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PADERRANGA, Respondent

Fact: The administrative case here was an offshoot of a civil case filed by Lorna Cabarrubias Bacalzo against the Roman Catholic Church asking for reconveyance of a 350 square meter land on the ground that it is nolonger being devoted for the purpose it was donated. Pursuant to the 1997 Rules of Procedure(Rule 16, Section 20 A), Judge MP referred the case for mediation to the Philippine MediationCenter (PMC) and ordered the parties to appear for mediation on November 4, 2005 at 2 p.m.On October 14, 2005 however, November 4, 2005 was declared a non-working holiday incelebration of the Feast of Ramadan. In view of this development, Bacalzo and her counse Cecilia Gabrinab Senarlo went tot he PMC on November 7, 2005 instead of November 4, 2005 and requested for a resetting on November 15, 2005. This request for resetting was not signed by the Archbishop as representative of the Church and his counsel. On the line allotted for their signatures was the phrase failed to appear.On November 8, 2005, the RTC already received the Mediators report stating that the parties failed to appear on November 4, 2005 and requesting assistance from the court to secure their appearance on November 21, 2005 for the mediation conference. The following day, November 9, 2005, Judge Maximo G.W. Paderanga issued an order dismissing Bacalzoss complaint for failure to obey the order of the Court and to appear on November 4, 2005 for mediation conference. Thus Bacalzo, through her granddaughter, Cecilia Gabrinab Senarlo, as Attorney-in Fact, filed an administrative complaint against Judge Paderranga for: (a) gross ignorance of the law and knowingly rendering an unjust judgment by issuing the Order of November 9, 2005 without regard to the fact tha tNovember 4, 2005, the first scheduled date of the mediation conference, was declared a holiday;and (b) grave abuse of authority for issuing said order in the absence of the corresponding mediators report. Issue: Whether or not the respondent is liable for grave abuse of authority and ignorance of the law in issuing the aforementioned order declaring the plaintiff non-suited and dismissing the case. Ruling The court ruled that to be liable for gross ignorance of the law, a judge must be shown, among others, to have ignored, contradicted or failed to apply settled law and jurisprudence. In this case, the Regional Trial Court (RTC) Judge MP is not found to be grossly ignorant of the law, but he is still sanctioned because of simple negligence amounting to misconduct Judge MP however maintained that his actions in said case were proper. He pointed out that when he set the conference on November 4, 2005, the latter date had not yet been declared a holiday. Being busy with daily court trials, he explained that he could not keep track of all events nor monitor in detail the developments of the cases he heard. Was Judge MP guilty of the charges? For the charge of gross ignorance of the law, he is not guilty. There was ostensible legal basis for him to dismiss an action for failure of the plaintiff to attend the mediation conference. Mediationis part of pre-trial, and failure to appear at the pre-trial shall be cause for dismissal of the action (Rule 18, Section 5, Rules of Court). However Judge MPs order of November 9, 2010 dismissing the case was improperly and prematurely issued. He failed to take into consideration that Bacalzo, the plaintiff could not have attended the conference on November 4, 2005 because said date has been declared a holiday pursuant to a presidential

proclamation which was totally outside Bacalzos control. When he issued aid order, he should have been already aware that November 4, was declared a holiday. It was a mere 5 days from November 4, 2005 so he could have forgotten so soon that November 4, 2005 was a holiday. He could also have easily inquired from the PMC or required them to explain the reason for the resetting. A heavy workload does not excuse him from ascertaining all pertinent facts that would enable him to justly resolve or decide a case. Evidently, Judge MP failed to exercise the necessary diligence before issuing the order of dismissal to the prejudice of Bacalzo, but he is guilty of simple negligence only not gross ignorance of the law which shall fall within the ambit of simple misconduct and definite rule of action relating with the performance of official functions. This is a less serious offense punishable by SUSPENSION of one to three months or a fine of P10,000.00 for simple misconduct.

LIGAYA MANIAGO, complainant vs. LOURDES I. DE DIOS, respondent

FACTS: Due to a prior administrative case, Respondent was penalized with a 6-month suspension beginning May 16, 2001. Complainant filed a criminal case against Miyata (a Japanse national). Respondent served as counsel for Miyata in said criminal case (as well as in other cases). Complainant averred that Respondent ought to be disbarred for her flagrant violation and deliberate disobedience of a lawful suspension order of the Supreme Court ISSUE: Whether or not the lifting of a lawyers suspension order is automatic upon the end of the period of suspension? RULING: Petittion DENIED. Respondent had served her prior 6-months suspension and resumed her law practice on November 17, 2001. A suspended lawyer must first present proof of his compliance by submitting certifications from the IBP and Executive Judge that he has indeed desisted from the practice of law during the period of suspension. Thereafter, the Court, after evaluation, and upon a favorable recommendation from the Office of the Bar Confidant will issue a resolution lifting the suspension order and allowing him to resume his practice. It was unfortunate that this procedure was overlooked with regards to suspension order in the prior administrative case against Respondent.