SC drops Cebu judge for ‘gross inefficiency, ignorance of law’

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CEBU CITY — The Supreme Court (SC) has cracked the whip on a Cebu City judge and her clerk of court for failing to resolve several cases on time, mismanaging court records, among other infractions.

Municipal Trial Court in Cities (MTCC) Judge Rosabella Tormis of Branch 4 was ordered dismissed from service after she was found guilty of “gross inefficiency, violation of SC rules, directives, and circulars, as well as gross ignorance of the law.”

Lawyer Reynaldo Teves, clerk of court of MTCC Branch 4, was also dismissed from the service for two counts of simple neglect of duty.

The High Court ordered the forfeiture of all their benefits and priviledges, except accrued leave credits. They were also barred from reemployment in any government office.

The High Court found Tormis liable for undue delay in the dispoition of cases, mismanagement of the court records, non-promulgation of decisions, and issuing a warrant of arrest without first apprising the acused of the charges.

On the other hand, Teves was cited for mismanagement of case records and failure to set case for promulgation.

“The honor and integrity of the judicial system is moeasured not only by the fairness and correctness of decisions rendered but also by the efficiency with which disputes are resolved,” the high tribunal said in a decision promulgated on March 12.

The Philippine Daily Inqurier tried to get Tormis’ reaction on Tuesday but a court employee said she was in a private hospital to attend to her ailing husband, Guillermo.

Tormis, 63, assumed office on June 22, 1999. Her service was interrupted when she was suspended for three separate instances for various reasons.

One of these was repeated defiance of the court’s order to furnish the complainant in another administrative case of her comment.

She was found guilty of gross misconduct for abusing her judicial authority when she personally accepted the cash bail bond of the accused.

The dismissal from the service of both Teves and Tormis stemmed from the audit report submitted by the Office of the Court Administrator (OCA), which has supervision over the trial courts.

In its report, the OCA found out that MTCC Branch 4 did not maintain a docket book or any similar system for record-keeping and monitoring.

The OCA also found several irregularities including the failure of Tormis to render a decision on 11 criminal cases despite the lapse of “considerable length of time.

Two cases had not been decided for more than 10 years.

At least 112 criminal and 83 civil cases had been submitted for decision but Tormis had not issued a verdict on these cases despite the laspe of the 90-day period.

Under the law, the court has 90 days after the end of the trial to render a decision.

At least 172 criminal and 63 civil cases were with pending incidents for resolution. Of the 172 criminal cases, 145 cases involve violation of city ordinances/traffic rules with pending motions to archive.

The court failed to comply with the guidelines in the archiving of cases.

It also took Tormis a long time to take an initial action on 223 cases filed in her court while she had not taken action on 3,491 cases.

In her explanation to the OCA, Tormis said she faithfully conducted semestral physical inventory of the case records except during the period comprising her three suspensions because she was denied access to her courtroom and case records.

She said the three separate suspensions issued against her caused the delay in the disposition of cases pending in her court.

Tormis said she had satisfactorily complied with the directive to decide the cases submitted for decision.

While recognizing the suspensions of Tormis as one of the reasons for the delay in the disposition of cases, the OCA noticed that several of the cases had been overdue for decision or resolution even prior to her suspension.

The OCA had recommended a fine of P80,000 be imposed on Tormis for undue delay in rendering a decision; P20,000 for failure to comply with her duty to provide efficient court management system, and another P20,000 for ordering the arrest of the accused even before she was apprised of the charges against her.

Teves explained that MTCC Branch 4 did not have a general docket book because they had not been provided by the high court with the needed supplies.

He said that the alleged errors in his reports can be attributed to the discrepancy in the procedure or in the appreciation in preparing the reports.

Teves also claimed that the non-promulgation of judgements can be justified since most of the cases were resolved based on compromise agreements, plea of guilt, dismissal by reason of an affidavit of desistance, among others.

The OCA recommended that Teves be ordered to pay a fine in the amount equivalent to two months pay for mismanagement of the case records.

But the high tribunal didn’t adopt OCA’s recommendations and instead increased the penalty to dismissal from the service.

In an en banc decision led by Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno, the higgh tribunal noted the work history of Tormis and Teves who were sanctioned for several administrative cases filed against them.

It noted that Tormis has two pending cases against her.

“Her conduct as a repeat offender exhibits her unworthiness to don the judicial robes and merits a sanction heavier than what is provided by our rules and jurisprudence,” the high court said.

It said Teves’ “repeated infractions seriously compromise efficiency and hamper public service which the court can no longer tolerate.”

“Obviously, with his past infractions and having been warned that a repetition of the same or similar act will be dealt with more severely, Mr. Teves has not reformed. Thus, the penalty of dismissal from service is proper,” the high court said.

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  • http://profile.yahoo.com/VS5EYSP4FPOTVQCJZ24NRE6Z2M Edgardo Mendoza

    supreme court is a kangaroo court pwe!

  • Horst Manure

    Just typical of what goes on here, the judiciary is as hopeless and inefficient as you can get .., when the justice system is slightly between than Indonesia there is a lot of work ahead for officials who are smart and can find their behind in the dark to sort the mess out.

  • 9thbornagaincat

    Goodjob SC! :D
    Court judges like her should definitely be removed from service. May this be a lesson to other judges who don’t do well in office.

  • gikiness

    natutulog naman pala sa pancitan. matagal ng dapat sinibak yan

  • fernan107

    dapat sibakin lahat na tamad sa lahat ng korte sa bansa..

  • david

    The integrity of pdi is measured not only by
    the fairness and correctness of facts/information it presents to readers, but also by the
    efficiency with which editors/writers check errors, including spelling, specially in this article.

    • Mang_Ben

      Ditto.

  • japokjackpot

    bakit sa cebu pa? marami naman diyan sa p. faura

  • rinom

    the bible is telling us,,, the moment you bring/present your case to the ungodly, to the less esteem by the church,,, you are completely defeated. brother against brother, politician against politician? why not present your grievances to God, who judge without fear and favor,,, ibig sabihin mag patawaran kayo sa isat isa or else your money will perish.

    • Kenjie Hasaki

      Well, that is great but utterly ridiculous!

  • koolkid_inthehouse

    More … now.

  • patrickinca

    The only that I am surprised about is that a judge is really getting the boot. Majority naman ng judges sa boong pilipinas ay ganiyan. Sige nga gumawa kayo ng inventory sa lahat ng pending cases and do a performance and history check on all judges and you will see that majority of them are corrupt and inefficient. Well this judge is in Cebu so it maybe that he is one of the former Garcia’s people kaya?

  • boybakal

    How could a Judge be judged by its own.

    Too harsh the penalty….forfeiture of benefits, non employment in gov’t service.
    The Judge is 63 years old and spent the best years of her life put to waste by this paper decision.
    SC should have been more circumspect in punishing its own.
    It exhibited the power of non sympathy to senior citizen employee.
    No time for the Judge to recover except hospital or cemetery.

  • Marx Louis Wang

    Akala ko kapag pasado ka ng bar exam magaling ka na… hindi ka magiging judge kung hindi ka naging lawyer at hindi ka magiging lawyer kung hindi ka nakapasa ng bar.

    Siguro palagi sa bar yan at duon laging tumotoma. Laging lasing. Ay, maling bar!
    Malamang maliit ang lagay na kinikita… ang “lagay” at hindi ang ma-“boteng” usapan ang mahalaga sa kanila.

  • maxbeep1

    Si CJ Sereno na lang ay maraming palpak na ginawa in short period of time, but she got away with all of them. Is that justice?

  • diamond_digger

    This is one of the best decisions of the Supreme Court. I welcome this news as I do firmly believe that inefficient, tardy and policy-violating judges and court employees, dare not competent to be in a position to dispense justice as, in contrary, they promote injustice and may provoke social chaos. Good for them and for the people, the Cebuanos in particular.

  • kalealaskador

    The Supreme Court is also “sleeping on the job”. There are hundreds of other judges guilty of the same offense. Or did someone from the top order Tormis’ dismissal? Baka naka-initan lang. Then we are in a more serious trouble!

  • Mr Moonlight

    Paging Supreme Court , theres about a hundred of them all over the country
    Some are very very crook and some are not too crook, but majority of them are incompetent and lazy

  • Camillo

    Uhm, isn’t the SC guilty of the same things? Case of the pot calling the kettle black?

  • OleSapra aka ARGUS

    GROSS INEFFICIENCY, IGNORANCE OF THE LAW

    ANA: “Ay naku, ‘buti nama’t napagtuonan ng pansin ng Supreme Court ang problema sa katamaran ng mga judges sa buong bansa, noh?”

    LISA: “Oo nga ‘ga. Ang bottom line kasi eh, napeperwisyong lalo ang mga nagrereklamo, porke, karaniwang malakas sa judge ang de-kalembang na defense lawyer para i-delay ng ilang-taon ang mga kaso.”

    CION: “Napuruhan mo ‘day ang galing mo. ‘Gaya ng reklamong isinampa ni Sir Leo no’ng 2006 sa RTC-Morong laban sa isang ISTAPADOR, ayaw umusad ang kaso. Kasi, laging postpone porke sumasakit daw ang yagbols ng abogago tuwing hearing. Nagpapabola naman ang prosecuTONG dahil may sobre, o, ‘di ba?”

  • speedstream2

    Looks like the judge got what she deserved. And there could be other judges too that need to be axed asap if we are to restore or strengthen people’s faith and confidence in the judicial system.

  • $14334231

    these will teach judges to be better efficient on their courts’ cases…..patay na ang negosyo ninyo….for now…..ONE down….MORE to go!!!!!!….

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_BJWOSERENIZQCR35IJH6SLXBUI cali

    naku! yan lang nakita niyo! eh ang DAMING TANGA sa gobyerno! andyan si Erap, Binay! Papasok pa si Maceda, Mitos Magsaysay! kawawang Pinas

  • A. H. Forrester

    Yuk ! Good riddance. How did this vile creature make it’s way in to a robe in the first place?

  • Natx Bacalzo

    a drop in the ocean of a judicial system which is … corrupt.

  • Lauro

    Could be a true-to-life example of a single case able to sustain one child thru college …. hahahahaha!!!!

  • Yobhtron

    I’m sure there are hundreds more judges who are grossly inefficient and ignorant of our law. Fire all idiots and hoodlums in robes!!!

  • Kirat

    Clearing the field for Gwendolyn and Winston’s cases?

  • wakats

    Next time around, the SC might drop sec. de lima for gross ignorance of the rules of court, and only PNoy will weep but the rest will cheer….

  • boybakal

    Gross Ignorance of the Law….the SC must be referring to De Lima.
    And she is still there….what happened to Disbarment.

  • okabato

    This decision of the supreme court against the judge have repercussions. This only means that her prior decisions were questionable for being inefficient and ignorant of the law. This is good news for those adversely affected by her previous decisions and it does not bode well for the administration of justice in this country if they don’t do something about them considering she was inefficient and ignorant of the law from the start.

  • bugoybanggers

    Philippines land of LAWYERS? Ow common, to much LAWYERS suck!

  • boybakal

    SC drops Cebu judge for ‘gross inefficiency, ignorance of law’

    There is no such thing as Ignorance of the Law, if it is alluded to the Judge.
    Laws, Lawyers, Judges, Justices are the same….they all studied law and passed the Bar.

    It is wrong to accuse a lawyer or judge as gross ignorant of the law.
    Maybe wrong application of the law would be proper…..and the justices are there to correct the application.

    SC justices are the ones ignorant of what they are doing….suspending all the benefits of a 63 years judge who is about to retire.
    She cannot work anymore, her pension is her earnings.

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