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Sirs/Mesdames:

Quoted hereunder, for your information, is a resolution of this Court dated SEP 14 2005.

A.M. No. RTJ-05-1931 (Abedin Limpao Osop vs. Judge Antonio C. Lubao, RTC, General Santos
City, Br.22.)

Acting on the Report of the Office of the Court Administrator (OCA) dated March 1, 2005, to wit:

This is to comply with the resolution of the Honorable Court dated 19 January 2005 referring to this
Office for evaluation, report and recommendation the letter dated 07 January 2004 of Justice Arturo
D. Brion, recommending that Judge Antonio C. Lubao be suspended for a period of one (1) month
for lying as to the timeliness of his rejoinder.

Upon perusal of the rollo of the instant administrative matter, it was revealed that the matter for
evaluation, report and recommendation is the comment dated 03 May 2004 of Justice Brion to the
letter of Judge Lubao dated 07 January 2004.

In his said comment, Justice Brion made emphasis on the statement of Judge Lubao in his Rejoinder
that his rejoinder "is submitted within the (10) ten-day period required by the Honorable Justice."
This false claim has triggered his (Justice Brion) recommendation to the Honorable Court, in his
letter dated 16 December 2003, not to consider the rejoinder since "the respondent judge is already
trifling with the processes of the Honorable Court by belatedly filing late responses."

Justice Brion further pointed out that in his telephone conversation with Judge Lubao, he informed
the latter that he requested the Honorable Court for an extension of time to file his report. Hence,
he told the respondent that he can wait for his submission if he (Judge Lubao) can file it within the
original (7) seven-day period given to him. He added that since Judge Lubao allegedly received
complainant's reply on 03 December 2003, he gave the respondent until 10 December 2003 within
which to file his rejoinder. They even discussed the date Judge Lubao should deliver his submission
to the air courier so that it could reach his (Justice Brion) office by 10 December 2003. This
arranged extension was even confirmed in the letter dated 05 December 2003 of Justice Brion,
addressed to the parties in this case, pertinent portion of which reads:

"Subsequent to the Status Report, I received the letter of respondent Judge Lubao dated December
3, 2003 (copy of which has been sent to the Supreme Court and to the complainant) explaining why
he had not filed any rejoinder to complainant Osop's Reply. In a telephone conversation with the
respondent Judge, I allowed him up to December 10, 2003, within which to submit his rejoinder.
This period is inextendible. For the record, the extension and its terms are hereby reflected."

In the same comment submitted by Justice Brion, he made the following recommendations:

"Given these alarm bells - sounded well before the respondent judge lied about the timeliness of the
filing of his rejoinder - as well as the nature of the respondent's behavior before a representative of
this Honorable Court in the administrative investigation, I respectfully submit that the Honorable
Court should hold the respondent judge accountable not for or in relation with the core complaints
of incompetence and delay which have been laid to rest by the High Court's resolution of February
2, 2004, but for lying and trifling with the processes of this Honorable Court.

To put it bluntly, I recommend that - after considering the attendant circumstances and
after satisfying the requirements of due process - the respondent Judge be penalized with
a (1) one-month suspension from service, for lying to a duly designated representative of
this Honorable Court (and, effectively, to this Honorable Court) on the matter of the
timeliness of his rejoinder, thereby trifling with the processes of this Honorable Court in
the course of the administrative investigation in caption."

In his manifestation and reply to the comment of Justice Arturo D. Brion dated 12 May 2004, Judge
Lubao apologized and admitted that he committed an error when he alleged in his rejoinder that the
same was filed within the (10) ten-day period required by Justice Brion. The truth of the matter is
that from their telephone conversation, he was given only (7) seven days to file the same. But this
he realized only upon receipt of Justice Brion's comment and after a review of the records of the
instant administrative case. He attributed such error to his forgetfulness due to three (3) major
surgeries which he underwent. He was operated on his prostate problem on 10 July and 11 August
2002, and had a coronary bypass operation last 01 July 2003. Further, he stated that such error
was inadvertently made or may have been caused by the fact that under the rules, a party has ten
(10) days within which to submit a rejoinder.

Judge Lubao added that it was only last 18 December 2003 when he was on a land trip to Manila
that he received the letter dated 05 December 2003 of Justice Brion, confirming the last day of filing
his rejoinder. Hence, as of the time he mailed his rejoinder via LBC on 13 December 2003, he was
still under the wrong impression that he had ten (10) days from his telephone conversation with
Justice Brion (05 December 2003) within which to file his rejoinder.

Judge Lubao explained that he had no intention to mislead anybody when he alleged in [the]
prefatory statement of his rejoinder that it was filed within the ten (10) day period required by
Justice Brion. Nonetheless, assuming that he was not under the wrong impression that he had ten
(10) days within which to submit his rejoinder, he could not have complied with the verbal directive
primarily because he was quite occupied with the morning and afternoon sessions in his court.

While it may be true that Judge Lubao committed an error in stating that the filing of his rejoinder
was made within the period required by Justice Brion, we find it rather harsh to suspend him for a
period of one month for allegedly trifling with the processes of the Honorable Court.

As aptly pointed out by Justice Brion, and as confirmed in his letter dated 16 December 2003, Judge
Lubao was given only a period of seven (7) days and not ten (10) days from the date of their
telephone conversation within which to submit his rejoinder. However, considering that Judge Lubao
submitted the required rejoinder and incurred a delay of only three (3) days, it is enough that he be
reprimanded. Besides, in his explanation dated 07 January 2004, Judge Lubao even admitted
having committed said error and apologized for his mistake. Additionally, inasmuch as Judge Lubao
himself admitted his forgetfulness and attributed the same to his three (3) major operations, and
considering further his health conditions, he should be reminded and advised to maintain a
systematic recording of matters which require his immediate attention.

Viewed from all the foregoing, it is respectfully recommended that:

1. The instant case be RE-DOCKETED as a regular administrative matter;

2. Judge Antonio C. Lubao be REPRIMANDED for the late filing of his rejoinder and for having
committed a mistake in stating that the same was filed within the period required of him,
with WARNING that a repetition of the same or similar act in the future will be dealt with more
severely.

3. Judge Lubao be ADVISED to maintain a systematic recording of matters, which require his
immediate attention.

Justice Brion was required to submit his comment on Judge Lubao's Manifestation dated May 12,
2004, where he reiterated his recommendation that Judge Lubao be meted the penalty of one
month's suspension, and added that "it would be a mistake to disregard the respondent Judge's
outright lie and trifling with the processes of this Honorable Court simply because he has
apologized."

The recommendations of the OCA are well-taken. The Court notes that Judge Lubao has already
admitted his mistake and apologized to Justice Brion. Moreover, Judge Lubao's inadvertence with
respect to the timeliness of the filing of his rejoinder is not of such odiousness as to warrant the
penalty of one-month suspension.
The Court Resolves to REPRIMAND Judge Antonio C. Lubao for the late filing of his rejoinder and
for having committed a mistake in stating that the same was filed with the period required of him.
He is STERNLY WARNED that a repetition of a similar act in the future shall be dealt with more
severely. Judge Lubao is further ADVISED to maintain a systematic recording of matters which
require his immediate attention.