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806 Phil. 786

EN BANC

[ A.M. No. 14-10-339-RTC, March 07, 2017 ]

RE: FINDINGS ON THE JUDICIAL AUDIT CONDUCTED IN REGIONAL TRIAL COURT, BRANCH 8, LA TRINIDAD, BENGUET.

[A.M. No. RTJ-16-2446 [FORMERLY A.M. No. 14-3-53-RTC]]

OFFICE OF THE COURT ADMINISTRATOR, COMPLAINANT, VS. JUDGE MARYBELLE L. DEMOT­MARIÑAS, REGIONAL TRIAL COURT, BRANCH 8, LA TRINIDAD, BENGUET, RESPONDENT.

DECISION

PER CURIAM:

This is a consolidated administrative complaint against Judge Marybelle L. Demot-Mariñas (Judge Demot-Mariñas), Presiding Judge, Branch 8, Regional Trial Court, La Trinidad, Benguet, which stemmed from (1) the judicial audit of the RTC-Branch 8 from March 30 to April 12, 2014, conducted by the Audit Team of the Court Management Office (Team); and (2) the Indorsement from the Office of the Chief Justice regarding the Letter from Ms. Lilia Nugal-Koh wherein the latter sought the intercession of the Court for the speedy disposition of her case.

A.M No. 14-10-339-RTC

Pursuant to Travel Order No. 32-2014 dated March 20, 2014, the judicial audit team conducted a judicial audit in the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 8, La Trinidad, Benguet, from March 30 to April 12, 2014. The Court is presided by herein respondent Judge Marybelle Demot-Mariñas.

On the basis of the records presented and actually audited by the Team, the subject court had a total caseload of 309 cases (135 criminal cases and 174 civil cases), with 157 cases submitted for decision (47 criminal cases and 110 civil cases) which are already beyond the reglementary period to decide.

In a Memoradum dated October 3, 2014, the Office of the Court Administrator (OCA) recommended to the Honorable Chief Justice Maria Lourdes P. A. Sereno the following, to wit:
A. Hon. Marybelle Demot-Mariñas, Presiding Judge, Branch 8, Regional Trial Court, La Trinidad, Benguet, be DIRECTED to:

(1) CEASE and DESIST from trying/hearing cases in her court, and to DEVOTE her time to (1a) DECIDE the one hundred fifty (150) cases [45 criminal cases and 105 civil cases] submitted for decision, which are beyond the period to decide as provided by law, to wit:

CRIMINAL CASES

CASE COUNT
CASE NUMBER
ACCUSED
NATURE
DATE
1
09-CR-7795
Maria Gloria
Angelica Sabado
Grave Coercion
09/27/09
2
09-CR-7794
Maria Gloria
Angelica Sabado
Malicious Mischief
09/27/09
3
10-CR-8135
Flor Raposas, et al.Malicious Mischief
01/04/10
4
03-CR-4932
Wilfredo Pio AlanHomicide
09/12/07
5
08-CR-7495
John Miguel AnanayoFrustrated Homicide
04/27/10
6
08-CR-7235
Laruan Quilito
Rogelio Andres (AL)
Murder
03/09/10
7
2K-CR-3934
Sunny Aglibot
Lorenzo Adato, Jr.
Michael Ramirez
Theft
02/08/13
8
09-CR-7764
Arleth Buenconsejo, et al. Illegal Recruitment
02/08/13
9
09-CR-7786
Arleth Buenconsejo, et al.Illegal Recruitment
02/08/13
10
09-CR-7787
Arleth Buenconsejo, et al.Illegal Recruitment
02/08/13
11
09-CR-7783
Arleth Buenconsejo, et al.Illegal Recruitment
02/08/13
12
10-CR-8175
Narda Balinag Albert ColiadoPD 1602 as amended by RA 9287
03/20/13
13
11-CR-8689
Christopher PatiagRA 9165
09/17/13
14
05-CR-5991
Avalon AllanMurder
08/09/09
15
05-CR-5989
Avalon AllanFrustrated Murder
08/09/09
16
10-CR-8098
James BagtangSec. 5. Art. II, RA 9165
02/09/12
17
07-CR-6715
Dorico Yeno EndeniroSec. 5, Art. II, RA 9165
07/22/10
18
06-CR-6117
Santos BalabalSec. 5 Art. II, RA 9165
11/19/07
19
09-CR-7599
  (appealed case)
Walden RevelarGrave Threats
04/17/09
20
11-CR-8690
Christopher PatiagRA 9165
09/17/13
21
07-CR-6791
Roel NabusPD 1602 as amended by RA 9287
01/26/09
22
08-CR-7259
Jay BotengMurder
01/21/13
23
10-CR-8091
Jack BahingawanFrustrated Murder
12/06/11
24
11-CR-8475
(appealed case)
Antonio Coyupan
Rey Coyupan
Joker Miranda
Malicious Mischief
07/14/11
25
05-CR-6074
Fred BilogSec. 5, Art. II, RA 9165
11/10/08
26
05-CR-5781
Hilton PulacanSec. 5, Art. II, RA 9165
08/07/07
27
05-CR-5782
Hilton Pulacan Sec. 5, Art. II, RA 9165
08/07/07
28
02-CR-4400
Sps. Florendo and
Josephine Lupante
Estafa thru Falisification of Public Documents
09/19/05
29
05-CR-5780
A. Empil Qualified Theft
12/05/06
30
11-CR-8284
H. SorianoSec. 5, Art. II, RA 9165
08/27/13
31
09-CR-7738
Rowela DelfinSec. 5, Art. II, RA 9165
07/25/11
32
10-CR-8226
Sonny DolinenEstafa
03/13/12
33
08-CR-7209
John Naboye
E.Malicdan
E. Daniel
E. Rones
PD 1602 as Amended by RA 9287
12/17/13
34
11-CR-8286
(appealed case)
Eleanor Sebiano, et al.Qualified Trespass to Dwelling
02/22/11
35
09-CR-7801
(appealed case)
Uriel Delos ReyesSerious Physical Injuries
01/18/10
36
09-CR-7802
(appealed case)
Uriel Delos ReyesSerious Physical Injuries
01/18/37
37
09-CR-7747
Alex Abinon
Romel Balarote
Dan Morial
Julius Casaalan
Frustrated Murder
06/18/13
38
11-CR-8641
Jessie Bernal Estafa
12/10/13
39
13-CR-9459
(appealed case)
Regina SamidanBP 22
07/24/13
40
13-CR-9460
(appealed case)
Regina SamidanBP 22
07/24/13
41
13-CR-9461
Regina SamidanBP 22
07/24/13
42
13-CR-9462
(appealed case)
Regina SamidanBP 22
07/24/13
43
13-CR-9463
(appealed case)
Regina SamidanBP 22
07/24/13
44
13-CR-9517
(appealed case)
Fernando AsunsionBP 22
08/07/13
45
13-CR-9516
(appealed case)
Fernando AsunsionBP 22
08/07/13

CIVIL CASES

CASE COUNT
CASE NUMBER
TITLE
NATURE
DATE SUBMITTED FOR DECISION
1
01-CV-1509
Joseph Tanacio, et al. v. Angelita Narzabal, et al.Damages
04/16/04
2
06-CV-2293
Lorna Aquino v. Sps. Antonio Abyado, et al. Specific Performance, Injunction and Reconveyance
01/22/11
3
07-CV-2390
(appealed case)
Belino Tam v. Milagros Vidal and George VidalReconveyance and Damages
02/12/08
4
12-AD-1393
Aniceto Acop & Shirley Acop v. Register of Deeds, BenguetPetition under Section 108 of PD 1529 for amendment of entries in the Registration Book
01/07/13
5
10-CV-2671
(appealed case)
Sps. Marcial Florida v. Mario Otto & Delio OttoRecovery of Possession with Damages
01/03/11
6
07-CV-2380
Elvira Laoyan v. Mike Leo, Jr.Recovery of Possession with Damages
07/10/11
7
07-CV-2379
Catalina Villena v. Sps. Marcos Gayaso, et al.Annulment of Deed of Sale, Extrajudicial Settlement of Estate
09/14/11
8
10-CV-2601
Emilia Buyagoa v. Minda ColansongRescission of Contract with Prayer for Preliminary Injunction
01/27/11
9
10-CV-2666
(appealed case)
Macaria Molitas, et al. v. Cordillera Homeowners CooperativeForcible Entry and Damages
01/17/11
10
10-CV-2594
Anthony Wakefiled v. Rafael Tenenan, et al.Annulment of Documents
08/19/11
11
CV-1645
Placido Carantes v. Benguet CorporationRecovery of Possession with Preliminary Injunction
10/08/10
12
LRC-N-221
Placido CarantesApplication for Registration of Title
03/09/11
13
03-CV-1820
George Sanchez v. Edith Batore Walker, et al.Annulment of Affidavit of Adjudication
12/01/05
14
05-CV-2185
Heirs of Empiso Caiso, et al. v. The Barangay Government of Poblacion, La Trinidad, Benguet, et al.Cancelllation of Tax Declartion
01/23/09
15
08-CV-2455
Mario Nishiyama v. Megalopolis Properties Inc.Rescission of Contracts with Damages
07/12/13
16
03-CV-1884
Manuel Cuilan v. Mauricio AmbanlocViolation of Section 194 and 195 of the Local Code/Injunction with Damages
12/07/05
17
02-CV-1714
Feliciano Balakwid v. Victoria LeanoJudicial Foreclosure of Mortgage
05/10/06
18
10-CV-2679
(appealed case)
Dionisia Palaci v. Simeon and Manuel BasilioRecovery of Possession with Prayer for Issuance of Preliminary Mandatory Injunction and TRO
05/18/11
19
03-CV-1865
Angela Begnaen, et al. v. The Heirs of Angelita Begnaen Ananayo, et al.Reconveryance and Damages
09/24/09
20
08-CV-2444
Saturnino Diaz v. Manuel LiuRecovery of Possession with Damages
02/24/12
21
05-CV-2181
Sps. Marcial & Imelda Tayab v. Henry Longay Jr. in his capacity as Deputy Sheriff IV, Cesar Macagne and Stephen ToldingInjunction and Damages with application for TRO with Writ of Preliminary Injunction
10/03/11
22
08-CV-2449
Cesar Macagne and Stephen Tolding v. Sps. Marcial & Imelda Tayab & Atty. Inglay FoknoIndirect Contempt
10/03/11
23
02-CV-1701
Jeffrey Garoy v. Cecilia Morales, et al.Annulment of Title; Affidavit of Loss & Affidavit of Self Adjudication with Simultaneous Sale with Damages
08/17/05
24
02-CV-1701
Maximo Macli-ing v. Pedro IsicanDamages
09/02/04
25
2K-CV-1491
Fibertex Corp. v. Elizabeth Lagyop and Darwin DominongRecovery of Possession with Damages
06/17/06
26
2K-CV-1527
Constancio Olsim and Gregorio Afidchao v. La Trinidad Balikatan Homeowners Assn., et al.Specific Performance
09/10/03
27
08-CV-2452
Teresita Banggao, rep. by Francis Salis v. Sps. Marcelo & Lolita Geston & the Municipal Trial Court of La TrinidadAnnulment of Judgment with Prayer for the Issuance of Writ of Preliminary Injunction
09/28/08
28
05-CV-2151
Sps. Alejandro and Feliza Carbonell v. Ricky Alangsab, et al.Injunction with Payer for TRO & Preliminary Injunction, Reduction of Interest Rate of Loan & Damages
03/04/08
29
03-CV-1921
Rural Bank of La Trinidad, represented by Ricardo Salis v. Sps. Candido & Florence RadionCollection of Sum of Money with Damages
11/13/04
30
2K-CV-1500
Eugenia Zafra Edapes, et al. v. Solomon Alilao,et al.Annulment of Deeds of Absolute Sale, TCT, Sheriffs Certificates of Sale, Reconveyance and Damages
08/09/05
31
97-CV-1203
Heirs of Larry Ogas v. Benguet State University, et al.Annulment of Sale & TCT with Damages
05/27/03
32
11-CV-2709
Sps. Cobulan v. Josephine AlasioForcible Entry
06/21/11
33
12-CV-2890
(appealed case)
Heirs of Dagiw-a Baca, et al. v. Heirs of Bahanio Atelba, et al.Recovery of Ownership, et al.
06/10/13
34
12-CV-2831
(appealed case)
Heirs of Alipio Ballesteros, et al. v. Cristina GorioForcible Entry
10/24/12
35
92-CV-0666
Camilo Quinio v. Duray Veloso de Erasmo, et al.Recovery of Possession and Ownership
09/27/02
36
94-CV-0887
Itogon-Suyoc Mines, Inc. v. James BrettRecovery of Personal Property, etc.
07/22/04
37
LRC-N-153
Abanga Cossel, et al. v. Director of Lands Land Registration
05/20/08
38
97-CV-1238
Vicente Lubos v. Smart Communications Inc.Breach of Contract with Damages
11/27/03
39
01-CV-1666
Gudelia Domingo v. Emmanuel MarianoDamages
08/07/03
40
12-CV-2830
(appealed case)
Heirs of Toato Bugnay, et al. v. Cristina GorioForcible Entry with Damages
09/17/12
41
13-CV-2946
(appealed case)
Heirs of Cuidno Tapio v. Camilo Madadsic Accion Publiciana,et al.
11/15/13
42
11-CV-2715
(appealed case)
Aurea Benito, et al. v. Joseph Aquilet, et al.Reconveyance, Cancelllation of Bad Title, Tax Declaration
08/09/11
43
08-CV-2408
(appealed case)
Samuel Bordon v. Lin  Ling ShengCollection of Sum of Money
05/08/08
44
03-CV-1831
Frankie Domingo v. Michael SyQuieting of Title, Damages with Issuance of Writ of Preliminary Injunction
08/03/10
45
02-CV-1764
Sonia Catarroja, et al. v. Damian Jimenez, et al.Reconveyance, et al.
12/15/10
46
01-CV-1645
Sps. Gerald and Josephine Alejo v. Samahan ng Buong Lahing Pilipino & Nelia BulahawAnnulment of Deeds, Damages et al.
06/23/05
47
12-CV-2841
Amada Eraña v. Jane Ferrer & Registry of DeedsRecovery of Possession of a parcel of land and Damages
02/08/13
48
95-SP-0086
Pedro Nugal, et al. (Petitioners)In the Matter of the Settlement of the Intestate Estate of the late Basilio Nugal
05/12/03
49
12-AD-1423
Heirs of Rosalia Quintino v. Arlene Lubos, et al.Petition for the Surrender of the Owner's Duplicate Copies of Title
05/16/13
50
01-CV-1659
Belen Tacay, et al. v. Ponciano So and Val NolascoInjunction, Damages with Prayer for TRO
04/01/04
51
99-CV-1387
Heirs of Jose Tumpao v. Sps. Noel and Jessie AlosRecovery of Possession
04/01/04
52
03-CV-1888
Heirs of Bido Sabado v. Domingo Bestre and Miller BestreQuieting of Title & Ownership
08/11/11
53
03-CV-1814
Jimmy Mateo, et al. v. Miguel Bato, et al.Annulment of Deed of Sale, etc.
09/24/09
54
02-CV-1765
Mary Jane Alican v. Alvin SorianoQuo Warranto, Application for Writ of Preliminary Injunction and TRO
08/23/04
55
01-CV-1662
Lolita Velasco v. Charlie Lingbanan, et al.Quieting of Title; Annulment of Title; Specific Performance or Reconveyance
10/22/04
56
92-CV-0748
Patricio Ciano v. Lutheran Church of the Philippines, et al.Quieting of Title with Prayer for the Issuance of Writ of Preliminary Injunction
07/30/04
57
04-CV-1995
(appealed case)
Telesforo Amiao & Angela Angon v. Heirs of Patricio GabaoUnlawful Detainer
06/07/04
58
2K-CV-1565
Heirs of Rufo Sotelo, Jr. v. Melchor Tican, et al.Injunction
01/13/05
59
01-CV-1681
Ricardo Acop, et al. v. Sps. Ricardo & Juliet GalvezCancellation of Title with Damages
06/14/07
60
06-CV-2217
Sps. Jaime & Mary Leo v. Arlene Leo, et al.Annulment of Documents, Injunction & Damages
11/16/11
61
93-CV-0799
Lourdes Maglaya & Feliza Pil-o v. Ruben Guzman & Hydro Electric Dev't. Corp.Annulment of Contracts
06/14/02
62
09-CV-1578
Marck Floyd Ambos & Eden Ambos v. LCR of Bokod, BenguetPetition for Correction of Entries in the Certificate of Live Birth of Mark Floyd Ambos
01/29/13
63
99-CV-1334
Ismael Paatan v. Amado CortezDamages
11/10/03
64
03-CV-1812
Trinibank-Rural Bank of La Trinidad, Benguet v. Sps. Juanito & Zenaida Co, et al.Recovery of Possession and Ownership with Damages
09/25/08
65
02-CV-1704
Leonardo del Rosario, et al. v. Conchita LuceroReconveyance, Accounting and Damages
06/28/06
66
06-CV-2208
Benjamin Dampac v. Sps. Victor & Frances LaoyanAbatement of Nuisance & Damages
08/29/08
67
2K-CV-1559
Heirs of Victor Alejandro Sr., et al. v. Andrea BalictanDeclaration of Nullity of Deed of Donation
05/06/02
68
2K-CV-1573
Pilando Fernandez, et al. v. Philex Mining Corp. Enforcement of Contract
02/28/03
69
07-CV-2347
(appealed case)
Carmen Amboy & Florencio Amboy v. Sps. Antonio & Rosita CaladoForcible Entry
07/09/07
70
96-CV-1113
Albert Caoili v. Congyu Marcelino, et al.Quieting of Tile
05/10/02
71
2K-CV-1473
Heirs of Gregorio Abalos v. Peter Sukil-ap, et al.Recovery of Possession
02/27/03
72
04-CV-2020
Benguet Electric Cooperative v. National Transmission Corp. et al.Injunction
07/28/09
73
06-CV-2195
Heirs of Violeta Baccay, et al. v. Erasmo Aquiapao, et al.Annulment of Deed of Extrajudicial Settlement of Estate
08/09/12
74
04-CV-2057
Patricia Buenafe v. Sps. Mario Bastian, et al.Annulment of Real Estate Mortgage
09/28/05
75
10-CV-2649
Heirs of Carlos Amos et al. v. Delilah Asuncion & Sps. Basilio David, et al.Annulment of Judgment
12/03/10
76
04-CV-2024
Alma Contada v. Allan MalionesDamages
04/22/08
77
08-CV-2420
David Dominang v.
Hon. Jose Encarnacion et al.
Certiorari
09/10/08
78
13-CV-2919
Agosto Domerez v. Hon. Adolfo Malingan and Marcela TorrenCertiorari
06/06/13
79
98-CV-1290
Esteban v. GardoseAnnulment and/or Cancellation of Deed of Assignment
11/27/03
80
2K-CV-1492
Cosme v. Piay, et al.Cancellation of Real Estate
02/24/04
81
04-CV-2023
Estate of De Guia v. Sps. FernandezReconveyance of Property, Damages
03/03/09
82
03-CV-1892
Benguet Electric Coop. v. TacioCollection of Sum of Money
06/28/12
83
02-CV-1791
M. Cadiogan v. A. CadioganSettlement of Estate with Prayer
for Issuance of a Restraining Order
10/14/05
84
10-CV-2229
Cestona v. TulioReformation of Instrument and Damages
08/18/11
85
10-CV-2645
Calawa, et al. v. Mayor AbalosCertiorari
11/26/10
86
99-CV-1345
Donato v. BalinganDeclaration of Nullity of Documents
08/17/05
87
13-CV-2906
Esnara v. Tenefrancia, et al.Declaration of Nullity of Documents
08/16/13
88
03-CV-1877
Sps. Og-oget v. LuisAnnulment of Compromise Settlement
10/08/06
89
04-CV-2060
Kidweng v. AguilarDamages
11/16/06
90
10-CV-2599
(appealed case)
Acop v. Municipality of Tublay, BenguetRecovery of Possession and Damages
03/30/10
91
99-CV-1420
Ambros v. MatiasAnnulment of Tax Declaration
11/04/03
92
03-CV-1815
Sps. De Leon v. DulayConstitution of Easement of Right of Way
03/08/06
93
2K-CV-1472
Ackiapat v. BertoCancellation of Tax Declaration and Damages
07/29/04
94
02-CV-1519
Nixon Guzman, et al. v. Helen Abilao and Feliza Pilo-oJudicial Partition
08/23/12
95
12-CV-2877
Apolonio, Sr. v. Benguet State UniversityAccion Publiciana and Quieting of Tile
01/30/14
96
08-CV-2467
Yolanda Daliones v. Sps. Marcelo Agdasi and Ana AgdasiConveyance and Damages
09/16/13
97
11-CV-2773
Heirs of Rosalina Lacamen, et al. v. Erlinda Lacamen and Abdel Lacamen Ejectment and Damages
04/18/12
98
13-CV-2947
(appealed case)
Saturnino Ciano v. Francisco Kiwang, Jr.Forcible Entry
10/07/13
99
12-CV-2829
Maria Usana v. Severo Alvarez Jr. and Estrella AlavarezCollection of Sum of Money
10/18/13
100
08-CV-2459
Edwin Zamora v. Rainbow Mission ChurchDamages
12/05/13
101
13-CV-2922
(appealed case)
Heirs of Patricia Teofilo v. Sps. Cesar and Virginia Singao, et al.Forcible Entry
09/13/13
102
07-CV-2382
Province of Benguet v. National Power corporationCollection of Franchise Tax
03/08/13
103
08-CV-2481
Philex Mining Corporation v. The Province of BenguetPetition under Section 195 of the Local Gov't. Code with Prayer for the Issuance of a Writ of Preliminary Injunction or TRO
05/06/10
104
12-CV-1745
Desiree Dolin-Sawac v. LCR of Kapangan, BenguetPetition for Correction & to Supply the entries in the Certificate of Live Birth of Desiree Dolin
01/07/13
105
02-CV-1776
Toquero, et al. Heirs of Santiago Lictag, et al.Judicial Partition
02/04/13

(1-b) DECIDE the eight (8) cases submitted for decision although still within the reglementary period to resolve, as of audit, to wit:

CRIMINAL CASES

CASE COUNT
CASE NUMBER
TITLE
NATURE
DATE SUBMITTED FOR DECISION
1
10-CR-7978
Efren Andiso
Violation of Sec. 261 (a) BP 881
02/12/14
2
10-CR-7979
Efren Andiso
Violation of Sec. 261 (a) BP 881
02/12/14

CIVIL CASES

CASE COUNT
CASE NUMBER
TITLE
NATURE
DATE SUBMITTED FOR DECISION
1
13-AD-1487
Domingo v. Registry of Deeds-BenguetIssuance of New Owner's Duplicate Certificate of Title
01/24/14
2
12-CV-2858
Heirs of Mendoza v. Sps.MendozaAnnulment of Judgment
01/24/14
3
2K-CV-1492
Cosme v. Piay, et al.Cancellation of Real Estate
02/24/04
4
12-CV-2877
Apolonio, Sr. v. Benguet State UniversityAccion Publiciana and Quieting of Title
01/30/14
5
03-CV-1810
Heirs of Busco v. Bulso, et al.Annulment of Affidavit of Adjudication
02/27/14
6
13-CV-2935
(appealed case)
Tiongsan Realty Development v. Jimmy Yu, et al. Unlawful Detainer
04/03/14

(1-c) RESOLVE the pending motions/incidents in the following seventeen (17) cases [2 criminal cases and 15 civil cases], to wit:

CRIMINAL CASES

CASE COUNT
CASE NUMBER
TITLE
NATURE
LAST COURT ACTION/REMARKS
1
12-CR-8795
D. Oblero
Estafa
Demurrer to Evidence filed on 10-10-13
No comment/opposition filed by prosecution despite directive in Order dated 9-17-13
2
13-CR-9683
Jackellene Menzi
Estafa
Motion to Quash filed on 3-11-14 Prosecution's comment filed on 3-11-14

CIVIL CASES


CASE COUNT

CASE NUMBER

TITLE

NATURE
DATE SUBMITTED FOR RESOLUTION
1
13-CV-2967

   
Bangonan Livelihood Association Inc. v. Benedict PinedaProhibition with Preliminary Injunction and TRO
Order dtd 11-15-13 Atty. De Guzman is given 15 days from receipt of a copy of this order to file his comment to the affirmative defenses contained in the answer of the respondents, after which the incident shall be deemed submitted for resolution
2
03-CV-1847

   
Rosenia Langbis, et al. v. Sps. Juliana and Bosleng ArcitaSpecific Performance
Order dtd. 09-15-05 after the filing of the manifested demurrer to evidence within 5 days and within 10 days to comment thereto, the incident shall be deemed submitted for resolution -Demurrer to Evidence- 09-20-05
3
13-CV-2958
Virginia Dompiles v. Hon. Jose Encarnacion, MTC of Itogon and Atok Big Wedge CorporationAnnulment of the Orders of the MTC with Prayer for TRO and Writ of Preliminary Injunction
Order dated 08-01-13 supplemental petition shall be deemed submitted for resolution
4
13-CV-2949
Gregorio Abalos, Jr. v.Sum of Money & Damages
Order dated 01-24-14 court given the chance to submit comment on the Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings dated 10-10-13 within 10 days from receipt of the copy of the order after which the incident will deemed submitted to resolution -comment attached 02-27-14
5
13-CV-2969
The Province of Benguet rep. by Gov. Nestor Fongwan v. Sps. Maray & Brado MoltioCancellation of ARP No. 99-016-03588 and Annulment of Deed of Sale with Damages
Motion for Extension of Time to file comment filed on 01-02-14 Comments/objections to the affirmative defense on 01-16-14
6
13-CV-2959
Fermin Sernal v. Sps. Esteban Gayados, Jr., et al. Annulment of Foreclosure Sale, Sheriffs Certificate of Sale, and Certificate of Title
Order dated 11-15-13 the motion to dismiss shall be deemed submitted for resolution

      -Supplemental Motion to Dismiss filed by defendants on 02-12-14

   
7
08-CV-2442
Heirs of Nuepe Lamsis,  et al. v. Pelagia Velasco, et al.Injunction, et al.
Order dated 02-21-14 upon receipt of the ruling of this court on plaintiffs evidence on rebuttal, the parties are given a period of 30 days to file their memoranda after which this case shall be submitted for decision with or without such memoranda
8
14-CV-3012
Sps. Bandola v. Rural Bank of San Luis, Pampanga, et al.Declaration of Nullity of Real Estate Mortgage
Motion to take Disposition- 03-19-14
9
09-CV-2550
Heirs of the Late Olecio v. Sps. BugtongAnnulment of Documents
Comment/Opposition to defendants' affirmative defenses/Motion to Dismiss 05-14-10
10
04-CV-2052
Semon v. Carmak Motors Corp.
   
Rescission of Contract
Urgent ex-parte motion for an earlier resolution- 01-10-08
11
13-CV-2992
Benguet Electric Coop. v. Equitable PCI Bank, et al.Reformation of Instrument
Motion for leave to file attached reply (for defendant BDO) filed on 03-31-14
12
11-CV-2707
Hermenegildo Heiras, Jr. v. Sps. William and Jennifer Gan-gan, et al.Specific Performance and Damages
Comment to Formal Offer of Evidence filed by defendants on 03-11-14
13
13-CV-2936
Cristina Noepe and Lester Noepe v. Christian Spiritista of the PhilippinesDeclaration of Nullity of Public Instrument
Reply to the amended answer - 03-25-14 Motion for Extension was filed on 03-27-14
14
11-CV-2769
Christian Chuang v. Celevina Baylon et al.
   
Declaration of Nullity of Deed of Absolute Sale
Comment/Opposition to the admissibility of plaintiffs rebuttal evidence dated 02-20-14 filed by defendant
15
10-SP-0121
Petition for Probate/Allowance of the Holographic will of Saturnino Ebusca v. Rafael Ebusca, et al.Probate of Will
Motion to issue and an order authorizing Atty. Calonge to withdraw from BCF Credit Coop. filed on 03-02-14

(2) FURNISH this Court copies of the decisions and/or resolutions related to the enumerated cases. This Cease-and-Desist directive shall continue until the aforementioned 157 cases submitted for decision and pending motions/incidents in the 17 cases shall have been finally decided/resolved by Judge Marinas;

(3) EXPLAIN in writing, within fifteen (15) dqays from notice, why no administrative sanction should be taken against her for her failure to decide the aforementioned one hundred fifty (150) cases within the mandatory period to decide.

B) The Financial Management Office, Office of the Court Administrator be directed to WITHHOLD the salaries, allowances and other benefits of Judge Marybelle Demot Marinas, pending full compliance with these directives; and

C) The Court Management Office be DIRECTED to prepare the necessary Administrative Order for approval relative to the designation of an assisting judge in Branch 8, Regional Trial Court, La Trinidad, Benguet, to specifically conduct hearings on all cases and attend to all interlocutory matters thereat, but without prejudice to disposing of the same when circumstance/s warrant, such designation to continue until further orders from this Court.
On April 7, 2015, as per recommendation of the OCA, the Court resolved to adopt the findings and recommendations of the OCA.

In compliance with the Court's Resolution, in a Letter Transmittal dated June 4, 2015, Judge Demot-Mariñas apologized to the Court for her failure to decide the cases within the reglementary period. She, however, offered no explanation to such delay but nevertheless admitted her fault in the said delay. She signified her intention to resign as she felt that she was no longer an effective member of the judiciary. Attached with the Letter­ Compliance is the Letter of Atty. Maribel Brillantes Macario Pedro (Atty. Macario Pedro), Clerk of Court V, Branch 8, RTC, La Trinidad, Benguet showing the partial compliance to the court directives, to wit:
CRIMINAL CASES

CASE NUMBER
ACCUSED
NATURE
LAST COURT ACTION/REMARKS
DATE RESOLVED
12-CR-8795
Dominga D. Oblero
Estafa
Demurrer to Evidence filed on 10-10-13
No comment/ opposition filed by prosecution despite directive in Order dated 9-17-13
07/31/14
13-CR-9683
Jackellene K. Menzi
Estafa
Motion to Quash filed on 3-11-14
Prosecution's comment filed on 3-11-14
05/12/14

CIVIL CASES

CASE NUMBER
TITLE
NATURE
LAST COURT ACTION/REMARKS
Date Resolved
08-CV-2442
Heirs of Nuepe Lamsis, et al. v. Heirs of Pelagia LamsisRecovery of Possession, etc.
Order dated 02-21-14 upon receipt of the ruling of this court on plaintiffs evidence on rebuttal, the parties are given a period of 30 days to file their memoranda after which this case shall be submitted for decision with or without such memoranda
06/09/14
09-CV-2550

 
Heirs of the Late Gloria Luis Olecio v. Sps. Rosalino Luis BugtongAnnulment of Documents, Cancellation of TCT, Reconveyance, Damages with Prayer for a TRO and WPI
Comment/Opposition to defendants' affirmative defenses/Motion to Dismiss 05-14-10
08/15/14
11-CV-2707
Hermenigildo Hieras, Jr. v. Sps. William and Jennifer Gangan, et al.Specific Performance with Damages
Comment to Formal Offer of Evidence filed by defendants on 03-11-14
04/03/14
13-CV-2958
Virginia Dompiles v. Hon. Jose S. Encarnacion, Presiding Judge, MTC of Itogon, Benguet and Atok Big Wedge CorporationAnnulment of the Orders of the MTC with Prayer for TRO and Writ of Preliminary Injunction
Order dated 08-01-13 supplemental petition shall be deemed submitted for resolution
05/12/14
13-CV-2959
Fermina O. Bernal v. Sps. Esteban T. Gayados, Jr., et al.Annulment of Foreclosure Sale, Sheriffs Certificate of Sale, and Certificate of Title
Order dated 11-15-13 the motion to dismiss shall be deemed submitted for resolution
- Supplemental Motion to Dismiss filed by defendants on 02-12-14
01/30/15
13-CV-2992
Benguet Electric Coop. v. Equitable PCI Bank, et al.Reformation of Instrument with Prayer for Payment of Sum of Money and Damages
Motion for leave to file attached reply (for defendant BDO) filed on 03-31-14
04/11/14
14-CV-3012
Sps. Freddie H. Bandola and Celia Bandola v. Rural Bank of San Luis, Pampanga, et al.Declaration of Nullity of Real Estate Mortgage, etc.
Motion to take Disposition- 03-19-14
03/24/14

SPECIAL PROCEEDINGS CASE

CASE NUMBER
ACCUSED
NATURE
LAST COURT ACTION/REMARKS
Date Resolved
10-SP-0121
Petition for Probate/Allowance of the Holographic will of Saturnino Ebusca v. Rafael Ebusca et al.
Probate of Will
Motion to issue an order authorizing Atty. Calonge to withdraw from BCF Credit Coop. Filed on 03-02-14
04/16/14
In a Resolution dated August 4, 2015, the Court referred the Letter dated June 4, 2015 of Presiding Judge Demot-Mariñas to the OCA for evaluation, report and recommendation.

A.M. RTJ-16-2446

On February 27, 2013, the Office of the Deputy Court Administrator Raul Villanueva (DCA Villanueva) received an indorsement from the Office of the Chief Justice regarding the letter of Ms. Nugal-Koh wherein the latter sought the intercession of the Court for the speedy disposition of her case docketed as Special Proceedings Case No. 95-SP-0086 entitled "Pedro Nugal, et al. v. Lilia Nugal-Koh, et al.," which allegedly had been submitted for resolution for more than ten (10) years already at the time of the complaint.

Acting on the said Letter, a 1st Indorsement dated March 4, 2013 was sent directing Judge Demot-Mariñas to comment thereon. On June 5, 2013, another Letter from Ms. Nugal-Koh, addressed to the Office of the Chief Justice, was received by DCA Villanueva's office again seeking assistance for the immediate resolution of her case. Attached to the said Letter were the (1) Certification dated April 23, 2013 from Atty. Maribel B. Macario, Clerk of Court V, Branch 8, RTC, La Trinidad, Benguet, attesting that no decision was rendered yet in the subject case; and (2) another Letter from the Office of the Chief Justice dated April 12, 2013, referring the letter dated February 13, 2013 of Ms. Nugal-Koh to Judge Demot-Mariñas wherein the latter was requested to submit a feedback on the matter within fifteen (15) days from the receipt thereof.

Consequently, a 2nd Indorsement dated June 5, 2013 was sent to Judge Demot-Mariñas, reiterating the earlier directive for her to comment on the status of Ms. Nugal-Koh's case, with a stem warning that appropriate proceedings may be initiated against her for her inaction.

On September 17, 2013, the Office of DCA Villanueva again received a Letter dated September 11, 2013 from Ms. Nugal-Koh repeating her request regarding her case and appending a new certification dated September 2, 2013 attesting that her case remained undecided. Thus, a 3rd Indorsement was sent to respondent judge regarding the matter with the information that initiation of administrative proceedings against her was already being considered for her apparent delay in deciding the subject case and her blatant disregard of directives relative thereto despite repeated orders.

In an Agenda Report dated February 18, 2014, the OCA found that Judge Demot-Mariñas indeed failed to comply with the repeated directives from the Office of DCA Villanueva, and with the letter from the Office of the Chief Justice requiring her to comment on the status of the subject case. Thus, the OCA recommended that the report be treated as a formal administrative complaint against Judge Demot-Mariñas for insubordination, inefficiency and neglect of duty.

In a Resolution dated June 2, 2014, the Court resolved to treat the OCA's Agenda Report dated February 18, 2014 as a formal administrtive complaint against Judge Demot-Mariñas for Inefficiency and Neglect of Duty. In addition, the Court also required respondent to explain why she should not be held administratively liable for her failure to comply with the repeated directives to comment on the status of Special Proceedings Case No. 95-SP-0086. The Court, likewise, directed respondent to comment and submit a report on the status of the above-mentioned case.

In a Resolution dated November 26, 2014, the Court referred the Letter dated September 11, 2014 of Ms. Nugal-Koh to the OCA for evaluation, report and recommendation. As contained therein, Ms. Nugal­ Koh said that as of July 9, 2014, no decision has been rendered by respondent Judge Demot-Mariñas in her case as certified by Atty. Macario Pedro, Branch Clerk of Court.

In a Memorandum dated December 1, 2015, the OCA recommended that: (1) the two (2) instant administrative matters be consolidated; and (2) respondent Judge Marybelle L. Demot-Mariñas be found guilty of grave misconduct, insubordination and gross inefficiency and be dismissed from service with forfeiture of all retirement benefits.

On February 17, 2016, as per recommendation of the OCA, considering the similarity of the issues of both cases, the Court resolved to consolidate the instant administrative complaints against respondent Judge Demot-Mariñas.

RULING

We adopt the findings and recommendation of the OCA.

The Court has consistently impressed upon judges the need to decide cases promptly and expeditiously under the time-honored precept that justice delayed is justice denied. Every judge should decide cases with dispatch and should be careful, punctual, and observant in the performance of his functions for delay in the disposition of cases erodes the faith and confidence of our people in the judiciary, lowers its standards and brings it into disrepute. Failure to decide a case within the reglementary period is not excusable and constitutes gross inefficiency warranting the imposition of administrative sanctions on the defaultingjudge.[1]

Here, there is no question as to the guilt of Judge Demot-Mariñas. As shown by the records, she has been remiss in the performance of her responsibilities. She failed to decide cases and resolve pending incidents within the reglementary period, without any authorized extension from this Court. Respondent judge failed to: (1) decide 150 cases submitted for decision [45 criminal cases and 105 civil case] which are beyond the period to decide, and to (2) resolve the pending motions/incidents in 17 cases [2 criminal cases and 15 civil cases].[2] Some of the cases were already submitted for decision since 2002, particularly Civil Case No. 2831 and Civil Case No. 2217.[3] More appalling is that she did not give any reason/explanation for her failure to comply with the reglementary period for deciding cases. There were, likewise, no previous requests by her for extension of time to decide said cases. Thus, in the instant case, Judge Demot-Mariñas' gross inefficiency is, therefore, evident in her undue delay deciding 150 cases within the reglementary period and her failure to resolve pending motions/incidents in 17 cases.

Article VIII, Section 15(l) of the 1987 Constitution provides that lower courts have three months within which to decide cases or resolve matters submitted to them for resolution. Moreover, Canon 3, Rule 3.05 of the Code of Judicial Conduct enjoins judges to dispose of their business promptly and decide cases within the required period. In addition, this Court laid down the guidelines in SC Administrative Circular No. 13[4] which provides, inter alia, that "[j]udges 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." The Court has reiterated this admonition in SC Administrative Circular No. 3-99[5] which requires all judges to scrupulously observe the periods prescribed in the Constitution for deciding cases and the failure to comply therewith is considered a serious violation of the constitutional right of the parties to speedy disposition of their cases.[6]

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. Respondent judge failed to live up to the exacting standards of duty and responsibility that her position required. As a trial judge, Judge Demot-Mariñas is a frontline official of the judiciary and should have at all times acted with efficiency and with probity.[7]

A.M. RTJ-16-2446

We likewise find similarly concerning is Judge Demot-Mariñas' indifference to the indorsements requiring her to comment on the accusations against her. In all three (3) indorsements issued by the OCA, as well as one (1) Letter from the Office of the Chief Justice, Judge Demot-Mariñas ignored the directives for her to file the required comment since no comment or compliance has been submitted despite several opportunities given to her which ran in a span of more than three (3) years. Also, as per verification by the OCA of the status of Special Proceedings No. 95-SP-0086, as of December 2015, Judge Demot-Mariñas has yet to decide the case which was already submitted for decision since May 12, 2003. It is then apparent that failure to comment despite several directives, as well as the failure to comply with the immediate resolution of Ms. Nugal-Koh's letter, show her propensity to disregard and disobey lawful orders of her superior.

We would like to further stress that all directives coming from the Court Administrator and his deputies are issued in the exercise of this Court's administrative supervision of trial courts and their personnel, hence, should be respected. These directives are not mere requests, but should be complied with promptly and completely. Clearly, Judge Demot-Mariñas' unexplained disregard of the orders of the OCA for her to comment on the complaint shows her disrespect for and contempt, not just for the OCA, but also for the Court, which exercises direct administrative supervision over trial court officers and employees through the OCA. Her indifference to, and disregard of, the directives issued to her clearly constituted insubordination which this Court will not tolerate.[8]

We cannot overemphasize that compliance with the rules, directives and circulars issued by the Court is one of the foremost duties that a judge accepts upon assumption to office. This duty is verbalized in Canon 1 of the New Code of Judicial Conduct:[9]
SECTION 7. Judges shall encourage and uphold safeguards for the discharge of judicial duties in order to maintain and enhance the institutional and operational independence of the Judiciary.

SECTION 8. Judges shall exhibit and promote high standards of judicial conduct in order to reinforce public confidence in the Judiciary, which is fundamental to the maintenance of judicial independence.
The obligation to uphold the dignity of her office and the institution which she belongs to is also found in Canon 2 of the Code of Judicial Conduct under Rule 2.01, which mandates a judge to behave at all times as to promote public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary.

Under the circumstances, We can thus conclude that the conduct exhibited by Judge Demot-Mariñas constitutes no less than clear acts of defiance against the Court's authority. Her conduct also reveals her deliberate disrespect and indifference to the authority of the Court, shown by her failure to heed our warnings and directives.

We cannot tolerate this type of behavior especially on a judge. Public confidence in the judiciary can only be achieved when the court personnel conduct themselves in a dignified manner befitting the public office they are holding. Judges should avoid conduct or any demeanor that may tarnish or diminish the authority of the Supreme Court.[10] Clearly, Judge Demot-Mariñas' attitude, as shown by her unexplained failure to decide 150 cases as well as motions and incidents, and her failure to respond to any of the court's directives despite several reminders, betray her lack of concern for her office. In sum, Judge Demot-Mariñas has been remiss in the performance of her official duties exacerbated by her audacious stance in defying this Court's orders. We cannot tolerate the attitude of respondent judge m defying this Court's authority and undermining its integrity.

Penalty

The rules and jurisprudence are clear on the matter of delay. 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.[11] Further, Judge Demot-Mariñas' deliberate and repeated failure to comply with the directives of the OCA constitutes Gross Misconduct which is a serious offense under Section 8,[12] Rule 140 of the Rules of Court.

In Re: Audit Report in Attendance of Court Personnel of RTC, Branch 32, Manila,[13] We held that it is gross misconduct, even outright disrespect for the Court, for respondent judge to exhibit indifference to the resolution requiring him to comment on the accusations in the complaint thoroughly and substantially. Such failure to comply accordingly betrays not only a recalcitrant streak in character, but also disrespect for the Court's lawful order and directive.

Likewise, in Alonto-Frayna v. Astih,[14] a judge who deliberately and continuously fails and refuses to comply with the resolution of this Court is guilty of gross misconduct and insubordination, and was dismissed from service.

Judging by the foregoing circumstances, the Court can only conclude that Judge Demot-Mariñas is guilty of gross inefficiency resulting in her unexplained failure to resolve pending cases and motions within the reglementary period despite several reminders and follow-ups, and gross misconduct for her non-compliance with the directives/orders of the OCA and this Court.

In this scenario, Section 17 of the Omnibus Rules implementing the Civil Service Law states that if the respondent judge is found guilty of two or more charges or counts, the penalty imposed should be that corresponding to the most serious charge or counts and the rest may be considered aggravating circumstances.[15] The most serious of the charges against respondent judge is her gross misconduct, and her gross inefficiency is considered an aggravating circumstance.

We would have imposed the penalty of dismissal from service on Judge Demot-Mariñas, however, considering that on December 10, 2015, she has filed her certificate of candidacy to run for public office, she is now deemed resigned from judicial office. Nevertheless, cessation from office by reason of resignation, death or retirement is not a ground to dismiss the case filed against her at the time that she was still in the public service.[16] Thus, in lieu of the penalty of dismissal for her unethical conduct and gross inefficiency in performing her duties as a member of the bench, We, however, impose instead the accessory penalty of forfeiture of all her retirement benefits, except accrued leave credits. Furthermore, she is barred from re-employment in any branch or service of the government, including government-owned and controlled corporations.

WHEREFORE, premises considered, Judge Marybelle L. Demot-Mariñas, former Presiding Judge of Branch 8, Regional Trial Court, La Trinidad, Benguet is found GUILTY of Gross Misconduct and Gross Inefficiency. Her retirement benefits, if any, are declared FORFEITED as penalty for her offenses, except accrued leave credits, in lieu of dismissal from service which the Court can no longer impose. She is likewise barred from re-employment in any branch or instrumentality of government, including government-owned or controlled corporations.

This Decision is immediately EXECUTORY.

SO ORDERED.

Sereno, C. J., Carpio, Velasco, Jr., Leonardo-De Castro, Peralta, Bersamin, Del Castillo, Mendoza, Reyes, Perlas-Bernabe, Leonen, Jardeleza, and Caguioa, JJ., concur.



NOTICE OF JUDGMENT

Sirs/Mesdames:

Please take notice that on March 7, 2017 a Decision/Resolution, copy attached herewith, was rendered by the Supreme Court in the above-entitled administrative matter, the original of which was received by this Office on May 8, 2017 at 10:43 a.m.


Very truly yours,



(SGD)

FELIPA G. BORLONGAN-ANAMA
 
Clerk of Court


[1] Re: Cases Submitted For Decision Before Hon. Teofilo D. Baluma, Former Judge, Branch 1, Regional Trial Court, Tagbilaran City, Bohol, 717 Phil. 11, 17 (2013).

[2] Rollo, pp. 56-70.

[3] See Memorandum for the Chief Justice from DCA Villanueva dated December 1, 2005, p. 143.

[4] Promulgated on July 1, 1987.

[5] Promulgated on January 15, 1999.

[6] Re: Cases Submitted For Decision Before Hon. Teofilo D. Baluma, Former Judge, Branch 1, Regional Trial Court, Tagbilaran City, Bohol, supra note 1, at 16-17.

[7] Angelia v. Judge Grageda, 656 Phil. 570, 573 (2011).

[8] Clemente v. Bautista, 710 Phil. 10, 16 (2013).

[9] Promulgated on April 27, 2004.

[10] See Tormis v. Paredes, A.M. No. RTJ-13-2366, February 4, 2015, 749 SCRA 505, 520.

[11] Rubin v. Judge Corpus-Cabochon, 715 Phil. 318, 334 (2013); OCA v. Judge Santos, 697 Phil. 292, 299 (2012); Re: Cases Submitted for Decision before Han. Meliton G. Emuslan, Former Judge, Regional Trial Court, Branch 47, Urdaneta City, Pangasinan, 630 Phil. 269, 272 (2010); Report on the Judicial Audit Conducted in the RTC, Branch 22, Kabacan, North Cotabato, 468 Phil. 338, 345 (2004).

[12] Rule 140, Section 8 of the Revised Rules of Court, and penalized under Rule 140, Section 11(a) of the same Rules by: 1) Dismissal from the service, forfeiture of all or part of the benefits as the Court may determine, and disqualification from reinstatement or appointment to any public office, including government-owned or controlled corporations. Provided, however, that the forfeiture of benefits shall in no case include accrued leave credits; 2) Suspension from office without salary and other benefits for more than three (3) but not exceeding six (6) months; or 3) A fine of more than P20,000.00 but not exceeding P40,000.00.

[13] 532 Phil. 51, 63-64 (2006).

[14] 360 Phil. 385 (1998).

[15] Dr. Hipe v. Judge Literato, 686 Phil. 723, 735 (2012).

[16] See OCA v. Grageda, 706 Phil. 15, 21 (2013).

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