Retired judge can’t escape SC verdict | Inquirer News

Retired judge can’t escape SC verdict

/ 02:16 AM October 21, 2013

The Supreme Court (SC) has found a former La Union judge guilty of gross inefficiency and gross ignorance of the law for failing to decide numerous cases on time and for ruling on 12 cases on the day he retired in 2006.

Santiago Soriano, former acting presiding judge in the Municipal Trial Court in Cities (MCTC) in San Fernando City and presiding judge in the Municipal Trial Court (MTC) in La Union, was also fined P40,000 to be taken from his retirement benefits.

“Judge Soriano’s unreasonable delay in deciding cases and resolving incidents and motions, and his failure to decide remaining cases before his compulsory retirement constitutes gross inefficiency which cannot be tolerated,” ruled the Supreme Court’s Second Division in a 10-page decision written by Justice Antonio Carpio.


Soriano’s retirement benefits were ordered withheld by the court following a judicial audit and inventory of pending cases in the San Fernando MTCC and Naguilian MTC conducted by the Office of the Court Administrator (OCA).


Soriano faces a contempt charge for submitting his report on the undecided cases only in 2010, or four years after he retired.

The audit also found that of the 59 cases submitted for decision in MTCC Branch 2 in San Fernando, the period for ruling in 57 cases had lapsed.

A similar finding was made in the Naguilian MTC where of 41 cases submitted for decision, 39 had gone beyond the period for a ruling.

The OCA directed Soriano to decide the cases and to resolve pending motions. The judge, however, still failed to decide 36 cases in both the MTC and MTCC, which were all due for decision by the time he retired on July 25, 2006.

The Supreme Court also found Soriano guilty of gross ignorance of the law for deciding 12 cases on the day his compulsory retirement took effect. According to court regulations, he was considered retired on that date and could no longer exercise the powers and functions of his office, particularly the promulgation of decisions.—Jerome Aning

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TAGS: Judiciary, La Union, Supreme Court

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