RTC judge fined 20K due to 519 pending cases

Section 15(1) of the 1987 Constitution states that cases or matters must be decided or resolved within three (3) months for the lower courts. Also, under Canon 3, Rule 3.05 of the Code of Judicial Conduct, judges shall dispose of the court's business promptly and decide cases within the required periods.

Sarmiento applied for optional retirement effective September 14, 2012. As a matter of procedure, the Office of the Court Administrator conducted a judicial audit on September 24 to 28, 2012. The audit team found out that Sarmiento had a total pending caseload of 519. Out of the total cases, 308 are criminal and 211 are civil.

Considering, however, Judge Sarmiento’s two decades of service in the Judiciary, and his uncontroverted manifestation that he helped Judge (Stewart) Himalaloan in the preparation of the draft decisions for the undecided cases, the Supreme Court deemed the penalty of fine in the amount of P20,000 appropriate.

SOURCE: SC fines retired judge over delayed decisions. Mylen P. Manto (The Freeman) - November 13, 2018 - 12:00am. Read more at https://www.philstar.com/the-freeman/cebu-news/bottom-article-list/2018/11/13/1868092/sc-fines-retired-judge-over-delayed-decisions
Rule 1.02 of Canon 1 and Rule 3.05 of Canon 3 of the Code of Judicial Conduct explicitly provide:

Rule 1.02. – A judge should administer justice impartially and without delay.

Rule 3.05 – A judge shall dispose of the court’s business promptly and without delay.

The Supreme Court in a long line of decision has reminded members of the bench that the unreasonable delay of a judge in resolving a pending incident is a violation of the norms of judicial conduct and constitutes a ground for administrative sanction against the defaulting magistrate.

In an older case, the Court said that failure to resolve cases submitted for decision within the period fixed by law constitutes gross inefficiency. Delay in the resolution of cases erodes the faith and confidence of our people in the judiciary, lowers its standards and brings it to disrepute. (A.M. No. RTJ-02-1685. October 15, 2002)

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