Thursday, January 26, 2012

Edaño v. Asdala, December 6, 2010

Facts: This case is an administrative complaint filed by herein complainant Carmen Edano against respondent Judge Asdala, for allegedly deciding on Civil Case No. Q-97-30576 on March 22, 2005, when in fact herein respondent judge actually ruled on several motions related to the aforementioned case even after March 22, 2005. In addition to this, complainant Edano alleges that respondent Judge erred in denying her notice of appeal. Furthermore, herein complainant caused delay by going beyond the 90-day reglamentary period for rendering decisions.

In the response of Judge Asdala, she stated that the orders she issued after March 22, 2005 did not touch on the case, but were actually related to herein complainant’s receiving support pendent lite. In addition to this, she denied the complainant’s notice of appeal because Section 1, Rule 41 of the Revised Rules of Court provides that no appeal may be taken from an order dismissing an action without prejudice. The Office of the Court Administrator in its decision ruled that Judge Asdala should be fines Php10,000 for undue delay in rendering judgment, with a warning that future similar acts will be dealt with more severely.

Whether or not herein respondent judge is guilty in undue delay in rendering her decision

Held: In the ruling of the Supreme Court, it agreed with the decision of the Office of the Court Administrator finding the respondent judge of undue delay in rendering a decision. The Supreme Court, citing previous jurisprudence ruled that the 90-day period for rendering a decision is mandatory, and can only be excused for valid reasons. As stated in the case of Office of the Court Administrator v. Reyes:

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. Thus, judges must perform their official duties with utmost diligence if public confidence in the judiciary is to be preserved. There is no excuse for mediocrity in the performance of judicial functions. The position of judge exacts nothing less than faithful observance of the law and the Constitution in the discharge of official duties.

As such Judge Asdala is found guilty of undue delay in rendering a court decision, and is FINED the amount of ten thousand pesos (P10,000).

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