What could have been done by respondent Judge Dating in less than an hour was apathetically delayed for six (6) long weeks.
Apropos his letter dated 17 March 2011 to then DCA Jesus Edwin Villasor and another letter addressed to then DCA Vilches expressing his supposed dilemma in the conduct of raffle of cases during his forfeitable leaves of absence and asking if the Vice-Executive Judge could conduct the same during such time, respondent Judge Dating seemed to flip-flop and contradict himself when he subsequently explained [in the instant matter] that during his absence, the Clerk of Court and the Vice-Executive Judge are fully knowledgeable of what to do pursuant to existing circulars and directives.
In order, however, not to disrupt the conduct of court proceedings, the imposition of a fine against respondent Judge Dating is appropriate under the circumstances.36 The Court hereby adopts the above well-reasoned OCA recommendation. 03-8-02-SC, Judge Dating is guilty of simple neglect of duty which is defined as the "failure to give attention to a task, or the disregard of a duty due to carelessness or indifference."37 Simple neglect of duty is listed as one of the less grave offenses punishable by suspension of one (1) month and one (1) day to six (6) months for the first offense, and dismissal from the service for the second offense under Rule IV, Section 52(B)(l) of the Uniform Rules on Administrative Cases in the Civil Service.38 In lieu of suspension, the Court agrees with the OCA recommendation for the imposition of a fine of Ten Thousand Pesos (₱l0,000.00). Dating GUILTY of simple neglect of duty and imposes upon him a FINE in the amount of Ten Thousand Pesos (₱l0,000.00), with a STERN WARNING that a repetition of the same or any similar infraction shall be dealt with more severely.
For failure to observe the procedure on the raffle of cases pursuant to A.
The Court has consistently held that mere delay in the performance of one's functions is considered as simple neglect of duty. CARPIOAssociate Justice Chairperson * On official leave.
Under Rule IV, Section 52 (B) of the Uniform Rules on Administrative Cases in the Civil Service, it is a less grave offense punishable by suspension without pay for one (1) month and one (1) day to six (6) months.
These vacillations do not augur well for respondent Judge Dating for they only serve to highlight either his inconsistency in making a sound justification for his inefficiency to supervise the conduct of raffle of cases, or his tendency to put the blame on the other members of the Raffle Committee. 03- 8-02-SC, specifically the provisions on the raffle of cases, this Office finds respondent Judge Dating guilty of simple neglect of duty.
x x x x For his failure to strictly adhere to the provisions of A. Simple neglect of duty signifies a disregard of a duty resulting from carelessness or indifference.
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Respondent Judge Dating averred that there was no urgency to conduct a raffle (as there was no case [presumably including the Special Civil Action No.
Dating, Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 41, Daet, Camarines Norte, for "abuse of authority, judicial oppression and unreasonable/malicious acts to delay raffle of cases," relative to Special Civil Action (SCA) No. Meanwhile, in a Manifestation on the Continuing Delay and Non-Raffle of the Case of Respondent Honorable Judge Arniel A. Ferrer, Jr., reiterated the allegations in the Administrative Complaint, and added that, as of that date, the subject case had not yet been re-raffled.22 Upon receipt of the above Manifestation, Judge Dating submitted a letter23 dated May 19, 2011 to DCA Vilches stating that the subject case was included in the raffle on April 28, 2011, but that the Raffle Committee unanimously decided to return the subject case to Branch 39 since the petitioners (i.e., Barcelona and Vargas) in the subject case had filed a motion for reconsideration of the order of inhibition issued by Judge Racoma.24 Moreover, in compliance with the above 1st Indorsement, Judge Dating submitted his Comment25 dated June 3, 2011 stating that the case raffle is conducted every Thursday.26 Judge Dating also stated therein that, while the records of the subject case were received by the Office of the Executive Judge on March 15, 2011 (Tuesday), no raffle was done on March 17, 2011 (Thursday), since there was no urgent case and the number of cases was not sufficient for a raffle.27 Judge Dating also alleged that the judges of RTC, Daet, Camarines Norte were scheduled to travel to Manila on that day, March 17, 2011 to attend the 1st General Assembly of Judges the following day.28 Judge Dating also stated that, in the morning of March 17, 2011, he even heard cases in Branch 40 (a Family Court), where he was a concurrent assisting judge, before he left for Manila in the afternoon of that day.29 Judge Dating also explained that he used his forfeitable leave credits on March 21-31, 2011.30 On April 7-9, 2011, he attended the IBP National Convention in Subic, Zambales and, on April 14-15, 2011, he attended the Land Valuation and Just Compensation Seminar sponsored by the Philippine Judicial Academy in Tagaytay City.31 He also denied that the delay was deliberate.32 In a Report33 dated March 4, 2016, the OCA recommended that the Administrative Complaint against Judge Dating be re-docketed as a regular administrative matter, and that he be found guilty of simple neglect of duty and fined in the amount of Ten Thousand Pesos (₱10,000.00) with a stem warning that a repetition of the same or any similar infraction would be dealt with more severely.34 After considering the allegations in the Administrative Complaint and Judge Dating's explanation, the OCA found as follows: This Office finds such explanation to be unacceptable. Clearly, if the supposed substantial number of cases to be raffled affects the conduct of raffle as what respondent Judge Dating is trying to impress upon us, it is more of the fact that the conduct of raffle of cases in a week could be done twice if necessary, but never to altogether dispense with the raffle.
Hence, he should have been prudent enough to find ways to minimize, if not totally avoid, delays in the raffle of cases.
This ideal condition of avoiding or minimizing delays in the raffle of cases all the more applies to respondent Judge Dating's situation in light of his admission that it is his "custom" to avail of his forfeitable leaves during the month of March.