"x x x.
Judge Garcia failed to meet this three-month deadline. He explained his delay by saying that “[t]he Motion for Reconsideration was inadvertently not acted upon by the Court for an unreasonable length of time,” because it
noticed its pendency only when it conducted an inventory of its cases in July 2011. Unfortunately for Judge Garcia, such poor excuse merits no weight for his exoneration from the charge. It, in fact, demonstrates serious errors in Judge Garcia’s performance of his duties and the management of his
court. For such error, even Judge Garcia has admitted that the delay in resolving the motion to reconsider has dragged on for an “unreasonable length of time.”
Furthermore, we observe that he should have been
prompted to take immediate action by the two motions to resolve that were filed by Hebron, yet even these two motions remained unacted upon.
To the Court, the volume of Judge Garcia’s pending cases did not justify the delay. In Angelia v. Grageda, we held:
In consonance with the Constitutional mandate that all lower
courts decide or resolve cases or matters within three (3) months from their date of submission, the Code of Judicial Conduct in Rule 1.02 of Canon 1 and Rule 3.05 of Canon 3, provide:
Rule 1.02 – A judge should administer justice impartially
and without delay.
Rule 3.05 – A judge should dispose of the court’s business
promptly and decide cases within the required periods.
x x x x
The Court, however, finds no merit in Judge Grageda’s
explanation that the reason for the delay in resolving the motion was the pressure from equally urgent matters in connection with the 800 pending cases before his sala. Firstly, he is duty-bound to comply with the above-cited rules under the Canons in the Code of Judicial Conduct, and the administrative guidelines laid down by this Court. Secondly, as this Court is not unmindful of the circumstances that may delay the speedy disposition of cases assigned to judges, respondent Judge Grageda should have seasonably filed a request for an extension to resolve the subject motion. For failing to do so, he cannot evade administrative liability.
Judges must decide cases and resolve matters with dispatch
because any delay in the administration of justice deprives litigants of their right to a speedy disposition of their case and undermines the people’s faith in the judiciary. Indeed, justice delayed is justice denied.
The failure to decide cases and other matters within the reglementary period of ninety (90) days constitutes gross inefficiency and warrants the imposition of administrative sanction against the erring judge. This is not only a blatant transgression of the Constitution but also of the Code of Judicial Conduct, which enshrines the significant duty of magistrates to decide cases promptly.
Under Section 9, Rule 140 of the Revised Rules of
Court, delay in rendering a decision or order is considered a less serious offense that is punishable by either (1) suspension from office without salary and other benefits for not less than one nor more than three months, or (2) a fine of more than P10,000 but not exceeding P20,000. The sheer volume of
Judge Garcia’s work may, at most, only serve to mitigate the penalty to be imposed upon him, as in the case of Angelia where the fine was reduced to P5,000.00 given therein respondent judge’s 800 pending cases before his
x x x."