• SC penalizes Davao judge for misconduct

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    THE Supreme Court (SC) has ordered a retired judge in Davao Oriental to pay the fine of P100,000 for administrative liability and after he was found guilty for gross inefficiency and serious misconduct in connection with his failure to resolve 12 cases on time.

    In a full court decision, the SC found Judge Justino Aventurado of Regional Trial Court, Branch 5 in Mati City, also guilty for gross violation of Administrative Circular No. 43-2004 (Adopting New Guidelines on the Filing of Applications for Optional Retirement).

    It ordered that the fines imposed on Aventurado shall be deducted from his retirement benefits.

    Court records showed that the first charge against Aventurado concerned his failure to resolve the 12 cases after his requests for extension were granted, but failed to decide on the cases before his bench by the time of his optional retirement.

    Meanwhile, the second charge related to his violation of the circular requiring, among others, that the judge applying for optional retirement should already cease working and discharging his functions as judge even “[i]f on the date specified in the application as the date of the effectivity of the [optional]retirement, [he]has not yet received any notice of approval or denial of his application.”

    The court stated, Aventurado signified the effectivity of his optional retirement to be January 30, 2009, although he subsequently requested an extension until February 20, 2009 to enable him to promulgate decisions he had supposedly prepared.

    In its verdict, the SC noted that despite not having decided on the 12 cases subject of his requests for extension of time to decide, Aventurado was able to decide other cases in disregard of the conditions defined by the circular.

    “The appearance of impropriety became more pronounced because he promulgated his acquittals and dismissals after the supposed effectivity of his optional retirement in violation of Administrative Circular No. 43-2004. He became unmindful of Canon 2 of the Code of Judicial Conduct, which demanded of him to avoid not only impropriety but also the mere appearance of impropriety in all activities.”

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