SC Cites Two Judges, Two Clerks as 2015 Judicial Excellence Awardees

September 18, 2015

The Supreme Court (SC), through the Society for Judicial Excellence (SJE), today recognized two judges and two clerks as winners of the 2015 Search for Outstanding Judges and Clerks of Court at the Manila Hotel.

Chief Justice Maria Lourdes P. A. Sereno, who keynoted the awarding ceremonies, commended all JEA awardees for serving “as inspiration, role models, and even teachers to those aspiring toward excellence.”

This year’s winners are Judge Rafael Crescencio C. Tan of Dumaguete City Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 30, Chief Justice Cayetano Arellano Award (Second-Level Court Judges category); Judge Juris S. Dilinila-Callanta, of Quezon City Metropolitan Trial Court (MeTC), Branch 42, Don Antonio Madrigal Award (First-Level Court Judges category); Atty. Mischelle R. Maulion-Jocson, Angeles City RTC, Branch 59, and Ms. Rowena D. Solomon, San Fernando City, La Union, Municipal Trial Court in Cities (MTCC), Branch 2, in the Clerk of Court (Single Sala) /Branch Clerk of Court (Multi-Sala) Second-Level Courts, and First-Level Courts categories, respectively.

Judge Tan joined the Philippine Army in 1974, after graduating from the Officer Cadet School in Portsea, Victoria, Australia. He took law from 1984 to 1988, in the midst of his assignment as commandant of the Reserved Officers Training Corps at the Silliman University. He resigned from military service when he became a lawyer in 1989. He joined the Judiciary on June 1, 1999.

Judge Tan resolved 100 criminal cases and 23 civil cases, out of the 296 criminal cases and 39 civil cases he had inherited when he was appointed RTC Judge on June 22, 2005. Through the effective implementation of the one-day examination of witness rule, the continuous trial of cases, and the pre-trial techniques, Judge Tan has managed his case load efficiently, such that as of December 31, 2013, he only had 81 pending cases. His sala, Branch 30 RTC Dumaguete City, is a Special Court for Drug Cases.

Judge Dilinila-Callanta, is known for her timely and judicious manner with a high disposal rate in a city which has one of the largest caseloads. Since Judge Dilinila-Callanta’s was appointed to her post, the number of active cases in the docket of her sala has been significantly reduced from 1,489 to 592. She has disposed of 4,696 cases from June 2010 to July 2015, a figure which is significantly higher than the 3,765 total number of cases raffled to her sala during the same period.

Judge Dilinila-Callanta graduated from the San Beda College of Law in 1997. She joined the judiciary as Court Attorney V in the Court of Appeals from 1998 until 2003, when she transferred to the SC as Court Attorney VI. It was in 2010 when she was appointed to the Bench. Judge Dilinila-Callanta was appointed as 2nd Vice Executive Judge in 2012, as 1st Vice Executive Judge the next year, as Acting Executive Judge in 2014, and ultimately as Executive Judge of Metropolitan Trial Courts in Quezon City in May 2015.

Another awardee, Atty. Maulion-Jocson does an excellent job not only in giving support to the judge’s work of adjudication of cases but to the latter’s administrative supervision of the court, among many other duties. She graduated with cum laude honors from the University of Santo Tomas Faculty of Civil Law in 2007.

Atty. Maulion-Jocson has prepared a work flow guide for Branch 59 complete with the mission: “To provide speedy dispensation of justice within the bounds of the law and applicable rules.” The work flow covers the different court processes, including raffling of cases, filing of pleadings and motions, archiving/monitoring of cases, preparing for trial and duties in actual trials, submission of cases to the judge for decision, case management techniques, and personnel management. In hearings where the court interpreter is not present, she willingly acts as one.

The fourth awardee, Ms. Solomon, has “integrated future technologies, including computer proficiency, in both the filing and reporting and retrieval systems” says the Integrated Bar of the Philippines-La Union Chapter in her nomination letter.

In 2002, the SC commended her “exceptional sense of leadership and responsibility in threshing out the mismanaged records of cases in (the MTCC, Branch 2, San Fernando City, La Union) and for painstakingly undertaking, with the assistance of the clerks, the time-consuming and laborious task of examining the records of pending, archived and disposed cases in order to determine the true and accurate status of each and every case thereat.”

In her keynote speech, Chief Justice Maria Lourdes P. A. Sereno commended all JEA awardees for their “excellence forged in the spirit of sacrifice and service: sacrifice, because to be in the judiciary means foregoing a life of luxury; service, because the judiciary is entrusted with one of the most sacred responsibilities in our society, that of dispensing justice, without which a society cannot long survive.” JEA awardees serve as inspiration, role models, and even teachers to those aspiring toward excellence, she added.

Excellence, the Chief Justice said, “encompasses the virtues of integrity and independence, courage and competence. I believe that when it comes to excellence, there can be no compromise.”

“Individually and as a people, we cannot be excellent or great simply because we had brief shining moments or episodes of glory. And in order to sustain excellence in a real way, we have to give it consistent effort,” Chief Justice Sereno stressed.

An annual affair since 1991, the search for the judiciary's outstanding judges and clerks of court was initially conducted by the Foundation for Judicial Excellence. ###