a compromise
agreement where the complainant executed an affidavit of desistance and asked for the dismissal of the
case, which the court granted.

OCA found ilocso guilty of simple neglect of duty as . Ilocso has been gravely remiss in the
performance of her duties resulting not only in the delay in the service of a copy of
the warrant to Sonido, but in the failure to arrest the accused

Whether Ilocso should be administratively liable for simple neglect?


No. Ilocso’s infraction is more serious than simple neglect of duty. The delay, to our
mind, was by design and was not an innocent lapse or mistake. Ilocso’s promises,
her excuses, the delay from the filing of the information to the release of the
warrant of arrest, the time of the release to Sonido of a copy of the warrant, and
the timing of the departure of the accused for Taiwan — all lead us to conclude that
the release of the warrant was delayed to favor the accused.

Ilocso had placed the court in a very negative light. It prejudiced the Court’s
standing in the community as it projected an image of a Court that is unable to
enforce its processes on time. For this reason, we find her liable not only for simple
neglect of duty, but for the more serious offense of conduct prejudicial to the best
interest of the service.


Complainants allege that they are the legal heirs of Miguel Gorembalem in a civil case, Miguel was made
liable to pay the Villas and Leticia. Judge Ayco directed the issuance of a writ of execution, Sheriff
Calsenie issued a Notice of Levy on the property of Miguel and scheduled an execution sale since he
failed to settle the judgment obligation. Complainants then, filed a 3rd party claim on the property but
was denied by RTC, they moved for reconsideration but Judge Ayuco denied the same only 15 months
from filing and more than 8 months from the time such motion was submitted for resolution. The
complainants then filed a Notice of Appeal which was denied, their motion for reconsideration was
likewise denied. The plaintiffs files a motion for writ of possession/demolition/break open and set
hearing but complainants only received a copy of the motion 5 days after the scheduled hearing.
Complainants claim that that OIC Bartolome issued the writ of possession and demolition premature
and they believe that Bartolome displayed either bias or gross ignorance of the law and incompetence
since it clearly violated the 3-day notice rule. Sheriff Calsenia impremented the writ of demolition
without prior service of notice to vacate on the compainants. After the demolition, they claim
Bartolomo shouted at sps. Villa’s daughter.

Judge Ayuco admitted that the order denying the motion for recon was issued beyond 90-day period
after it was submitted for resolution, but he denied the complainant’s allegation claimaing that the
complaint should be dismissed for (1) the motion for recon would have been dismissed anyway as it was
filed late; (2) the filing of the motion was merely a plot to obstruct and impede the conduct of the
execution sale; (3) his branch was a single sala court catering to 7 large municipalities and burdened
with heavy case load; (4) this was the 1st time that he had been charged with delay

Bartolome claim that it was not his duty to assess the propriety of the pleadings filed, she issued the
writ of Possession because it was her ministerial duty. She denied the display of animosity towards the
complainant’s daughter.

Sheriff Calsenia insisted that the implementation of the writ ddid not cause any undue damage because
the piggery was already vacant, he denied that he mishandled the complainant’s belongings because the
house was already empty at the time of the demolition. He also denied stealing building materials

OCA found Bartolome to be innocent of the charges; Judge Ayuco liable for undue delay in resolving the
motion for reconsideration and Sheriff Calsenia administratively liable for his failure to serve a notice to
vacate prior to the implementation of the writ of possession


Whether OCA’s recommendation is correct.


Yes. Bartolome was merely doing her ministerial duty and as to the allegation of discourteous conduct,
the complainants failed to substantiate it.
With respect to Judge Ayuco, he cannot be excused for the delay in resolving complainant’s motion for
recon, it took him eight months to resolve the motion which was a violation of Rule 37, Section 4 of
Rules of Court requiring said motions to be resolved within 30 days from the time of submission.

As for Sheriff Calsenia,he failed to strictly comply with the requirement of the prior notice to vacate
before demolition was required by the rules It is the duty of the sheriff to give notice of
such writ and demand to vacate the property within three days. Only after such
period can the sheriff enforce the writ by the bodily removal of defendant and his
personal belongings.


Complaint filed by NPC through Cyril Del Callar against Judge adiong with gross ignorance of the law,
manifest partiality and conduct unbecoming a member of the Judiciary. This is in connection with
several cases 1st in the civil case of Ibrahim Abdo et al. collectively sought to hold NPC liable
for damages for operating seven Hydroelectric Power plants allegedly without due
regard to the health and safety of the plaintiffs and other residents of Marawi City
and the province of Lanao del Sur. They allege that they and several others
suffered ecological and economic disasters brought about by the operation of
regulatory dams which affected the natural flow of Lake Lanao and destroyed their
farms, properties, businesses and sources of livelihood. Judge Adiong issued a
Resolution ordering NPC to pay the amounts claimed by the plaintiffs. NPC. sought
reconsideration of the order alleging that no pre-trial was conducted and yet
respondent judge already passed upon the merits of the case which was denied by
Judge Adiong claiming that fullblown hearings were conducted and NPC was
afforded all the opportunities to present its evidence and to actively participate in
hearings. NPC filed a case against the judge because since he did not conduct pre-
trial conference despite the fact that no formal offer of exhibits was made by
plaintiffs insupport of their allegations anf that the judge failed to lay down the
basis for granting the plaintiff’s exparte motion to release the refunds and in
awarding exorbitant amount of attorney’s fees.

As regards 5other civil cases which involve identical causes of action arising from
the same facts and common issues, the plaintiffs sought to hold NPC liable for
damages for its refusal to open regulation dams causing flooding on their
farmlands. In all these cases the judge rendered judgment s in favor of the
plaintiffs and issued joint special order granting joint motion for the issuance of
writ of execution pending appeal. NPC alleges that Judge failed to conform strictly
to the rigid criteria for executions pending appeal.

Judge Adiong asserts that he has set the case for hearing on several dates In all
these hearings, the parties were allowed to present whatever evidence they had to
support their claims. He also claims that the lack of pre-trial was never raised by
NPC since the time it filed its answer up to the time plaintiffs started presenting
their evidence. In addition, the records show that the plaintiffs filed their pre-trial
brief while defendant NPC did not. Thus, he argues that NPC is deemed to have
waived the holding of a pre-trial conference. The Judge denied allegations regarding
the 5 other civil cases explained that he complied with the requirements for
allowing an execution pending appeal. He asserts there was good reason for its
issuance and there was evidence substantiating the need to issue the writ of

Investigating Justice, Judge Ayson found Judge Adiong administratively liable for
the charges against him

Whether Judge Adiong should be held administratively liable.


Yes. Judge Adiong failed to conduct a pre-trial conference contrary to elementary

rules of procedure which he should have known all too well considering his long
years of service. It is elementary and plain that the holding of such a pre-trial
conference is mandatory and failure to do so is inexcusable. Such ignorance of a
basic rule in court procedure, as failing to conduct pre-trial, sadly amounts to gross
ignorance and warrants a corresponding penalty.

As to the allegations of poor judgment and gross ignorance of basic legal principles
in granting the motions for execution pending appeal for flimsy and unsupported
reasons; "Good reason" as required by Section 2, Rule 39 of the Rules of Court
does not necessarily mean unassailable and flawless basis but at the very least, it
must be on solid footing. Dire financial conditions of the plaintiffs supported by
mere self-serving statements as "good reason" for the issuance of a writ of
execution pending appeal does not stand on solid footing. It does not even stand
on its own.


Government brought suit for the purpose of correcting the transfer certificates of
title (TCTs) covering two parcels of land then registered in the names of defendants
Spouses Lim Hio and Dolores Chu due to their encroaching on a public callejon and
on a portion of the Malabon-Navotas River shoreline. De Leon, having joined Civil
Case a voluntary intervenor two years later now accuses Atty. Castelo the counsel
of record of the defendants with the serious administrative offenses of dishonesty
and falsification. He filed for Spouses Lim Hio and Dolores Chu of various pleadings
despite said spouses being already deceased at the time of filing.

Atty. Castelo alleged that, it was William Lim, children of the spouses who engaged
him as atty.; that he prepared initial pleadings based on his honest belief that
spouses weren then still living; that he had no intention to commit falsehood or
falsification; that the office of the porsecutor dismissed the complaint for
falsification against him.


Whether Atty. Castelo is liable for falsehood or falsification.


No. Atty. Castelo did not misrepresent that Spouses Lim Hio and Dolores Chu were
still living. Even granting, for the sake of argument, that any of the respondent's
pleadings might have created any impression that the Spouses Lim Hio and Dolores
Chu were still living, we still cannot hold the respondent guilty of any dishonesty or
falsification. For one, the respondent was acting in the interest of the actual owners
of the properties when he filed the answer with counterclaim and cross-claim As
such, his pleadings were privileged and would not occasion any action against him
as an attorney. Secondly, having made clear at the start that the Spouses Lim Hio
and Dolores Chu were no longer the actual owners of the affected properties due to
the transfer of ownership even prior to the institution of the action, and that the
actual owners needed to be substituted in lieu of said spouses, whether the
Spouses Lim Hio and Dolores Chu were still living or already deceased as of the
filing of the pleadings became immaterial. And, lastly, De Leon could not disclaim
knowledge that the Spouses Lim Hio and Dolores Chu were no longer living. His
joining in the action as a voluntary intervenor charged him with notice of all the
other persons interested in the litigation.


Atty. Tomas Ong Cabili (Atty. Cabili) was counsel of the Heirs of Jesus Ledesma in the latters action
for damages against the Mindanao State University (MSU) and others arising from the death of the late
Jesus Ledesma in Civil Case 06-254 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Iligan City, Branch 6. The RTC
rendered judgment against the defendants, including MSU, ordering them to pay damages to the Heirs.
On appeal, the Court of Appeals (CA) affirmed the RTC decision which became final and executory.

Eventually, on motion of the Heirs, on March 6, 2009 the RTC Branch 6 caused the issuance of a
writ of execution against the defendants. The Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) belatedly filed an
opposition to the issuance of the writ, resulting in its denial on the ground of mootness of the motion.
Meantime, the Sheriff of Branch 6, Sheriff Gerard Peter Gaje, served a notice of garnishment on MSUs
funds with the Land Bank of the Philippines Marawi City Branch by reason of MSUs failure to obey the

On April 1, 2009, to prevent seizure of its Land Bank deposits that it needed for operations, MSU
filed a special civil action of prohibition and mandamus with application for the issuance of a temporary
restraining order (TRO) and, subsequently, a preliminary injunction before the RTC Branch 8, presided
over by respondent acting presiding judge, Judge Rasad G. Balindong, against Land Bank and Sheriff Gaje.

In its petition, MSU averred that it is a state university, funded by appropriations law enacted by
Congress; that despite OSG opposition to the issuance of a writ of execution against it, such writ was
issued and Sheriff Gaje garnished upon MSUs deposits with Land Bank, who in turn gave notice to MSU
that it was putting on hold the sum of P2,726,189.90 on its deposit in Account 2002-0000-35; that, this
money being government funds, Sheriff Gaje was executing on the same in violation of Commission on
Audit (COA) Circular 2001-002 dated July 31, 2001 and SC Administrative Circular 10-2000; and that unless
restrained, the garnishment of government fund would disrupt MSUs operations.

After due hearing, Judge Balindong issued a TRO, enjoining Land Bank and Sheriff Gaje from
proceeding with the garnishment of the MSU deposit with Land Bank. To determine whether the issuance
of a writ of preliminary injunction was warranted, Judge Balindong heard the parties and required them
to submit memoranda. Instead of submitting a memorandum, Sheriff Gaje filed a motion to dismiss on
the ground that RTC Branch 8 had no jurisdiction to issue an injunction order against another court of
equal rank. Finding merit, on April 28, 2009 Judge Balindong issued an Order, dismissing the petition.

For having initially taken cognizance of the case and issuing a TRO, Atty. Cabili filed the present
administrative action Judge Balindong for gross ignorance of the law, grave abuse of authority, abuse of
discretion and/or grave misconduct prejudicial to the interest of the judicial service. The Office of the
Court Administrator (OCA) found ground to hold Judge Balindong guilty of gross ignorance of the law for
interfering with the judgment of a co-equal court. It recommended the imposition of a fine of P40,000.00
on Judge Balindong with a stern warning against a future offense.

Whether or not Judge Balindong acted with gross ignorance of the law when he issued the TRO,
pending hearing on the application for preliminary injunction that enjoined Sheriff Gaje from garnishing
MSUs Congress-appropriated operating funds for the satisfaction of the judgment of RTC Branch 6.


YES. The doctrine of judicial stability or non-interference in the regular orders or judgments of
a co-equal court is an elementary principle in the administration of justice: no court can interfere by
injunction with the judgments or orders of another court of concurrent jurisdiction having the power
to grant the relief sought by the injunction. The rationale for the rule is founded on the concept of
jurisdiction: a court that acquires jurisdiction over the case and renders judgment therein has jurisdiction
over its judgment, to the exclusion of all other coordinate courts, for its execution and over all its incidents,
and to control, in furtherance of justice, the conduct of ministerial officers acting in connection with this

Judge Balindong clearly ignored the principle of judicial stability by issuing a TRO to temporarily
restrain Sheriff Gaje from enforcing the writ of execution issued by a co-equal court, Branch 6 of the Iligan
City RTC, and from pursuing the garnishment of the amount of P2,726,189.90 from MSUs account with
the LBP, Marawi City Branch. The respondent Judge was aware that he was acting on matters pertaining
to the execution phase of a final decision of a co-equal and coordinate court since he even quoted MSUs
allegations in his April 8, 2009 Order.

The respondent Judge should have refrained from acting on the petition because Branch 6 of the
Iligan City RTC retains jurisdiction to rule on any question on the enforcement of the writ of execution.


Facts: This is an administrative case against Hon. Romeo A. Rabaca, Presiding Judge of Branch
25 of the MeTC of Manila, with ignorance of the law, disregard of the law, dereliction of duty,
knowingly rendering an unjust interlocutory order, and violation of the Code of Conduct for
Government Official

Complainants were the plaintiffs in an ejectment case decided by Respondent Judge. In said case,
respondent's decision was in favor of the complainant-plaintiffs. Complainants then through
counsel filed a motion for immediate execution, praying that a writ of execution be issued for the
immediate execution of the aforesaid Judgment.
Despite the motion for immediate execution, respondent judge granted and gave due course to the
notice of appeal filed by the defendants in the ejectment case. The Notice of Appeal was filed one
day after plaintiff's filing of Motion for Immediate Execution. Aggrieved by the action of
respondent, complainants filed a motion for reconsideration but respondent denied the same.

Complainants then filed an administrative case against Judge Rabaca.

The case was docketed as a regular administrative case, and the COURT ADMINISTRATOR
required the respondent to submit his comment on the complaint.

In defense, respondent alleged that he had honestly thought that his court had lost jurisdiction over
the case pursuant to the provision of Section 9, Rule 41 of the Rules of Court -which provides that
in appeals by notice of appeal, the court loses jurisdiction over the case upon the perfection of the
appeals filed in due time and the expiration of the time to appeal of the other parties- once he had
given due course to the defendant’s notice of appeal. He claimed that he had issued the orders in
good faith and with no malice after a fair and impartial evaluation of the facts, applicable rules,
and jurisprudence; and that if he had thereby committed lapses in the issuance of the orders, his
doing so should be considered as error of judgment on his part.

In their reply, complainants reiterated that respondent should know the law. The provision whom
respondent relied on is applicable only in appeals made from the RTC to the higher courts. The
applicable provision in this case is Rule 41 in relation to Section 19, Rule 70 of the 1997 Revised
Rules on Civil Procedure provides: "SEC. 19. If judgment is rendered against the defendant,
execution shall issue immediately upon motion, unlessan appeal has been perfected and the
defendant to stay execution files a supersedeas bond, approved by the Municipal Trial Court and
executed in favor of the plaintiff to pay the rents, damages, and costs accruing down to the time of
the judgment appealed from, and unless, during the pendency of the appeal, he deposits with the
appellate court the amount of rent due from time to time under the contract, if any, as determined
by the judgment of the Municipal Trial Court. XXXX XXXX XXXX."

The Court Administrator agreed with the complainants that respondent erred when he did not act
on complainants’ motion for immediate execution and imposed a fine of 5,000.00.

Issue: Whether or not the act of respondent is an error of judgment or an error amounting to
incompetence that calls for administrative discipline.

Held: The act of respondent is inexcusable. It is clear from the provisions of the Rules that the
perfection of an appeal by itself is not sufficient to stay the execution of the judgment in an
ejectment case. The losing party should likewise file a supersedeas bond executed in favor of the
plaintiff to answer for rents, damages and costs, and, if the judgment of the court requires it, he
should likewise deposit the amount of the rent before the appellate court from the time during the
pendency of the appeal. Otherwise, execution becomes ministerial and imperative. (Philippine
Holding Corporation vs. Valenzuela, 104 SCRA 401 as cited in Hualam Construction and
Development Corporation vs. Court of Appeals, 214 SCRA 612, 626). Respondent erred in
denying the motion for immediate execution and granting the appeal without any supersedeas

Moreover, respondent's claim that he cannot act on the motion since he lost jurisdiction over the
case when all the records were forwarded to the RTC does not hold water. The court loses
jurisdiction only after an appeal was perfected and the period to appeal of both the parties had
lapsed. In this case, the motion for immediate execution was filed PRIOR to the filing of the notice
of Appeal. These acts of respondent constitute ignorance of the law.

Thus, as ruled by the SC- Under A.M. No. 01-8-10-SC, ‘Gross Ignorance of the Law or Procedure’
is classified as serious offense for which the imposable penalty ranges from a fine to dismissal.
However, we find respondent’s acts not ingrained with malice or bad faith. It is a matter of public
policy that in the absence of fraud, dishonesty or corrupt motive, the acts of a judge in his judicial
capacity are not subject to disciplinary action even though such acts are erroneous. In Domingo vs.
Judge Pagayatan, A.M. No. RTJ-03-1751, 10 June 2003, the penalty of fine in the amount of five
thousand pesos was deemed sufficient where it was held that respondent’s lack of malice or bad
faith frees him from administrative liability but not for gross ignorance of the law.

We concur with the rationalization of the Court Administrator. Verily, even if respondent Judge’s
omission would have easily amounted to gross ignorance of the law and procedure, a serious
offense under Section 8, Rule 140, of the Rules of Court, as amended, the fact that the complainants
did not establish that malice or bad faith impelled his omission to act, or that fraud, dishonesty, or
a corrupt motive attended his omission to act demands a downgrading of the liability.

The SC considered the recommended penalty of P5,000.00 with warning that a repetition of the
same or similar act would be dealt with more severely to be commensurate to the offense.

Canon/s & Statutes violated: Rule 3.05, Canon 3 of the Code of Judicial Conduct which requires a judge to
dispose of the court’s business promptly and decide cases within the required periods.

The complaiant, Cirila Raymundo, sometime in 2000, filed six counts of violation of BP Blg 22 against Hermelinda
Chang before the MTC of Cainta, Rizal. The respondent judge presided over the court. The trial of the cases ended on
August 4, 2004 after the respondent judge declared that the accused had waived her rights to present further evidence
for repeatedly failing to appear in court despite due notice. On September 2, 2004, the complainant received a notice
from the MTC, setting the cases for trial anew on November 17, 2004, which was later moved to December 20, 2004.
When the accused and her counsel failed to appear in court, the private prosecutor moved for the reinstatement of the
MTC’s August 4, 2004 order. The respondent judge granted the motion and declared the cases submitted for decision.
The accused moved to reconsider this order and the respondent judge granted such motion on February 2005. The
cases were set for hearing on October 12, 2005. The accused and her counsel again failed to appear on the set hearing.
Thus, the MTC ordered the direct testimony of the accused to be stricken off the record and submitted the case for

On June 23, 2006, the complainant filed with the MTC an urgent ex parte motion to render decision. And almost two
years again, on March 12, 2008, the complainant filed another ex parte motion to render decision. The respondent
judge did not act on these motions. (Note: The Judge comments that it has heavy loads of cases in his court and he is
to retire on October 2008)

OCA Findings and Recommendations:

The OCA, in its Report dated February 5, 2009, made the following recommendations: (1) the instant case
be re-docketed as a regular administrative matter; and (2) the respondent judge be found guilty of undue delay in
rendering a decision, and a fine of P20,000.00 be imposed, to be deducted from his retirement benefits.

The OCA explained that while the Court is not unaware of the heavy caseload of judges, nothing in the
records shows that the respondent judge asked for an extension of time to decide the subject criminal cases. In addition,
the respondent judge failed to consider that the subject cases required a quicker resolution as they were covered by
the Rule on Summary Procedure.

Note bene again: Sec 17 of RoSP requires the court to promulgate a judgment not later than 30 days after termination
of trial. Trial ended on August 4, 2004.

ISSUE: Whether or not the respondent judge is guilty of the charges against him


Trial in the present case originally ended on August 4, 2004. For reasons not stated in the records, the cases
were again set for trial on November 17, 2004 and later moved to December 20, 2004. The MTC ordered the cases
submitted for decision when the accused once again failed to appear in court on December 20, 2004. The MTC
reconsidered this order and again set the case for hearing on October 12, 2005. The MTC ordered the testimony of the
accused to be stricken off the record and declared the cases again submitted for decision when, again, she failed –
despite due notice – to appear in court on October 12, 2005.
From this sequence of events, we find it clear that the respondent judge failed to observe the mandated period
of time to decide cases under the Rule on Summary Procedure. Following Section 17 of this Rule, he should have
rendered a decision within 30 days from the termination of trial on August 4, 2004. Even assuming that the subsequent
resettings of the cases for trial were valid, he should have rendered a decision within 30 days from October 12, 2005,
or the date the cases were finally considered submitted for decision. His failure to meet this deadline is a patent
indication that he did not take into account and had disregarded the Rule on Summary Procedure.
The Constitution mandates that all cases or matters filed before all lower courts shall be decided or resolved
within 90 days from the time the case is submitted for decision.[ Judges are enjoined to dispose of the court’s business
promptly and expeditiously and to decide cases within the period fixed by law. Failure to comply with the mandated
period constitutes a serious violation of the constitutional right of the parties to a speedy disposition of their cases – a
lapse that undermines the people’s faith and confidence in the judiciary, lowers its standards and brings it to
disrepute. This constitutional policy is reiterated in Rule 3.05, Canon 3 of the Code of Judicial Conduct which
requires a judge to dispose of the court’s business promptly and decide cases within the required periods.
In the present case, the subject cases had been submitted for decision since October 12, 2005. As correctly
pointed out by the OCA, while the respondent judge attributed his failure to render a decision to the heavy caseload
in his sala, he did not ask for an extension of time to decide the cases. This failure to decide within the required period,
given that he could have asked for an extension, is inexcusable; it constitutes neglect of duty as well as gross
inefficiency that collectively warrant administrative sanction.

Note bene na last na, pramis: Respondent judge had been previously found guilty in Blanco v Andoy of gross
ignorance of procedure and undue delay I the resolution of a motion (imposed a P25,000 fine with a stern warning…)

DISPOSITION: GUILTY of undue delay in rendering a decision and (2) violation of Canon 3, Rule 3.05 of the
Code of Judicial Conduct. He is ordered to pay a FINE of twenty thousand pesos (P20,000.00), to be deducted from
his retirement benefits.


Eduardo charged Judge Ampuan with delay in rendering a decision, gross inefficiency, and
conduct unbecoming of a judge relative to his handling of Civil Case entitled JOS
Managing Builders, Inc. v. Land Bank of the Philippines, et al. which was pending
for eight years because respondent Judge had allowed the case to drag
unnecessarily. Judge failed to render a decision despite the lapse of six months and
had likewise failed to act on the last two motions he had filed. Branch Clerk of Court
had informed him that the cause of delay had been the reconstruction of the
various transcripts of stenographic notes (TSNs

Judge explained that he had inherited Civil Case from two predecessors, and that
he had started handling it only for the last five hearings. He averred that the
stenographers who had taken the TSNs had transferred to another court, causing a
delay in the submission of the TSNs; and that the charges against him were unfair,
stressing that he conducted daily hearings because his sala was designated as a
Special Court for Tax Cases, Election Court, and Small Claims Court.

OCA found Judge guilty of gross inefficiency


Whether judge is administratively liable.


Yes. Judge really failed in his duty to promptly and expeditiously dispose of Civil
Case. He should have issued the order directing the stenographers to submit the
TSNs after the complainant had manifested that the defendants had not filed their
memorandum. Yet, he did not, but instead took more than seven months before
issuing such order. a judge cannot by himself choose to prolong the period for
deciding cases beyond that authorized by law. Had his additional court assignments
or designations unduly prevented him from deciding Civil Case Judge could have
easily sought additional time by requesting an extension from the Court


Herein petitioner, Atty. Emmanuel Andamo, counsel for the Cavite Rural Banking Corporation
(CRBC), filed this administrative complaint against the respondents, Hon. Judge Edwin
Larida, Clerk of Court Stanlee Calma and Legal Researcher Diana Ruiz with gross ignorance
of law.
Petitions for the issuance of Writs of Possession and Certificates of Sale in favor of
petitioner’s client were filed before the RTC of Tagaytay city. At that time, respondent
Hon. Judge Edwin Larida, was the attendant judge of said court together with respondents
Clerk of Court and Legal Researcher. Respondent judge denied the petitions for the said
certificates and writs on the ground that it has not observed the required elements for
the said application. The respondents Clerk of Court and Legal Researcher denied the
complainant’s petition for extrajudicial; foreclosure in the following grounds: (1) non-
payment of filing fees; (2) non-assignment of docket numbers; (3) absence of proof of
service to the sheriff and to the parties; etc.

Held: Complainant's charge of gross ignorance of the law against respondents remains
unfounded and unsubstantiated. The evidence which complainant submitted, instead of
helping his cause, showed that it was he who was stubbornly remiss in his duties to his
client and to the court, as well. The evidence likewise showed that contrary to
complainant's accusation, respondents in fact strictly complied with applicable laws,
rules, and jurisprudence pertaining to issuance of writs of possession or allowance of
extrajudicial foreclosure. It is worth noting, too, that there were no pending motions for
reconsideration filed or other incidents initiated by complainant in the subject cases to
warrant their entry in the court calendar. As a matter of fact, complainant does not deny
that the assailed Order dated March 17, 2004 had long attained finality. For Atty. Calma
and LR Ruiz to put them back in the court calendar, for no cogent reason at all, is obviously
improper. At any rate, the filing of this administrative complainant is not the proper
remedy for complainant. Complainant should have sought relief from higher courts. The
filing of an administrative case against the judge is not an alternative to the other judicial
remedies provided by law; neither is it complementary or supplementary to such actions.
Clearly, this is a frivolous and baseless complaint. The respondents cannot be held liable
for judiciously performing their sworn duty to observe and follow court proceedings as
provided by the Rules. Complainant apparently filed this complaint primarily to divert the
attention of his client from his shortcomings as its counsel, if not to simply harass the
A lawyer who files an unfounded complaint must be sanctioned because, as an officer of
the court, he does not discharge his duty by filing frivolous petitions that only add to the
workload of the judiciary.
Such filing of baseless complaints is contemptuous of the courts. Complainant was ordered to show
cause why he should not be subjected to disciplinary action for filing a frivolous and baseless complaint.


The 14-page Complaint[1] dated June 9, 1997[2] addressed to the Office of the Chief
Justice charged respondent with (1) grave abuse of authority, (2) ignorance of the
law, (3) violation of constitutional rights, (4) violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt
Practices Act, (5) conduct unbecoming a judicial officer, and (6) sexual harassment.

The first three charges arose from the respondent’s issuance of Regional
Administrative Orde which “require[d] the attendance of ALL civilian employees of
the court from the Clerks of Court down to the utility aide of each RTC and MTC or
MCTC under its territorial jurisdiction” at the convention-seminar of the Philippine
Association of Court Employees.

which “require[d] the attendance of ALL civilian employees of the court from the
Clerks of Court down to the utility aide of each RTC and MTC or MCTC under its
territorial jurisdiction” at the convention-seminar of the Philippine Association of
Court Employees

Because RAO 10-97 directed the employees to use their share in the judiciary
Development Fund (JDF) for their expenses in the PACE seminar, complainants also
charged respondent with gross ignorance of the law, specifically of PD 1949 which
governed the JDF. They alleged that PD 1949 established the JDF to augment the
allowances of court personnel and not for any other purpose. In the same vein,
they argued that RAO 10-97 violated their constitutional right to the exclusive use
of their property; that is, their salaries and JDF shares.

In alleging that respondent violated the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, they
averred that he usually directed Jonathan Mamado (then an employee of the Halls
of Justice) and some other court employees to work in his house during office

They also charged him with conduct unbecoming a judicial officer, because he
allegedly purchased the property of Metudio Lili, an accused at large whose criminal
case for murder was archived in respondent’s sala.

The charge of sexual harassment, on the other hand, stemmed from the allegations
of Violeta Hipe that respondent had made sexual advances at her. Her insistent
refusal became prompted the judge to carp at her work. When her situation
became unbearable because of respondent’s actions, she asked for a transfer

judge was also charged with ignorance of the law, vindictiveness and harassment.
Gross ignorance of the law, they maintained, was manifested in two cases decided
by respondent judge. In the first, Civil Case respondent voided a marriage under
Article 36, although the Complaint prayed for legal separation, support pendente
lite and administration of property. the second, Criminal Case respondent applied
the Indeterminate Sentence Law, although the maximum penalty imposed was two
months of arresto mayor. They further maintain that respondent started harassing
them after he learned that they were among those who had filed the Complaint
dated June 9, 1997

Acting on the recommendation of the OCA, the Court in its Resolution placed
respondent under preventive suspension pending the investigation.
vs. JUDGE VICTOR T. LLAMAS, JR., Regional Trial Court, Branch 56, San Carlos City, Pangasinan, respondent.
Charges: immorality and gross misconduct.
The complainants are court employees. They alleged that the respondent judge, although married, maintains an
illicit relationship with a married woman, Lourdes Munoz-Garcia (who fondly calls him “Daddy” or Masiken
[Pangasinense for “old man”] and the relationship is trumpeted in open view) and both are living together as husband
and wife under one roof. The Judge also used the office of his personnel as dancing halls and drinking wine rooms
during office hours. And the Judge was even drunk almost everyday (his court interpreter alleged that he holds a glass
of wine while roaming the Justice Hall during office hours and would force his staff to drink with him and some lawyers
and litigants. He loves Carlsber wines because they make him feel young). They were also subjected to intimidated
and harassed by the respondent Judge.
Associate Justice Romeo A. Brawner of the Court of Appeals findings and recommendation:

“Respondent Judge has failed to live up to these exacting magnitude of how a judge should behave. His disregard for
common decency and morality has made him unfit to discharge his present position “and thus his dismissal is in order.
His retirement benefits should likewise be forfeited but his wife who has never appeared on the scene should now be
his saving grace against such forfeiture.

“Indeed it is the wife of Judge Llamas who is the aggrieved party in the infidelity of her husband but she was not the
one who initiated this complaint nor did she participate in its prosecution. This factor should be considered in
respondent Judge’s favor and therefore he should be spared the forfeiture of his earned benefits.” ]

Justice Brawner thus recommended that respondent Judge be dismissed from service but without forfeiture of his
earned benefits.

ISSUE: Whether or not the respondent judge is guilty of immorality.


In administrative proceedings, only substantial evidence, i.e., that amount of relevant evidence that a reasonable
mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion, is required. We find no room to accommodate doubts on
Justice Brawner’s findings of facts, which we find to be a result of a meticulous and dispassionate analysis of the
testimonies of the complainants and the respondent as well as their respective witnesses. Thus, we adopt Justice
Brawner’s recommendation of dismissal.

The Code of Judicial Conduct mandates that a judge should be the embodiment of competence, integrity, and
independence. He should so behave at all times as to promote public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of
the judiciary, and avoid impropriety and the appearance of impropriety in all activities. His personal behavior, not only
while in the performance of official duties but also outside the court, must be beyond reproach, for he is, as he so
aptly is perceived to be, the visible personification of law and of justice.[
Regrettably, respondent Judge failed to live up to these standards. He brazenly flouted judicial ethics and
betrayed judicial standards by using ‘his court to indulge his drinking, singing and dancing habits to the detriment of
the other courts within the building who were disturbed by all the noise coming from his courtroom”; and, especially,
by maintaining an illicit relationship with Lourdes Muñoz Garcia, a married woman. A judge suffers from moral
obtuseness or has a weird notion of morality in public office when he labors under the delusion that he can be a judge
and at the same time have a mistress in defiance of the mores and sense of morality of the community.
A judge traces a line around his official as well as personal conduct, a price one has to pay for occupying an
exalted position in the judiciary, beyond which he may not freely venture. No position is more demanding as regards
moral righteousness and uprightness of any individual than a seat on the Bench. Thus, a judge ought to live up to the
strictest standard of honesty, integrity and uprightness. Certainly, keeping a mistress is not an act one would expect
of a judge who is expected to posses the highest standard of morality and decency.
Respondent Judge shamelessly mocked the dignity of his office and tainted the image of the entire judiciary to
which he owes fealty and the obligation to keep it at all time unsullied and worthy of the people’s trust. Respondent
Judge has shown himself unworthy of the judicial robe and the place of honor reserved for the guardian of justice in
a civilized community. On this occasion, therefore, the Court metes upon respondent Judge the severest of
administrative penalties. He is hereby stripped of his judicial robe.
However, we are unable to agree with the reservation of Justice Brawner on the forfeiture of earned benefits
due respondent Judge based on the fact that respondent Judge’s wife was not the one who initiated this complaint
nor did she participate in its prosecution. The non-participation or non-appearance of the wife in the administrative
proceedings for immorality is not a factor in the imposition of penalty. Neither should it be beneficial to respondent

Navarro alleged that respondent judge falsified his certificate of service from December 1996 and was
able to receive his salary. Navarro also alleged that the wife of respondent judge presides over the
meetings of the clerks of court when respondent was still the Executive Judge. Complainant further
averred that Mrs. Lilagan is engaged in selling shoes, bags and symmetry products at the Bulwagan ng
Katarungan of Tacloban City. Respondent judge was also charged with using the money of the Province
of Leyte in his personal trips to Manila. Marissa M. Gordon, Legal Researcher alleged that rs. Lilagan
maltreated her inside the chambers of respondent judge without any provocation. As proof of the
injuries she sustained, complainant submitted a medical certificate that she was examined and
treated at the Tacloban City Hospital which showed that she suffered from hematoma Gordon narrated
that upon being summoned to his chambers by respondent judge she was followed by Mrs. Lilagan
inside who, upon closing the door and without any provocation, gripped her upper arms tightly from
behind and violently shook her from side to side causing intense pain and multiple hematoma in her
upper arms.. Gordon further alleged that Mrs. Lilagan, who was not a court employee, was always at the
office of respondent judge and was engaged in the business of selling. products to lawyers and court
personnel. Complainant also stated that Mrs. Lilagan acted as an alter ego of respondent judge and
practically ran and managed the court since she calls and presides over court staff meetings, assigns
staff workloads and discusses the merits of decisions and resolutions, sometimes even with the lawyers
and parties-litigants. According to complainant, all these acts of Mrs. Lilagan were being allowed and
tolerated with pride by respondent judge.

In response to Navarros complaint, respondent judge commented,[4] among others, that when he
received the First Indorsement from the OCA to comment on the complaint, he immediately went to the
address of the complainant and discovered that Jose B. Navarro is a fictitious name and that no such
person resided in the address stated in the complaint. Respondent judge admitted that his wife stays in
his office but argued that this act does not violate any Supreme Court Circular. With regard to the
charge of falsification of his certificate of service, respondent judge alleged that no evidence was
presented by complainant to prove the same and that the contents of the letter-complaint of Jose B.
Navarro were mere fabrications.

As to Gordons letter complaint, respondent judge denied the allegations ontending that the same were
designed to seek vengeance because he disapproved Gordons request to go on leave to take the Bar
Examinations. He further stated that he recalled the voucher of the complainant for the Legal
Researchers Conference when he discovered that the amount requested by complainant was too much
and without his imprimatur, as a result of which, complainant was not able to attend said conference.
he admitted that his wife assisted him in his caseload considering that she was previously employed in
the judiciary as a Legal Researcher of the Regional Trial Court. He averred that he requested his wife to
go over the records to pinpoint problem areas and to suggest measures to rectify the same and to
improve the system of case monitoring.

Justice Jacinto recommended the following: complaint

filed by Jose B. Navarro be
dismissed; Respondent be admonished for allowing his wife, Mrs. Lilagan,
to have access to records of cases in his court; Respondent be advised to
minimize Mrs. Lilagans presence in his court in order to prevent people
from entertaining the idea or from having the impression that she is
somehow interfering with or influencing respondent in the discharge of
his judicial functions.

here is enough evidence on record to show that respondent permitted Mrs. Lilagan to have access to
court records in order to monitor the dates when cases are submitted for decision. There is impropriety
in this. Records of cases are necessarily confidential, and to preserve their integrity and confidentiality,
access thereto ought to be limited only to the judge, the parties or their counsel and the appropriate
court personnel in charge of the custody thereof. Since Mrs. Lilagan is not a court employee, much less
the employee specifically in charge of the custody of said records, it was improper for respondent to
allow her to have access thereto.

Code of Judicial Conduct states in no uncertain terms that

Rule 3.08. A judge should diligently discharge administrative

responsibilities, maintain professional competence in court management
and facilitate the performance of the administrative functions of other
judges and court personnel.

Rule 3.09. A judge should organize and supervise the court personnel to
ensure the prompt and efficient dispatch of business and require at all
times the observance of high standards of public service and fidelity.

Apropos to Mrs. Lilagans ubiquitous presence and intervention in court business and functions
is Rule 2.03 of the Code of Judicial Conduct which explicitly provides that [A] judge shall not
allow family, social or other relationships to influence judicial conduct or judgment. The prestige
of judicial office shall not be used or lent to advance the private interests of others, nor convey or
permit others to convey the impression that they are in a special position to influence the judge.
(Italics supplied)
Respondent judges practice of allowing his wife to go over the records of cases in his sala
may indeed convey the impression that she is the one who can probably influence respondents
official functions. If complainant Gordon, who is an employee of the court, has perceived Mrs.
Lilagan as having meddled or interfered in respondents official functions as well as the activities
of the court, it is highly probable that such an impression is shared by other people in the
locality. Needless to state, this will definitely not promote or enhance the peoples faith in the


Complainant, Atty. Clodualdo C. De Jesus, is the counsel of spouses Hilario and Felicitas
Baldovino, the defendants in an ejectment case filed by Daniel Pineda and spouses Ziegfredo
and Estrella P. Cabungcal. Daniel Pineda and his wife veloro leased to sps Baldovino 2 parcels
of land on which they constructed a movie house that extended to the adjacent property owned
by them. The lease was for 25 years with an option to renew for another 25 years provided that
the sps notify the lessors of their intention to renew the lease sixty (60) days prior
to its expiration. Claiming that the failure of the defendants to notify them of their
intention to renew the lease caused its expiration, the plaintiffs filed an ejectment
suit against them.

Dayawon charged Judge Garfin with ignorance of the law and serious misconduct
relative to a BP22 case against Dayawon. Judge Garfin convicted Dayawon without
conducting a trial on the merits thus, Dayawon was deprived of her day in court
and was found guilty of the crime charged without due process of law. Dayawon
claim that after arraignment , his counsel filed a motion to quash on the ground
that the amount of the 4 bouncing checks has already been paid and that no
demands for payment have been made to Dayawon as she was not given any
notice of dishonor. During hearing on the motion to dismiss, Dayawon presented
evidence to support her motion so did the prosecution. The motion to dismiss was
denied and simultaneously resolved the criminal cases on the merits without setting
the cases for trial.

Judge Grfin claim that during the pretrial, Dayawon admitted having issued
bouncing checks and presentation of evidence for both parties were already done
during the hearing of the motion, that the proceedings were converted into a full-
dress hearing on the merits with both parties’ consent. Dayawon denied that she
consented to the conversion of the hearing and that there was an order to this
effect and that had she known that the proceedings were already on the merits, she
would have presented other evidence in her defense.

OCA found Judge Garfin guilty of gross ignorance of the law and grave misconduct


Whether judge Garfin is liable.


Yes. Any judge should know that before an accused can be convicted of a crime
charged, it is essential that he be given the chance to refute the allegations against
him in a proper trial on the merits and not simply in a hearing on an incident of the
case such as a motion to quash. Conformably, a modified order of trial is authorized
whenever an accused admits the charge but interposes a lawful defense. This does
not mean, however, that in such a case, trial could be dispensed with altogether.
Chiong (Ernie Tan) filed a complaints against Cosico for grave abuse of discretion and conduct
prejudicial to the service relative to a criminal case of BP22 where Tan was the complainant.
Accused, dela cruz was convicted by RTC and was ordered to pay Tan, this decision was
affirmed in toto by CA where Justice Cosico was ponente. A motion for reconsideration was filed
by Dela Cruz with the CA and the OSG did not file any responsive pleading and Justice Casico
issued a resolution reversing the earlier ponencia. Tan charged that there was an alleged
connivance between Justice Cosico, the counsel of Dela Cruz and the OSG since the
counsel of the accused was able to file his 27 page motion for reconsideration the
same day he received the decision

Justice Cosico denied allegations and argued that even if there was an error of
judgment, the well-established rule is that an administrative case is not proper
remedy for error of judgment. He filed a rejoinder motion for early decision where
he argues that the complaint is dismissible because the same is based on
conjecture and speculation. In his Comment to Rejoinder,[8] complainant insists that
the recall of entry of judgment was unwarranted because accused-appellant and
counsel were apprised of the judgment when they received a copy of the writ of
execution to which was appended a copy of the decision. Hence, the decision had
become final and executory fifteen days after receipt of the writ because knowledge
is equivalent to notice. the claim that the decision was sent to the wrong address is
not true because counsel used two addresses alternately in the filing of pleadings,


Whether Justive Cosico is administratively lliable.


No. in order to hold a judge liable for knowingly rendering an unjust judgment, it
must be shown beyond reasonable doubt that the judgment was made with a
conscious and deliberate intent to do an injustice. This criteria can not be applied to
respondent Justice since there is no showing of any wrongful, improper or unlawful
conduct on his part. it is settled that judges, or Justices of superior courts for that
matter, can not be held to account criminally, civilly or administratively for an
erroneous decision rendered in good faith.
Victoria sought the disbarment of Judge Jose who was already retired due to a decision penned
by Judge Jose after retirement. Judge Jose merely claimed that the complaints was purely
speculative and not based on personal knowledge and that he observed die proses when he
resolved the case against Victoria.
Borres heirs through consel Atty. Alberto Villaruz filed an action for partition and accounting
against Victoria, who was presumably an heir or late Faustina Borres, it was an action for
cancelation of TCT in the name of Victoria and declaration of said land as property commonly
owned by the Borres heirs. After many postponements for Borres heirs to present their evidence
ex parte, the presentation of evidence was done inside the chambers of Judge Jose with only
the complainants, stenographer from another court and atty. VIllaruz. Teresita Bauzon, court
stenographer of Br. 17 was asked to type the draft decision of the civil case in Judge Jose’s
house, he told Teresita that he still had 1 year to decide cases. Judge Jose went to Br. 17 with
the Borres heirs and asked Alaud to receive the decision, nobody received the decision
because it was already 7 months after his retirement. She later found the decision together with
the formal offer of exhibits on her table so she went on to attach the records to expediente of the
civil case and gave a copy to borres and Atty. Villaruz. Meanwhile, Victoria had been working in
Japan and came back to the Philippines when she found out about her property so she filed a
petition for relief from Order questioning the decision and prayed that disciplinary and contempt
proceedings be taken against those involved in the anomaly to tamper with the administration of
justice. Judge Abela, declared the questioned decision null and void, the same not being filed
with the clerk of court and not properly rendered in accordance with the rules
Bar confidant recommended the disbarment of Judge Jose declaring that it found more than
sufficient evidence to sustain Victoria’s charge
Whether Judge Jose is liable.

Yes. The testimonies of Nenita M. Aluad, Teresita V. Bauzon and Concepcion Alcazar
were all quite telling on how respondent acted in a grossly reprehensible manner
leading ultimately to its execution divesting the complainant of her property. Judge
Jose gravely abused his relationship with his former staff, pompously flaunting his
erstwhile standing as a judge and he disregarded his primary duty as an officer of
the court, who is sworn to assist the courts and not to impede or pervert the
administration of justice to all and sundry. He violated lawyer’s oath and canons 1
rule1.01, Rule 1.02, Canon 7, Rule 7.03, Canon 10, Rule 10.01

Judges cannot take refuge in the inefficiency or mismanagement of his court personnel since
proper and efficient court management is their responsibility.

On July 16, 2003, Provincial Prosecutor Manuel Torrevillas, Jr. brought to the attention of then Chief
Justice Hilario G. Davide, Jr. the “inapropriate actuation” of Judge Roberto A. Navidad of the Regional
Trial Court (RTC) of Calabayog City in the handling of cases before his sala. The Chief Justice thus
instructed the Provincial Prosecutor to submit a written report thereon to which he complied by letter-

By 1st Indorsement, the letter-complaint was referred by the Chief Justice to then Court Administrator
and now a member of this Court, Presbitero J. Velasco, Jr., for comment and recommendation. By
Resolution, the Court acting on the recommendations of Justice Velasco in his Memorandum to the
Chief Justice, required Judge Navidad to comment on the complaint and directed the Court
Management Office of the Office of the Court Administrator (OCA) to: (1) conduct a judicial audit on
“all undecided criminal cases, which include cases that are pending, submitted for decision, archived,
etc. for the purpose of determining any inappropriate actuation with respect to the issuance of court
orders especially on matters pertaining to the grant of bail in non-bailable offenses”; and (2)
coordinate with Trial Prosecutor Cicero T. Lampasa as regards the other cases that needed to be

By Resolution, the Court referred the complaint to Justice Isaias P. Dicdican of the Court of Appeals for
investigation, report and recommendation.


Whether or not Judge Navidad should be held administratively liable for gross inefficiency


While it is well-settled that the courts cannot interfere with the discretion of the public prosecutor to
determine the specificity and adequacy of the offense charged, the judge may dismiss a complaint if he
finds it to be insufficient in form or substance or without any ground; otherwise, he may proceed with
the case if in his view it is sufficient and proper in form.

In the discharge of a judge’s duties, however, when the inefficiency springs from a failure to consider
so basic and elemental a rule, a law or a principle, the judge is either too incompetent and undeserving
of the position and title he holds, or is too vicious that the oversight or omission was deliberately done
in bad faith and in grave abuse of judicial authority. If the rule or law is so elementary, as the above-
quoted sections of Rule 114 are, not to know it or to act as if he does not know it constitutes gross
ignorance of the law, without even the complainant having to prove malice or bad faith on the part of
the judge, as it can be clearly inferred from the error committed. On this score, as reflected in the
Investigating Justice’s and the OCA’s separate reports, the Court finds respondent guilty of gross
ignorance of the law.

Dishonesty, especially when committed by judges who are supposedly the visible representation of the
law, not only tends to mislead the Court; it also tarnishes the image of the judiciary.
Dishonesty is defined as the disposition to lie, cheat, deceive or defraud; untrustworthiness; lack of
integrity; lack of honesty, probity or integrity in principle; lack of fairness and straightforwardness;
disposition to defraud, deceive or betray. This is a grave offense that carries the extreme penalty of
dismissal from the service, even for the first offense, with forefeiture of retirement benefirs except
accrued leave credits and perpetual disqualificationfrom re-employment in government service.

Judges cannot, however, take refuge in the inefficiency or mismanagement of his court personnel since
proper and efficient court management is their responsibility. Court personnel are not the guardians
of judges’ responsibilities. It is the duty of judges to devise an efficient recording and filing system in
their courts to enable them to monitor the flow of cases and to manage their speedy and timely
disposition. And as correctly pointed out by the OCA, it is the judge’s duty to see to it that the police
officers assigned to execute the warrants comply with Section 4, Rule 113, requiring them to make a
report to the judge who issued the warrant within ten days after the expiration of the period within
which to execute the warrant.
After judicial audit was conducted by OCA, Deputy Court Administrator directed Judge Asaali to
explain within 10 days why he should not be administratively liable for failure to decide several
cases, as well as resolve pending motions in several other cases, to take action within 30 days
from notice on several cases which have not been acted upon for a long time, and for the
several cases which have not been set for a long time. Judge Asaali failed to comply. He failed
to submit any letter to inform the court of the status of his pending cases or even offer an
explanation or defense for non-compliance.
Judicial audit was again conducted and out of 89 cases included in the memorandum, 12 cases
remained undecided. The second division of the court resolved to require Judge Asaali to show
cause why he should not be dismissed for his obstinate refusal to cply with the memorandum
and other directives of OCA. Judge Assali eventually setn a letter claiming that he was not able
to comply because he suffered from a stroke from which he had not completely recovered. Prior
to this administrative case, the court found Assaali guilty for failing to decide a case within the
reglementary period.
OCA found Judge Asaali guilty for gross inefficiency and gross and serious misconduct
Whether judge Asaali should be administratively liable.

Yes. Judges have the sworn duty to administer justice and decide cases promptly
and expeditiously because justice delayed is justice denied. No less than our
Constitution requires that a trial court judge shall resolve or decide cases within
three (3) months after they have been submitted for decision. In addition, the Code
of Judicial Conduct mandates that judges shall dispose of the court's business
promptly and decide cases within the required period. Here, Judge Asaali failed to
decide 12 civil cases within the 90-day reglementary period. Six of these cases
pertained to the unresolved cases included in the Memorandum and the remaining
cases formed part of an earlier Resolution pertaining to another administrative

Judges are constantly reminded to decide cases with dispatch. Whenever a judge
cannot decide a case promptly, all he has to do is to ask this Court for a reasonable
extension of time to resolve the case. Here, there is no showing that Judge Asaali
asked for any extension within which to decide the cases. In fact, Judge Asaali did
not even offer an explanation for his non-compliance with the directives of the
Gerken filed a complaint against Judge Quintos for gross ignorance of the law, grave
misconduct and abuse of authority. Gerken were accused of kidnapping in a criminal case.
Gerken were arrested by virtue of a warrant issued by Judge Quintos. Yolanda Cruter and her
son Mark Albina filed a complaint in the kidnapping of Yolanda’s daughter, Jed. Gerken’s
counsel filed an Omnibus Motion to Quash Complaint and Warrant of Arrest and to Annul the
Result of the Preliminary Investigation but was not acted on by the judge. Concurring the the
Judge’s finding, prosecutor filed a the information with RTC. Gerken filed a Motion for
Reinvestigation which was initially denied but was subsequently reconsidered but the
prosecutor found no ground to reconsider its prior findings. Judge recounted that Yolanda filed
a motion for preliminary investigation alleging that Gerken were American citizens who were
leaving the country within 2 weeks, he then conducted preliminary investigation and he found
probable cause against Gerken and issued warrant of arrest. He also claims that it is possible
that the Motion to Quash was not brought to his attention. Gerken replied alleging that they were
denied due process of law since there was no valid reason for issuing the warrant of arrest in
great haste considering that they were permanen t residents of Olongapo City conteding that
the Judge should have issued a subpoena requiring them to submit their counter-affidavits as
required by Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure. The Criminal case was provisionally
OCA found Judge Quintos guilty of violating the right of Gerken to preliminary investigation
because no searching questions were asked by the Judge when he examined Yolanda and her
Whether Judge Quintos is liable.

Yes. Judge Quintos, possibly through ignorance, disregarded the procedure for
preliminary investigation. and thereby deprived complainants of their right to due
process. instead of giving Gerken the opportunity to be heard on their counter-
affidavits, respondent judge conducted the investigation ex parte and issued a
warrant of arrest on the same day he finished the investigation. To compound his
error, judge deliberately ignored the Urgent Motion to Quash Complaint and
Warrant of Arrest and to Annul the Result of the Preliminary Investigation later filed
by Gerken’s counsel.

Second. We find respondent judge guilty of abuse of authority in hastily issuing a

warrant of arrest against the accused. to justify the issuance of such warrant, a
municipal trial judge conducting the preliminary investigation must ensure that two
requisites concur: (1) there is a finding of probable cause, and (2) there is a
necessity of placing the respondent under immediate custody in order not to
frustrate the ends of justice. No evidence was presented to prove the necessity to
place herein complainants under immediate custody in order not to frustrate the
ends of justice. The records show that complainants were known to Yolanda Cutrer,
who filed the criminal case, considering that Yolanda and Walter Cutrer were
godparents of the son of the spouses Terry and Merlyn Gerken, herein
complainants, while Merlyn is the godmother of Yolanda’s son, Mark Kevin Albina.
Yolanda knew the address of complainants in Olongapo City where they
permanently reside. There was no evidence to show that complainants were about
to flee or leave the country.

Canon of Judicial Ethics: “A judge’s official conduct should be free from the appearance of
impropriety and his personal behavior, not only on the bench and in the performance of judicial
duties, but also in his everyday life, should be beyond reproach. Being the visible representation
of the law and the embodiment of the people’s sense of justice, he must be studiously careful
himself to avoid even the slightest infraction of the law, lest it be demoralizing example of others.”

Judge Caoibes was appointed presiding judge of Branch 253, a newly created branch of RTC Pasay
City. He had the privilege of recommending to the Supreme Court the appointment of his own
choice. Judge Alumbres, who was then the executive judge of the court, took this as an opportunity
to secure employment for his son. Alumbres lent an executive table to Caoibes for his
temporary use.
The judges had lunch together and both agreed to the appointment of Alumbres’ son as process
server of Branch 253. Later on, Caoibes withdrew his earlier recommendation of Alumbres’ son
and instead, recommended someone else.
Alumbres sent his deputy sheriff to take back his table from Caiobes but he refused to return the
table until his office furniture was delivered by the SC. Alumbres then went to Caoibes’ chambers
to take back his table. Caoibes greeted Alumbres “Hoy, ano ba ang atin?” The latter replied in an
angry tone “Joey, kukunin ko na ang table ko. Akin naman iyun, eh.” In response, Caoibes put
his left arm around Alumbres’ shoulder, extended his right hand to shake that latter’s right hand,
saying “Huwag naman. Halika, pagusapan natin dine.” Despite the cordial gesture, Alumbres
held Caoibes’ right wrist and forcefully jerked it.
Incensed at the fierce reaction of Alumbres, Caoibes shouted “Tarantado ito, ah” and swung his
left arm towards Alumbres, hitting him on the right temple. Caoibes also delivered a right
hook, grazing Alumbres’ lower jaw. One of the deputy sheriffs place placed himself between
the two. Alumbres swung at Caoibes while the latter was being led away but the blow missed.
(1) WON Judge Caoibes deliberately inflicted fistic blows to complainant Judge Alumbres - YES

(1) Judge Caoibes threw two punches at Judge Alumbres, the first hitting his right temple and the
second, the left side of his jaw.

Contrary to the claim of Alumbres, the punches of Caoibes were not severe as the injuries sustained
by Alumbres were mere superficial, the size of a pinhead similar to a mosquito bite. BUT this does
not detract from the gravity of the offense committed. Canon 2 of the Code of Judicial Conduct
states that “A judge should avoid impropriety and the appearance of impropriety in all
Rule 2.01 provides that “A judge should behave at all times as to promote public confidence
in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary.

Courts are looked upon by the people with high respect and are regarded sacred places.
Misbehavior within and around their vicinity diminishes their sanctity and dignity. By fighting
within the court premises, the parties have failed, not only to observe proper decorum
expected of member of the judiciary, they have failed to promote public confidence in the
integrity and impartiality of the judiciary. More contemptible, the altercation arose out of a
squabble involving a mere table.

Judge Caoibes is guilty of violating the Code of Judicial Conduct, with the fine of P20,000.00
with a warning that a repetition in the future will be dealt with more severely.
ANG DAMIIIII!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
For Branch 6, the judicial audit team found that the court allowed substituted service of
summons when, under Section 61 of the Rule on Declaration of Nullity of Void Marriages and
Annulment of Voidable Marriages, the modes of service of summons are only: a) personal
service or service in person on defendant; and b) service by publication. In a criminal case for
qualified theft where no bail was recommended, the court granted the Urgent Petition for Bail
without conducting a hearing to prove the evidence of guilt of the accused, in a case for illegal
Possession of an Explosive where no bail was recommended, the court again, granted
reduction of bail even if there was no showing that a bail hearing was conducted. In a civil case
for declaration of nullity of marriage, Judge prematurely rendered decision without ruling on the
petitioner’s motions and to admit Formal Offer of Exhibits. He ordered the dismissal of 3 criminla
cases before the scheduled day of arraignment while some criminal cases were dismissed prior
to scheduled hearing on Motion to Suppress Illegally Seized Evidence without the accused filing
a motion for dismissal. He would even call cases although they were not included in the
calendar of cases for hearing even to the point of dismissing the cases. He also issued a
resolution which was never docketed for failure to pay docket fee and has decided several other
cases without following the rules and even heard cases even though he has not acquired
jurisdiction over the person.
Judge Salise apologized for whatever procedural lapses he has committed. He explained that
his actions were all done in good faith and judges would sometimes deviate from the rules on a
case-to-case basis. He, likewise, claimed that the reported irregularities were mostly due to
inadvertence, but he did them in good faith and without malice.
OCA recommend that Jude Salise be adjudged guilty for serious misconduct and be dismissed
Whether Judge Salise should be dismissed.
YES. The aforementioned circumstances surrounding the proceedings and disposition of cases
are far too flagrant to simply be ignored and their totality strongly indicates Judge Salise’s
corrupt tendencies. His assertions that his procedural lapses were committed in good faith and
without any monetary consideration simply do not hold water. The number of cases involved
and the manner by which he disposed of said cases clearly show a pattern of misdeeds and a
propensity to violate the law and established procedural rules.
when the inefficiency springs from a failure to recognize such a basic and fundamental rule, law,
or principle, the judge is either too incompetent and undeserving of the position and title vested
upon him, or he is too vicious that he deliberately committed the oversight or omission in bad
faith and in grave abuse of authority.11 Here, the attendant circumstances would reveal that
Judge Salise’s acts contradict any claim of good faith.
Indubitably, Judge Salise violated the Code of Judicial Conduct ordering judges to ensure that
his or her conduct, both in and out of court, maintains and enhances the confidence of the
public, the legal profession and litigants in the impartiality of the judge and of the judiciary.12 He
simply used oversight, inadvertence, and honest mistake as convenient excuses. He acted with
conscious indifference to the possible undesirable consequences to the parties involved.
Rlllorta filed a complaint against judge fe. She averred that the monthly reports did not dovetail
with the bank book entries, that is the amount collected appearing in the monthly report was
only P700,000 while the amount in the bank account was more ore less P6M, this alarmed her
so she voluntarily submitted herself to an audit by the OCA. Judge Fe instructed her and susan
to adjust some official receipts issued by the court. She also claim that Judge Fe instructed her
to alter the amounts of the cashbond withdrawn, this happened on several instances. In some
cases, the release orders did not indicate OR number which was the usual practice of the court.
Everytime there was an excess in the amount withdrawn, she, or Susan deliverd the same to
Judge Fe by leaving the money on her table.
Judge Fe claim that Rillorta is a stenographer who could not make stenographic notes in open
court, her work was to assist Clerk of Court Juguilon and to type decisions. She claims that she
attended to many cases which left her little time for financial mgmt. and that she could not
remember if there was formal turnover of the courts financial reports to Rilllorta. That corrections
were made to conform to the supporting documents or to correct wrong computations. She
argued that all instructions given to Rillorta and other court employees were lawful and proper.
Fajardo charged Judge Natino with violation of Consti and Rules of Court relative to Civil case
for annulment of title and declaration of nullity of documents of sale and another CIlvil Case for
damages and injunction. The Judge was charged with, violation of the 90-day period to resolve
a case; delay in release of decision; falsification of certificate of service; failure to resolve
matters covered in the Motion to Show Cuse; entertaining a second motion for reconsideration.
Judge Natino explained that the delay in resolution was caused by circumstances beyond his
control claiming that he started drafting the decision but the stenographer resigned and left for
Manila. That his assumption as acting exdcutive judge in the same year and as a full-fledged
executive Judge hampered his case disposal;that the extended period of deciding was because
he was being judicious in his actions, hence leaned more towards “quality of administration of
justive” than mere “speedy disposition of cases; that delay in rendering decision did not
necessarily mean that he falsified his certiifcates of service.