Monday, April 12, 2010

Undue delay

In the case entitled “REQUEST OF JUDGE NIÑO A. BATINGANA, REGIONAL TRIAL COURT, BRANCH 6, MATI, DAVAO ORIENTAL FOR EXTENSION OF TIME TO DECIDE CRIMINAL CASE NO. 4745-05. A.M. No. 08-2-107-RTC”, decided by the Philippine Supreme Court on February 1, 2010, Judge Niño A. Batingana, Presiding Judge of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 6, Mati City, Davao Oriental, was found administratively liable under Section 9 (1), Rule 140 of the Rules of Court for undue delay in rendering a decision for which he was FINED in the amount of Eleven Thousand Pesos (P11,000.00), with a stern warning that a repetition of the same or similar acts would be dealt with more severely, thus:

1. Section 15 (1), Article VIII of the Constitution provides that all lower courts must decide or resolve all cases or matters filed within three months. Moreover, Rule 3.05 of the Code of Judicial Conduct states that a judge shall dispose of the court’s business promptly and decide the cases within the required periods.

2. The Court granted Judge Batingana an extension of 90 days, or until February 11, 2008, to decide Criminal Case No. 4745-05. However, he decided the case only on July 8, 2009, or after one year and almost five months from the extension granted.

3. As oft stated, justice delayed is justice denied. The honor and integrity of the judiciary is measured not only by the fairness and correctness of the decisions rendered, but also by the efficiency with which disputes are resolved. Judges are therefore mandated to perform their duties with utmost diligence in order to preserve the confidence of the public in the judiciary.

4. Under Section 9, Rule 140 of the Rules of Court, undue delay in rendering a decision or order is classified as a less serious charge punishable with suspension from office without salary and other benefits for not less than one (1) nor more than three (3) months; or a fine of more than P10,000.00 but not exceeding P20,000.00.