Philippine Supreme Court Resolutions


Philippine Supreme Court Resolutions > Year 2008 > November 2008 Resolutions > [A.M. No. 08-5-120-MCTC : November 19, 2008] FAILURE OF ACTING JUDGE VIRGILIO G. BORJE, MUNICIPAL CIRCUIT TRIAL COURT-TAGUDIN, IIOCOS SUR TO DECIDE SIX (6) CASES :




FIRST DIVISION

[A.M. No. 08-5-120-MCTC : November 19, 2008]

FAILURE OF ACTING JUDGE VIRGILIO G. BORJE, MUNICIPAL CIRCUIT TRIAL COURT-TAGUDIN, IIOCOS SUR TO DECIDE SIX (6) CASES

Sirs/Mesdames:

Quoted hereunder, for your information, is a resolution of the First Division of this Court dated  19 November 2008

A.M. No. 08-5-120-MCTC:  Failure of Acting Judge Virgilio G. Borje, Municipal Circuit Trial Court-Tagudin, IIocos Sur to Decide Six (6) Cases

On 12 June 2007, the Office of then Deputy Court Administrator Jose P. Perez, now Court Administrator, (CA Perez) received a letter dated 29 May 2007 from Hon. Mario Anacleto M. Ba´┐Żez, Presiding Judge, 12th Municipal Circuit Trial Court, Tagudin-Suyo, IIocos Sur (MCTC, Tagudin) with the information that his predecessor, Judge Virgilio G. Borje (Judge Borje) left six undecided cases consisting of two criminal cases, three civil cases and one LRC case. In the Memorandum dated 18 June 2007, CA Perez directed Judge Borje to decide the following cases:

  1. Criminal Case No. 3118, People v. Greg Javier, et al;

  2. Criminal Case No. 3152, People v. Larry Lasquite;

  3. Civil Case No. 340, Artemio Manglapus v. Simplicio Jailorina, et al;

  4. Civil Case No. 391, Elias Vedania v. Pedro Labiano, et al.;

  5. Civil Case No. 464, Teresita L. Andaya. v. Cresencia Leal; and

  6. LRC Case No- 01-05, Application for Land Registration and Tide.

In a letter dated 14 March 2008, Judge Borje alleged that he received said memorandum only on 22 February 2008, or seven months after the same was mailed. Judge Borje averred that he has retired from the service on 18 September 2007. He stated that had he received the memorandum earlier, he could have managed to decide them all and that the delay in deciding those cases should not be considered defiance and stubbornness to obey legitimate orders of the Court. He also stressed that aside from being the acting presiding judge of MCTC, Tagudin, he was also designated acting presiding judge of the 13th MCTC, Alilem-Sugpon, 10th MCTC, Cervantes-Quirino, MTC, Candon and the 8th MCTC, Galimuyod-Salcedo.

The Office of the Court Administrator (OCA) found Judge Borje guilty of gross inefficiency for his undue delay in rendering decisions in the subject six cases. Considering that Judge Borje retired from the service as of 18 September 2007, OCA recommended that a fine of P50,000 be imposed, to be deducted from his retirement benefits.

We, however, dismiss the instant administrative case. Aside from the OCA recommendation of fine of P50,000 which is beyond the amount provided under Section 9, Rule 140 of the Rules of Court, the record; is bereft of any statement or proof showing when the subject six cases were considered to have been submitted for decision. We are unable to determine whether there was indeed undue delay in rendering a judgment in said cases. The mere allegation that these cases were submitted (or decision during the time Judge Borje acted as presiding judge of MCTC, Tagudin is not enough. The Memorandum dated 18 June 2007 only directed Judge Borje to decide the six cases. Although this memorandum was sent to him by registered mail,-nowhere in the records does it show that it was received by Judge Borje while he was still a judge. Judge Borje himself averred he received the memorandum only on 22 February 2008, after his retirement.

We likewise considered the fact that per Administrative Order No. 01 dated 3 March 1998, Judge Borje, presiding judge of the 9th Municipal Circuit Trial Court, Gregorio del Pilar-Sigay, Ilocos Sur, was merely designated in an acting capacity to hear and decide cases in the 12th MCTC, Tagudin every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of the first week of the month. He had other duties to attend to. He was also designated acting presiding judge of the 13th MCTC-Alilem-Sugpon. Ilocos Sur to hear and decide cases every Thursday and Friday of the first week of the month and at the ,10th MCTC, Cervantes-Quirino, Ilocos Sur every third week of the month. In Administrative Order No. 02-98, Judge Borje was designated acting presiding judge to hear and decide cases as follows: (1) MTC, Candon, Ilocos Sur, every second week of the month; (2) 8th MCTC, Galimuyod-Salcedo. Ilocos Sur, fourth week of the month, from Monday to Thursday; and (3) 9th MCTC, Gregorio del Pilar-Sigay, Ilocos Sur, every Friday of the fourth week of the month.

This Court is not only a court of law but one with compassion; not a Court of vengeance but of justice which recognizes the plight of judges who are often overworked. Thus, heavy case load as well as his designation to hear cases in other courts have been considered favorably in instances where a judge has been administratively charged for failing to resolve decisions or motions within the reglementary period.

WHEREFORE, the instant administrative case is DISMISSED. Judge Virgilio G. Borje is EXONERATED from administrative liability for his failure to decide the six cases.

SO ORDERED (Leonardo-De Castro J.,  on official leave; Tinga, J., additional member)

Very truly yours,

(Sgd.) ENRIQUETA ESGUERRA-VIDAL
Clerk of Court
First Division

Endnotes:


[1] Resolution dated 9 August 2006 in A.M. No. 03-7-372-RTC, Re: Request for Extension of Time to Decide Civil Case Nos. 95-8887 and 95-8891 and Criminal Case No. 11441.



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