A JUDGE in Cebu was fined P100,000 for failing to render verdicts in 191 cases filed before his sala.
In a full court decision promulgated by Clerk of Court Enriqueta Vidal, the Supreme Court found Judge Benedicto Cobarde of the Regional Trial Court Branch 53 in Lapu-Lapu City guilty of undue delay in rendering the decisions in 73 criminal cases, 112 civil and special proceedings cases and six cadastral cases.
The High Court noted that it was not the first time that an administrative case of the same nature was filed against the judge.
Cobarde’s inaction on the cases was discovered when he requested for the issuance of a Certificate of Clearance, in support of his application for compulsory retirement benefits under Republic Act No. 910, effective December 20, 2010.
But Clerk of Court Andrea Maratas disclosed that as of August 31, 2011, the cases were submitted for decision before Cobarde and that these were already beyond the reglementary period to decide at the time of his retirement.
The Office of the Court Administrator (OCA) recommended the re-docketing of the matter as a regular administrative case and that a fine shall be imposed on Cobarde.
The SC ruled that the inability of Cobarde to perform his duties was manifested in his failure to decide cases within the mandatory three-month reglementary period without any valid excuse.
The SC said that Cobarde did not even seek for additional time to decide on the cases before the OCA.