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Administrative Circular No.

10-94 requires all Courts to submit to the Supreme Court a bi-annual report indicating the title, date of filing, date of pre-trial in and arraignment, the date of initial trial, the date of last hearing and the date that the case is submitted for decision, and to post, in a conspicuous place within its premises, a monthly list of cases submitted for decision; HOWEVER the said admin order was not applicable to the Sandiganbayan The ibp in line with its duty to help the speedy disposition of the cases filed a resolution with the Board of Governors, recommending an inquiry into the causes of delays in the decision of cases pending before the Sandiganbayan was filed with the supreme court and recommending to the Supreme Court that Supreme Court Administrative Circular No. 10-94 be made applicable to the Sandiganbayan in regard cases over which the Sandiganbayan has original jurisdiction. indicating the ff: o Section 16, Article III of the Constitution guarantees that, [a]ll persons shall have the right to a speedy disposition of their cases before all judicial, quasi-judicial, or administrative bodies, o WHEREAS, Canon 12 of the Code of Professional Responsibility for Lawyers mandates that [a] lawyer shall exert every effort and co nsider it his duty to assist in the speedy and efficient administration of justice On August 8, 2000, the Court required Sandiganbayan Presiding Justice Francis E. Garchitorena to comment on the letter of the IBP and to submit a list of all Sandiganbayan cases pending its decision the Sandiganbayan has a total of four hundred fifteen (415) cases for decision remaining undecided long beyond the reglementary period to decide the IBP submitted its reply stating o there was much to be desired with regard to the expeditious disposition of cases, particularly in the Sandiganbayans First Division, where cases submitted for decision since 1990 remained unresolved. o Since the Sandiganbayan is a trial court, it is required to submit the same reports required of Regional Trial Courts. o Fourth, the Constitution[10]states that, all lower collegiate courts must decide or resolve cases or matters before it within twelve (12) months from date of submission; however, the Sandiganbayan, as a trial court, is required to resolve and decide cases within a reduced period of three (3) months like regional trial courts, or at the most, six (6) months from date of submission.[11] the Court Administrator submitted a memorandum to the Court [16] stating that the causes of delay in the disposition of cases before the Sandiganbayan are:[17] o (1) Failure of the Office of the Special Prosecutor to submit reinvestigation report despite the lapse of several years; o (2) Filing of numerous incidents such as Motion to Dismiss, Motion to Quash, Demurrer to Evidence, etc. that remain unresolved for years; o (3) Suspension of proceedings because of a pending petition for certiorari and prohibition with the Supreme Court; o (4) Cases remain unacted upon or have no further settings despite the lapse of considerable length of time; and o (5) Unloading of cases already submitted for decision even if the ponente is still in service.

We consider ex mero motu the Resolution of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) as an administrative complaint against Presiding Justice Francis E. Garchitorena for serious delays in the decision of cases and in the resolution of motions and other

pending incidents before the different divisions of the Sandiganbayan, amounting to incompetence, inefficiency, gross neglect of duty and misconduct in office.
ISSUES:

1) What is the reglementary period within which the Sandiganbayan must decide/resolve cases falling within its jurisdiction? (3) Is Supreme Court Administrative Circular No. 1094 applicable to the Sandiganbayan?[19] HELD: 1. Period To Decide/Resolve Cases.-Article VIII, Section 15 (1) and (2), of the 1987 Constitution provides:

"Sec. 15. (1) All cases or matters filed ..must be decided or resolved within twenty-four months from date of submission to the Supreme Court, and, unless reduced by the Supreme Court, twelve months for all lower collegiate courts, and three months for all other lower courts.

The above provision does not apply to the Sandiganbayan. The provision refers to regular courts [23] The Sandiganbayan is a special court Under Article VIII, Section 5 (5) of the Constitution Rules of procedure of special courts and quasi-judicial bodies shall remain effective unless disapproved by the Supreme Court. The law creating the Sandiganbayan, P.D. No. 1606[34] is clear on this issue.[35] It provides:

Sec. 6. Maximum period for termination of cases As far as practicable, the trial of cases before the Sandiganbayan once commenced shall be continuous until terminated and the judgment shall be rendered within three (3) months from the date the case was submitted for decision.

Sec. 3 Maximum Period to Decide Cases The judgment or final order of a division of the Sandiganbayan shall be rendered within three (3) months from the date the case was submitted for decision (underscoring ours).
a delay of three (3) years in deciding a single case is inexcusably long

On September 18, 1984, the Sandiganbayan promulgated its own rules,[36] thus:[37]

We find that Presiding Justice Francis E. Garchitorena failed to devise an efficient recording and filing system to enable him to monitor the flow of cases and to manage their speedy and timely disposition. This is his duty on which he failed.53 3. Applicability of SC Adm. Circular No. 10-94.-- Supreme Court Circular No. 10-94 applies to the Sandiganbayan.

Administrative Circular 10-9457 directs all trial judges to make a physical inventory of the cases in their dockets.

Given the rationale behind the Administrative Circular, we hold that it is applicable to the Sandiganbayan with respect to cases within its original and appellate jurisdiction.

Decision making is the primordial and most important duty of the member of the bench.60 Hence, judges are enjoined to decide cases with dispatch. Their failure to do so constitutes gross inefficiency 61 that warrants disciplinary sanction, including fine,62 suspension63 and even dismissal.64 The rule particularly applies to justices of the Sandiganbayan. Delays in the disposition of cases erode the faith and confidence of our people in the judiciary, lower its standards, and bring it into disrepute.65 Delays cannot be sanctioned or tolerated especially in the anti-graft court, the showcase of the nations determination to succeed in its war against graft
Due to a finding of lack of bad faith on the part of respondent justice, we issued only a warning. However, the dispositive portion of the decision cautioned respondent justice that a repetition of the same or similar act in the future shall be dealt with more severely
V

(1) To IMPOSE on Presiding Justice Francis E. Garchitorena a fine of twenty thousand pesos (P20,000.00), for inefficiency and gross neglect of duty. (2) RELIEVE Presiding Justice Francis E. Garchitorena of his powers, functions and duties as the Presiding Justice, Sandiganbayan, and from presiding over the trial of cases as a justice and Chairman, First Division, so that he may DEVOTE himself exclusively to DECISION WRITING, until the backlog of cases assigned to him as well as cases not assigned to any ponente, of which he shall be deemed the ponente in the First Division, are finally decided. There shall be no unloading of cases to other divisions, or to the First Division inter se. In the interim, Associate Justice Minita V. Chico-Nazario, as the most senior associate justice, shall TAKE OVER and exercise the powers, functions, and duties of the office of the Presiding Justice, Sandiganbayan, until further orders from this Court. (3) To DIRECT Presiding Justice Francis E. Garchitorena and the associate justices of the Sandiganbayan to decide/resolve the undecided cases submitted for decision as of this date, within three (3) months from their submission, and to resolve motions for new trial or reconsiderations and petitions for review within thirty (30) days from their submission. With respect to the backlog of cases, as hereinabove

WHEREFORE, in view of all the foregoing, the Court resolves:

enumerated, the Sandiganbayan shall decide/resolve all pending cases including incidents therein within six (6) months from notice of this resolution. (4) To ORDER the Sandiganbayan to comply with Supreme Court Administrative Circular 10-94, effective immediately. (5) To DIRECT the Sandiganbayan en banc to adopt not later than December 31, 2001 internal rules to govern the allotment of cases among the divisions, the rotation of justices among them and other matters leading to the internal operation of the court, and thereafter to submit the said internal rules to the Supreme Court for its approval.87

This directive is immediately executory. SO ORDERED.