Who decides a case when judge who heard the evidence transfers?

In the case of Gutierrez v. Cabangaon (G.R. No. 210055, June 22, 2015) a Petition for Review on Certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court was instituted by The Estate of Juan B. Gutierrez (the Estate), represented by Antonia S. Gutierrez (in her capacity as the duly-appointed Special Administrator of The estate of Juan B. Gutierrez) to reverse and set aside the Court of Appeals (CA) Decision dated January 21, 2013 and its Resolution dated October 7, 2013 in CA-G.R. SP No. 00840. One of the issues was whether Judge Indar was allowed or had the authority to issue the assailed decision. According to the Supreme Court, cases that have been submitted for decision or those past the trial stage, such as when all the parties have finished presenting their evidence, prior to the transfer or promotion, shall be resolved or disposed by the judge to which these are raffled or assigned. Also, a judge transferred, detailed or assigned to another branch shall be considered as Assisting Judge of the branch to which he was previously assigned.[1] Once trial judges act as presiding judges or otherwise designated as acting or assisting judges in branches other than their own, cases substantially heard by them and submitted to them for decision, unless they are promoted to higher positions, may be decided by them wherever they may be, if so requested by any of the parties and endorsed by the incumbent Presiding Judges through the Office of the Court Administrator. 

The following procedure may be followed: 

(1) The judge who takes over the branch must immediately make an inventory of the cases submitted for decision left by the previous judge, unless the latter has, in the meantime, been promoted to a higher court; 

(2) The succeeding judge must then inform the parties that the previous judge who heard the case and before whom it was submitted for decision may be required to decide the case. In such an event and upon request of any of the parties, the succeeding judge may request the Court Administrator to formally endorse the case for decision to the judge before whom it was previously submitted for decision; and 

(3) After the judge who previously heard the case is finished with his decision, he should send back the records and his decision to the branch to which the case properly belongs, by registered mail or by personal delivery, for recording and promulgation, with notice of such fact to the Court Administrator. Also, it must be pointed out that the authority to resolve cases of the newly-appointed judge starts, not upon appointment, but upon assumption of duty. Likewise, assumption of duty does not automatically mean resolution of cases because the newly-assumed judge must first conduct the necessary inventory of all pending cases in the branch. 

In Gutierrez v. Cabangaon, the Estate failed to prove that Judge Imbrahim assumed office at the RTC, Branch 13 on August 18, 2005. Even granting that Judge Ibrahim in fact assumed his duties on said date, the Estate still failed to present any evidence that would show that, prior to the release of the August 26, 2005 Decision, he conducted an inventory of cases where Civil Case No. 2618 was included, as required by the court guidelines.

[1] Paragraphs 2 and 3, A.M. No. 04-5-19-SC, RESOLUTION PROVIDING GUIDELINES IN THE INVENTORY AND ADJUDICATION OF CASES ASSIGNED TO JUDGES WHO ARE PROMOTED OR TRANSFERRED TO OTHER BRANCHES IN THE SAME COURT LEVEL OF THE JUDICIAL HIERARCHY.

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