SC slaps Quezon judge with P15,000 fine over case backlog
The Supreme Court (SC) has slapped Pitogo, Quezon, Municipal Trial Court (MTC) Judge Walter Inocencio Arreza with a P15,000 fine for gross inefficiency.
In a recent 7-page decision, the SC 1st Division said there was “no reason” for Arreza to fail to decide on 23 overdue cases as of August 2016 which were already submitted for decision, as he had a “manageable case load” of only 12 other cases undergoing trial.
The SC noted that Arreza was able to resolve the cases within 3 months after being ordered by Deputy Court Administrator Raul Villanueva in October 2016, showing he “has the capability but simply chose not to act on the subject cases.”
Arreza admitted to inefficiency but blamed his separation with his wife in 2010 and his stroke in 2012 for causing his performance to suffer.
But, the SC said these had happened years ago and the judge had “more than enough time to catch up before the conduct of the judicial audit in 2016.”
“Every judge should decide cases with dispatch and should be careful, punctual, and observant in the performance of his functions for delay in the disposition of cases erodes the faith and confidence of our people in the judiciary,” read the decision penned by Associate Justice Mariano del Castillo.