CEBU CITY—The Supreme Court has dismissed from service a judge here and her clerk of court for failure to resolve cases on time, mishandling court records and other infractions.
The high court ordered Judge Rosabella Tormis, of the Municipal Trial Court in Cities Branch 4, dismissed for “gross inefficiency, violation of Supreme Court rules, directives and circulars as well as gross ignorance of the law.”
Lawyer Reynaldo Teves, Tormis’ clerk of court, was also dismissed from service.
The high court ordered all their benefits and privileges forfeited and barred them from reemployment in any government office.
“The honor and integrity of the judicial system is measured not only by the fairness and correctness of decisions rendered but also by the efficiency with which disputes are resolved,” the high court said in a decision promulgated on March 12.
The Philippine Daily Inquirer tried to get Tormis’ reaction on Tuesday but a court employee said she was attending to her sick husband.
Tormis, 63, assumed office on June 22, 1999. Her service was interrupted when she was suspended thrice for various reasons.
An audit report by the Office of the Court Administrator (OCA) found that Tormis had no 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 a “considerable length of time.” Two cases have remained pending for 10 years.
At least 112 criminal and 83 civil cases that have been submitted for decision to Tormis remained pending in violation of a rule requiring courts to decide on cases within 90 days.
Tormis, according to the high court, procrastinated on 223 cases and did not take any action on 3,491 other cases.
Tormis had defended herself in a letter to OCA. She said she had been faithfully conducting an inventory of case records except during her suspension.
She also said she had complied with the high court directive to act with dispatch on cases submitted for decision.
In the en banc decision penned by Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno, the high court took note of Tormis’ and Teves’ previous offenses.
“Her conduct as a repeat offender exhibits her unworthiness to don the judicial robe and merits a sanction heavier than what is provided by our rules and jurisprudence,” the high court said.
On Teves, the high court said his “repeated infractions seriously compromise efficiency and hamper public service which the court can no longer tolerate.” “Mr. Teves has not reformed,” the high court ruling said.