SC forfeits benefits of retired judge, court staff for irregularities in annulment cases

MANILA, Philippines -- The Supreme Court forfeited all benefits, except accrued leave credits, of a retired judge for irregularities in decisions on annulment cases they handled. The high court also permanently disqualified from public office Pablo Chavez, who retired in 2009 as judge of Rosario, former of Batangas Regional Trial Court, Branch 87, his then clerk of court Teofilo Dimaculangan Jr., who has since resigned, and process server David Caguimbal, who retired in 2013. Chavez was found guilty of gross neglect of duty and undue delay in rendering decisions and his two staff of grave misconduct.

Meanwhile, court interpreters Editha Bagsic, who has also resigned, and Armando Ermelito Marquez were fined P5,000 for simple neglect of duty and fined P5,000 each with the latter warned of more severe consequences in case of a repetition of the same offense. The case stemmed from an anonymous letter accusing Chavez and his staff of mishandling annulment cases submitted to the Office of the Court Administrator as a judicial audit was being conducted in Chavez’s court ahead of his compulsory retirement. The audit team subsequently concluded that Chavez had displayed a “reckless and irresponsible attitude towards his duties. He utterly and glaringly lacked the necessary care and organization in handling and managing his court and personnel,” the tribunal said. It said Chavez’s “unexplained and unreasonable delay in deciding cases and resolving incidents and motions, and his failure to decide the remaining cases before his compulsory retirement constitute gross inefficiency which cannot be tolerated” and that his justifications were “not sufficient to absolve him of disciplinary action.”
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