A.M. No. RTJ-10-2220
(Formerly OCA I.P.I.
- versus -
CARPIO, J, Chairperson,
JUDGE JESUS L. GRAGEDA,
Regional Trial Court, Branch 4,
February 7, 2011
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R E S O L U T I O N
Court is a verified Complaint filed on
averred that Civil Case No. 54-2001 was filed way back on
his Comment dated
Judge Grageda also admitted that while there was an apparent failure on his part to resolve the motion earlier, such delay was not intentional but simply brought about by the sheer volume of work in his sala, as there were many times that he was the only acting RTC Judge within his district, comprising of 2 cities and 3 municipalities in Davao del Norte. He offered his sincere apology to Angelia and to this Court for the delay, and pleaded humanity and compassion, with a promise to work harder and better for the remainder of his service.
Judge Grageda compulsorily
retired from the service on
recommended that Judge Grageda be fined in the amount of
The findings and recommendations of the OCA are well-taken.
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 courts business promptly and decide cases within the required periods.
In line with the foregoing, this Court has laid down administrative guidelines to ensure that the mandates on the prompt disposition of judicial business are complied with. Thus, SC Administrative Circular No. 13-87 provides in part:
3. Judges shall observe scrupulously the periods prescribed by Article VIII, Section 15 of the Constitution for the adjudication and resolution of all cases or matters submitted in their courts. Thus, all cases or matters must be decided or resolved within twelve months from date of submission by all lower collegiate courts while all other lower courts are given a period of three months to do so.
x x x
Furthermore, SC Administrative
Circular No. 1-88 dated
6.1 All Presiding Judges must endeavor to act promptly on all motions and interlocutory matters pending before their courts. x x x
This Court has consistently held that failure to decide cases and other matters within the reglementary period constitutes gross inefficiency and warrants the imposition of administrative sanction against the erring magistrate. Such delay is clearly violative of the above-cited rules. Delay in resolving motions and incidents pending before a judge within the reglementary period of ninety (90) days fixed by the Constitution and the law is not excusable and constitutes gross inefficiency. As a trial judge, Judge Grageda was a frontline official of the judiciary and should have at all times acted with efficiency and with probity.
Judge Grageda himself admitted his
fault in the delay of the resolution of the December 28, 2007 Motion for
Reconsideration filed by Angelia which was only resolved after he received the
1st Indorsement from this Court, more than a year later. In an order dated
The Court, however, finds no merit in Judge Gragedas 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 peoples faith in the judiciary. Indeed, justice delayed is justice denied.
Under Section 9, Rule 140 of the Revised Rules of Court, undue delay in rendering a decision or order is considered a less serious offense. Pursuant to Section 11 of the same rule, such offense is punishable by:
1. Suspension from office without salary and other benefits for not less than one (1) nor more than three (3) months; or
A fine of
P10,000.00 but not exceeding P20,000.00.
stated, the OCA recommended a fine of
P5,000.00. Considering the volume of his work, the Court
deems the recommendation to be well-taken.
WHEREFORE, retired Judge
Jesus L. Grageda is hereby found GUILTY of undue delay in resolving a
motion in violation of Rule 1.02, Canon 1 and Rule 3.05, Canon 3 of the Code of
Judicial Conduct. He is hereby ordered to pay a FINE in the amount of FIVE THOUSAND
P5,000.00) PESOS, to be deducted from his retirement benefits. Let a
copy of this resolution be forwarded to the Office of the Court Administrator.
ANTONIO T. CARPIO
ANTONIO EDUARDO B. NACHURA DIOSDADO M. PERALTA
Associate Justice Associate Justice
ROBERTO A. ABAD
 Prosecutor Visbal v. Judge Buban, 443 Phil. 705, 708 (2003).