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658

SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED


Re: Problem of Delays in Cases Before the Sandiganbayan

FACTS:

In July 2000, the IBP Board of Governors submitted to the SC a resolution


asking for the Court to conduct an inquiry into the causes of delay in the
resolution of incidents and motions and in the decision of cases before the
Sandiganbayan. This resolution was prompted by numerous complaints from
IBP members about serious delays by the said trial court in their disposition
of cases.

In August 2000, the SC required Sandiganbayan PJ Garchitorena to comment


on the issue and submit a list of their pending matters.

In September 2000, the SC received Sandiganbayans compliance report


showing a total of 415 cases that have remained undecided long beyond the
reglementary period.

In November 2000, the SC directed Court Administrator Benipayo to conduct


a judicial audit of the Sandiganbayan.

In January 2001, OCA Benipayo submitted his report stating the various
reasons for the Sandiganbayans delays such as non-submission of
reinvestigation reports, filing of numerous motions, suspensions due to
certiorari and prohibitions, unloading of cases, and even plain neglect by the
trial court. On the basis of this report, OCA Benipayo considered ex mero
motu the IBP Resolution as an administrative complaint against PJ
Garchitorena for incompetence, inefficiency, gross neglect of duty and
misconduct in office.

ISSUE:

What is the reglementary period within which the Sandiganbayan must


decide/resolve cases falling within its jurisdiction?

HELD:

Article VIII, Section 15 (1) and (2), of the 1987 Constitution provides that all
cases or matters filed after the effectivity of this Constitution must be decided
or resolved within twenty-four months from date of submission to the Supreme

Court, and, unless reduced by the Supreme Court, twelve months for all
lower collegiate courts, and three months for all other lower courts; and that,
a case or matter shall be deemed submitted for decision or resolution
upon the filing of the last pleading, brief or memorandum required by the
Rules of Court or by the court itself.

On the other hand, the existing Rules of Procedure of the Sandiganbayan


under Section 3 states that the judgment or final order of a division of the
Sandiganbayan shall be rendered within three (3) months from the date the
case was submitted for decision.

The periods to decide cases as provided in the Constitution refers to regular


courts.

The Sandiganbayan, however, is a special court. It is of the same level as


the Court of Appeals and possessing all the inherent powers of a court of
justice, with functions of a trial court.

The Sandiganbayan was originally empowered to promulgate its own rules of


procedure. However, on March 30, 1995, Congress repealed the
Sandiganbayans power to promulgate its own rules of procedure, and instead
prescribed that the Rules of Court promulgated by the Supreme Court shall
apply to all cases and proceedings filed with the Sandiganbayan.

Thus, the SC held that to decide cases, the 3-month period (and not the 12month period), applies to the Sandiganbayan.

In Department of Agrarian Reform Adjudication Board (DARAB) v. Court of


Appeals, the Court faulted the DARAB for violating its own rules of
procedure. We reasoned that the DARAB does not have unfettered discretion
to suspend its own rules. We stated that the DARAB should have set the
example of observance of orderly procedure. Otherwise, it would render its
own Revised Rules of Procedure uncertain and whose permanence would be
dependent upon the instability of its own whims and caprices.

Similarly, in Cabagnot v. Comelec, this Court held that the Commission on


Elections ought to be the first one to observe its own Rules. Its departure
from its own rules constitutes arrogance of power tantamount to abuse.
Such inconsistency denigrates public trust in its objectivity and
dependability. The Court reminded the Comelec to be more judicious in its
actions and decisions and avoid imprudent volte-face moves that undermine
the publics faith and confidence in it.

The ratio decidendi in the aforecited cases applies mutatis mutandis (with
the necessary changes) to the Sandiganbayan. The Sandiganbayan ought
to be the first to observe its own rules. It cannot suspend its rules, or
except a case from its operation.

A.M. No. 00-8-05-SC. November 28, 2001.*

RE: PROBLEM OF DELAYS IN CASES BEFORE THE


SANDIGANBAYAN
Administrative Law; Judges; There are two views within what period to
decide/resolve cases.There are two views. The first view is that from the time a
case is submitted for decision or resolution, the Sandiganbayan
_______________
*

EN BANC.

VOL. 370, NOVEMBER 28, 2001

659

Re: Problem of Delays in Cases Before the Sandiganbayan


has twelve (12) months to decide or resolve it. The second view is that as a court
with trial function, the Sandiganbayan has three (3) months to decide the case from
the date of submission for decision.
Same; Same; Article VIII, Section 15(1) and (2) of the 1987 Constitution does not
apply to the Sandiganbayan for the said court is not a regular court but a special
one; Special courts are judicial tribunals exercising limited jurisdiction over
particular or specialized categories of actions.The above provision does not apply
to the Sandiganbayan. The provision refers to regular courts of lower collegiate level
that in the present hierarchy applies only to the Court of Appeals. The
Sandiganbayan is a special court of the same level as the Court of Appeals and
possessing all the inherent powers of a court of justice, with functions of a trial
court. Thus, the Sandiganbayan is not a regular court but a special one. The
Sandiganbayan was originally empowered to promulgate its own rules of procedure.
However, on March 30, 1995, Congress repealed the Sandiganbayans power to
promulgate its own rules of procedure and instead prescribed that the Rules of
Court promulgated by the Supreme Court shall apply to all cases and proceedings
filed with the Sandiganbayan. Special courts are judicial tribunals exercising
limited jurisdiction over particular or specialized categories of actions. They are the
Court of Tax Appeals, the Sandiganbayan, and the Sharia Courts.
Same; Same; The three (3) month period, not the twelve month period, to decide cases
applies to the Sandiganbayan.Given the clarity of the rule that does not
distinguish, we hold that the three (3) month period, not the twelve (12) month
period, to decide cases applies to the Sandiganbayan. Furthermore, the
Sandiganbayan presently sitting in five (5) divisions, functions as a trial court. The
term trial is used in its broad sense, meaning, it allows introduction of evidence by
the parties in the cases before it. The Sandiganbayan, in original cases within its
jurisdiction, conducts trials, has the discretion to weigh the evidence of the parties,
admit the evidence it regards as credible and reject that which they consider
perjurious or fabricated.

Same; Same; Supreme Court Circular No. 10-94 applies to the Sandiganbayan.
Supreme Court Circular No. 10-94 applies to the Sandiganbayan. Administrative
Circular 10-94 directs all trial judges to make a physical inventory of the cases in
their dockets.
Same; Same; Court urged the Sandiganbayan to promptly administer justice.In
Yuchengco v. Republic, we urged the Sandiganbayan to promptly administer justice.
We stated that the Sandiganbayan has the

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SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED


Re: Problem of Delays in Cases Before the Sandiganbayan

inherent power to amend and control its processes and orders to make them
conformable to law and justice. The Sandiganbayan as the nations anti-graft court
must be the first to avert opportunities for graft, uphold the right of all persons to a
speedy disposition of their cases and avert the precipitate loss of their rights.
Same; Same; Lack of transcript of stenographic notes shall not be a valid reason to
interrupt or suspend the period for deciding the case unless the case was previously
heard by another judge not the deciding judge in which case the latter shall have the
full period of ninety (90) days from the completion of the transcripts within which to
decide the same.The Constitution provides that a case shall be deemed submitted
for decision or resolution upon the filing of the last pleading, brief, or memorandum
required by the Rules of Court or by the court itself. In Administrative Circular No.
28, dated July 3, 1989, the Supreme Court provided that A case is considered
submitted for decision upon the admission of the evidence of the parties at the
termination of the trial. The ninety (90) days period for deciding the case shall
commence to run from submission of the case for decision without memoranda; in
case the court requires or allows its filing, the case shall be considered submitted for
decision upon the filing of the last memorandum or the expiration of the period to do
so, whichever is earlier. Lack of transcript of stenographic notes shall not be a valid
reason to interrupt or suspend the period for deciding the case unless the case was
previously heard by another judge not the deciding judge in which case the latter
shall have the full period of ninety (90) days from the completion of the transcripts
within which to decide the same. The designation of a ponente to a case is not a
difficult administrative task.
Same; Same; Unreasonable delay of a judge in resolving a case amounts to a denial
of justice bringing the Sandiganbayan into disrepute, eroding the public faith and
confidence in the judiciary.Administrative sanctions must be imposed. Mora
reprobatur in lege. Again, we reiterate the principle that decision-making is the
most important of all judicial functions and responsibilities. In this area, Presiding
Justice Francis E. Garchitorena, as the ponente assigned to the cases submitted for

decision/resolution long ago, some as far back as more than ten (10) years ago, has
been remiss constituting gross neglect of duty and inefficiency. As we said in
Canson, unreasonable delay of a judge in resolving a case amounts to a denial of
justice, bringing the Sandiganbayan into disrepute, eroding the public faith and
confidence in the judiciary.

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661

Re: Problem of Delays in Cases Before the Sandiganbayan


DE LEON, J., Concurring and Dissenting opinion:
Administrative Law; Judges; Supreme Court in Administrative Circular No. 10-94
has not reduced the 12-month period mentioned in the above-quoted constitutional
provision insofar as the Sandiganbayan, a collegiate court, is concerned.The
Supreme Court in Administrative Circular No. 10-94 has not reduced the 12-month
period mentioned in the above-quoted constitutional provision insofar as the
Sandiganbayan, a collegiate court, is concerned. It is basic that in case of conflict
between a constitutional provision on one hand and a statute or an internal rule of
procedure of a court on the other, the former, being a part of the fundamental law of
the land, must prevail. Also, pursuant to Section 4 of Republic Act No. 8245
(approved on February 5, 1997) the Sandiganbayan has also exclusive appellate
jurisdiction over final judgments, resolutions or orders of the regional trial courts
whether in the exercise of their original jurisdiction or of their appellate jurisdiction
as herein provided.
ADMINISTRATIVE MATTER in the Supreme Court. Delays in Resolving Cases at
Sandiganbayan.
The facts are stated in the resolution of the Court.

RESOLUTION
PARDO, J.:

The Case
Submitted to the Court for consideration is a resolution of the Board of Governors,
Integrated Bar of the Philippines (hereafter, the IBP) recommending an inquiry into
the causes of delays in the resolution of incidents and motions and in the decision of
cases pending before the Sandiganbayan.

The Antecedents
On July 31, 2000, the IBP, through its National President, Arthur D. Lim,
transmitted to the Court a Resolution1 addressing the
_______________
Dated July 29, 2000, done in Los Baos, Laguna. Signed by Arthur D. Lim
(National President), and the following Governors: Carmencito P. Caingat (Central
Luzon), Jose P. Icaonapo, Jr. (Greater Manila), Teresita Infatado-Gines (Southern
Luzon), Serafin P. Rivera (Bicolandia), Celestino
1

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SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED


Re: Problem of Delays in Cases Before the Sandiganbayan

problem of delays in cases pending before the Sandiganbayan (hereafter, the


Resolution).2 We quote the Resolution in full:3
WHEREAS, Section 16, Article III of the Constitution guarantees that, [a]ll
persons shall have the right to a speedy disposition of their cases before all judicial,
quasi-judicial, or administrative bodies;
WHEREAS, Canon 12 of the Code of Professional Responsibility for Lawyers
mandates that [a] lawyer shall exert every effort and consider it his duty to assist
in the speedy and efficient administration of justice;
WHEREAS, it is the duty of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines to undertake
measures to assist in the speedy disposition of cases pending before the various
courts and tribunals;
WHEREAS, the Integrated Bar of the Philippines has received numerous
complaints from its members about serious delays in the decision of cases and in the
resolution of motions and other pending incidents before the different divisions of
the Sandiganbayan;
WHEREAS, Supreme Court Administrative Circular No. 10-94 requires all
Regional Trial Courts, Metropolitan Trial Courts, Municipal Trial Courts and

Municipal Circuit Trial Courts to submit to the Supreme Court a bi-annual report
indicating the title of the case, its date of filing, the date of pre-trial in civil cases
and arraignment in criminal cases, the date of initial trial, the date of last hearing
and the date that the case is submitted for decision, and to post, in a conspicuous
place within its premises, a monthly list of cases submitted for decision;
WHEREAS, Supreme Court Administrative Circular No. 10-94 has not been made
applicable to the Sandiganbayan;
WHEREAS, considering that the Sandiganbayan is also a trial court, the
requirements imposed upon trial courts by Supreme Court Administrative Circular
No. 10-94 should also be imposed upon the Sandiganbayan;
NOW, THEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the Board of Governors of the
Integrated Bar of the Philippines hereby resolves as follows:
_______________
B. Sabate (Eastern Visayas), David A. Ponce de Leon (Western Visayas), Paulino R.
Ersando (Western Mindanao). The following did not take any part in the Resolution:
Teofilo S. Pilando, Jr. (Executive Vice President) was on study leave, and Nicanor A.
Magno (Governor for Eastern Mindanao) was on sick leave.
2

Rollo, p. 2.

Rollo, pp. 3-4.


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663

Re: Problem of Delays in Cases Before the Sandiganbayan


1. 1. To recommend to the Supreme Court that Supreme Court
Administrative Circular No. 10-94 be made applicable to the
Sandiganbayan in regard cases over which the Sandiganbayan has
original jurisdiction; and
2. 2. To recommend to the Supreme Court an inquiry into the causes of
delay in the resolution of incidents and motions and in the decision of

cases before the Sandiganbayan for the purpose of enacting measures


intended at avoiding such delays.
Done in Los Baos, Laguna, this 29th day of July, 2000.
On August 8, 2000, the Court required Sandiganbayan Presiding Justice Francis E.
Garchitorena to comment on the letter of the IBP and to submit a list of all
Sandiganbayan cases pending decision, or with motion for reconsideration pending
resolution, indicating the dates they were deemed submitted for decision or
resolution.4
On September 27, 2000, complying with the order, Presiding Justice Francis E.
Garchitorena submitted a report5 (hereafter, the compliance) admitting a number of
cases submitted for decision and motion for reconsideration pending resolution
before its divisions. We quote:
Cases Submitted
For Decision

W/ Motions For
Reconsideration

1st Division

341

None

2nd Division

None

3rd Division

12

None

4th Division

None

5th Division

52

Total

4156

Thus, the Sandiganbayan has a total of four hundred fifteen (415) cases for decision
remaining undecided long beyond the reglementary period to decide, with one case
submitted as early as

_______________
4

Rollo, p. 5.

Dated September 26, 2000, Rollo, pp. 6-18.

Rollo, p. 6.

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SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED


Re: Problem of Delays in Cases Before the Sandiganbayan

May 24, 1990,7 and motion for reconsideration which has remained unresolved over
thirty days from submission.8
On October 20, 2000, Sandiganbayan Presiding Justice Francis E. Garchitorena
submitted a schedule of cases submitted for decision, the schedule indicating the
number of detained prisoners, of which there are (were) none.9
On October 26, 2000, the IBP submitted its reply to the compliance stating: First,
that it was not in a position to comment on the accuracy of the compliance;
nonetheless, it showed that there was much to be desired with regard to the
expeditious disposition of cases, particularly in the Sandiganbayans First Division,
where cases submitted for decision since 1990 remained unresolved. Second, the
compliance did not include pending motions, and it is a fact that motions not
resolved over a long period of time would suspend and delay the disposition of a
case. Third, since the Sandiganbayan is a trial court, it is required to submit the
same reports required of Regional Trial Courts. Fourth, the Constitution10 states
that, all lower collegiate courts must decide or resolve cases or matters before it
within twelve (12) months from date of submission; however, the Sandiganbayan,
as a trial court, is required to resolve and decide cases within a reduced period of
three (3) months like regional trial courts, or at the most, six (6) months from date
of submission.11 On November 21, 2000, the Court resolved to direct then Court
Administrator Alfredo L. Benipayo (hereafter, the OCA) to conduct a judicial audit
of the Sandiganbayan, especially on the cases subject of this administrative matter,
and to submit a report thereon not later than 31 December 2000. 12
On December 4, 2000, in a letter addressed to the Chief Justice, Presiding Justice
Francis E. Garchitorena admitted that the First
_______________
7

As of September 15, 2000, Rollo, pp. 17-18.

Resolution of the Court En Banc dated October 10, 2000, Rollo, pp. 19-20.

Rollo, pp. 30-43.

10

Article VIII, Section 15(1), Constitution.

11

Reply, Rollo, pp. 45-46.

12

Rollo, p. 52.

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Re: Problem of Delays in Cases Before the Sandiganbayan


Division of the Sandiganbayan13 has a backlog of cases; that one case14 alone made
the backlog of the First Division so large, involving 156 cases but the same has been
set for promulgation of decision on December 8, 2000, which would reduce the
backlog by at least fifty percent (50%).15
On January 26, 2001, the Court Administrator submitted a memorandum to the
Court16 stating that the causes of delay in the disposition of cases before the
Sandiganbayan are:17
1. (1) Failure of the Office of the Special Prosecutor to submit
reinvestigation report despite the lapse of several years;
2. (2) Filing of numerous incidents such as Motion to Dismiss, Motion to
Quash, Demurrer to Evidence, etc. that remain unresolved for years;
3. (3) Suspension of proceedings because of a pending petition for
certiorari and prohibition with the Supreme Court;
4. (4) Cases remain unacted upon or have no further settings despite the
lapse of considerable length of time; and
5. (5) Unloading of cases already submitted for decision even if the
ponente is still in service.
We consider ex mero motu the Resolution of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines
(IBP) as an administrative complaint against Presiding Justice Francis E.
Garchitorena for serious delays in the decision of cases and in the resolution of
motions and other pend_______________

First Division composed of Francis E. Garchitorena (Presiding Justice and


Chairman); Catalino R. Castaeda, Jr. (Associate Justice) and Gregory S. Ong
(Associate Justice).
13

Criminal Cases Nos. 9812-9967, People v. Corazon Gammad-Leao, involving 156


cases.
14

15

Rollo, p. 56.

Rollo, pp. 61-101. The memorandum was a report on the judicial audit and
physical inventory of pending cases before the five (5) Divisions of the
Sandiganbayan conducted by the Court Administrators Judicial Audit Team. The
team was composed of Court Administrator Alfredo L. Benipayo, together with
Consultants Narciso T. Atienza, Conrado M. Molina, Romulo S. Quimbo, Pedro A.
Ramirez, and staff. The report was prepared from December 11 to 19, 2000.
16

17

Rollo, pp. 61-104, at p. 100.

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SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED


Re: Problem of Delays in Cases Before the Sandiganbayan

ing incidents before the different divisions of the Sandiganbayan, amounting to


incompetence, inefficiency, gross neglect of duty and misconduct in office.
We find no need to conduct a formal investigation of the charges in view of the
admission of Justice Francis E. Garchitorena in his compliance of October 20, 2000,
that there are indeed hundreds of cases pending decision beyond the reglementary
period of ninety (90) days from their submission. In one case, he not only admitted
the delay in deciding the case but took sole responsibility for such inaction for more
than ten (10) years that constrained this Court to grant mandamus to dismiss the
case against an accused to give substance and meaning to his constitutional right to
speedy trial.18

The Issues
The issues presented are the following: (1) What is the reglementary period within
which the Sandiganbayan must decide/resolve cases falling within its jurisdiction?
(2) Are there cases submitted for decision remaining undecided by the
Sandiganbayan or any of its divisions beyond the aforestated reglementary period?
(3) Is Supreme Court Administrative Circular No. 1094 applicable to the
Sandiganbayan?19

The Courts Ruling


We resolve the issues presented in seriatim.
1. Period To Decide/Resolve Cases.There are two views. The first view is that from
the time a case is submitted for decision or resolution, the Sandiganbayan has
twelve (12) months to decide or resolve it.20 The second view is that as a court with
trial function, the Sandiganbayan has three (3) months to decide the case from the
date of submission for decision.21

_______________
18

Licaros v. Sandiganbayan, G.R. No. 145851, November 22, 2001, 370 SCRA 394.

Memorandum to Chief Justice Davide dated January 26, 2001, Rollo, pp. 61-101,
at p. 101.
19

20

Pursuant to Section 15(1) Article VIII, 1987 Constitution.

Section 6, P.D. No. 1606, as amended; Section 3, Rule XVIII of the Revised Rules of
the Sandiganbayan.
21

VOL. 370, NOVEMBER 28, 2001

667

Re: Problem of Delays in Cases Before the Sandiganbayan


Article VIII, Section 15 (1) and (2), of the 1987 Constitution provides:
Sec. 15. (1) All cases or matters filed after the effectivity of this Constitution must
be decided or resolved within twenty-four months from date of submission to the
Supreme Court, and, unless reduced by the Supreme Court, twelve months for all
lower collegiate courts, and three months for all other lower courts.
(2) A case or matter shall be deemed submitted for decision or resolution upon the
filing of the last pleading, brief or memorandum required by the Rules of Court or
by the court itself.22
The above provision does not apply to the Sandiganbayan. The provision refers to
regular courts of lower collegiate level that in the present hierarchy applies only to
the Court of Appeals.23
The Sandiganbayan is a special court of the same level as the Court of Appeals and
possessing all the inherent powers of a court of justice,24 with functions of a trial
court.25
Thus, the Sandiganbayan is not a regular court but a special one. 26 The
Sandiganbayan was originally empowered to promulgate its own rules of
procedure.27 However, on March 30, 1995, Congress repealed the Sandiganbayans
power to promulgate its own rules of procedure28 and instead prescribed that the
Rules of Court promul_______________
22

Cited in Montes v. Bugtas, A.M. No. RTJ-01-1627, April 17, 2001, 356 SCRA 539.

23

See 2000 Annual Report of the Supreme Court, pp. 7-8.

R.A. No. 8249 (An Act Further Defining the Jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan)
classifies the Sandiganbayan as [A] special court, of the same level as the Court of
24

Appeals and possessing all the inherent powers of a court of justice . . . x x x


(Section 1).
R.A. No. 8249, Section 2, empowers the Sandiganbayan to hold sessions x x x for
the trial and determination of cases filed with it.
25

26

R.A. No. 8249, Section 1.

27

P.D. No. 1606, Section 9, as amended.

R.A. No. 7975, Section 4, except to adopt internal rules governing the allotment of
cases among the divisions, the rotation of justices among them and other matters
relating to the internal operations of the court which shall be enforced until
repealed or modified by the Supreme Court.
28

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Re: Problem of Delays in Cases Before the Sandiganbayan

gated by the Supreme Court shall apply to all cases and proceedings filed with the
Sandiganbayan.29
Special courts are judicial tribunals exercising limited jurisdiction over particular
or specialized categories of actions. They are the Court of Tax Appeals, the
Sandiganbayan, and the Sharia Courts.30
Under Article VIII, Section 5 (5) of the Constitution Rules of procedure of special
courts and quasi-judicial bodies shall remain effective unless disapproved by the
Supreme Court.
In his report, the Court Administrator would distinguish between cases which the
Sandiganbayan has cognizance of in its original jurisdiction,31 and cases which fall
within the appellate jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan. 32 The Court Administrator
posits that since in the first class of cases, the Sandiganbayan acts more as a trial
court, then for that classification of cases, the three (3) month reglementary period

applies. For the second class of cases, the Sandiganbayan has the twelve-month
reglementary period for collegiate courts.33 We do not agree.
The law creating the Sandiganbayan, P.D. No. 160634 is clear on this issue.35 It
provides:
Sec. 6. Maximum period for termination of casesAs far as practicable, the trial of
cases before the Sandiganbayan once commenced shall be continuous until
terminated and the judgment shall be rendered within three (3) months from the
date the case was submitted for decision.
_______________
29

Ibid.

30

Supra, Note 23, at p. 8.

31

Enumerated under Section 4 of R.A. No. 8249.

Under R.A. No. 8249, Section 4, The Sandiganbayan shall exercise exclusive
appellate jurisdiction over final judgments, resolutions or orders of regional trial
courts whether in the exercise of their own original jurisdiction or of their appellate
jurisdiction as herein provided.
32

Memorandum of the Office of the Court Administrator, Rollo, pp. 137-147, at p.


147.
33

Revising Presidential Decree No. 1486, creating a special court to be known as the
Sandiganbayan.
34

R.A. No. 8249 is silent on this matter. Amendments are to be construed as if they
are included in the original act (Camacho v. CIR, 80 Phil. 848 [1948]).
35

VOL. 370, NOVEMBER 28, 2001


Re: Problem of Delays in Cases Before the Sandiganbayan
On September 18, 1984, the Sandiganbayan promulgated its own rules, 36 thus:37

669

Sec. 3. Maximum Period to Decide CasesThe judgment or final order of a division


of the Sandiganbayan shall be rendered within three (3) months from the date the
case was submitted for decision (italics ours).
Given the clarity of the rule that does not distinguish, we hold that the three (3)
month period, not the twelve (12) month period, to decide cases applies to the
Sandiganbayan. Furthermore, the Sandiganbayan presently sitting in five (5)
divisions,38 functions as a trial court. The term trial is used in its broad sense,
meaning, it allows introduction of evidence by the parties in the cases before it. 39 The
Sandiganbayan, in original cases within its jurisdiction, conducts trials, has the
discretion to weigh the evidence of the parties, admit the evidence it regards as
credible and reject that which they consider perjurious or fabricated.40

Compliance with its Own Rules


In Department of Agrarian Reform Adjudication Board (DARAB) v. Court of
Appeals,41 the Court faulted the DARAB for violating its own rules of procedure. We
reasoned that the DARAB does not have unfettered discretion to suspend its own
rules. We stated that the DARAB should have set the example of observance of
orderly procedure. Otherwise, it would render its own Revised Rules of Procedure
uncertain and whose permanence would be dependent upon the instability of its
own whims and caprices.
_______________
P.D. No. 1606, Section 9, provides, The Sandiganbayan shall have the power to
promulgate its own rules of procedure and, pending such promulgation, the Rules of
Court shall govern its proceedings. However, R.A. No. 7975, Sec. 4, repealed this
provision, approved March 30, 1995, effective May 6, 1995.
36

37

Rule XVIII, Section 3, The Sandiganbayan, Revised Rules of Procedure.

38

R.A. No. 7975, Section 1.

39

Cario v. Ofilada, 217 SCRA 206 (1993).

Dacumos v. Sandiganbayan, 195 SCRA 833 (1991), discussing the power of a trial
court.
40

41

334 Phil. 369, 386; 266 SCRA 404 (1997).

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Re: Problem of Delays in Cases Before the Sandiganbayan

Similarly, in Cabagnot v. Comelec,42 this Court held that the Commission on


Elections ought to be the first one to observe its own Rules. Its departure from its
own rules constitutes arrogance of power tantamount to abuse. Such inconsistency
denigrates public trust in its objectivity and dependability. The Court reminded the
Comelec to be more judicious in its actions and decisions and avoid imprudent volteface moves that undermine the publics faith and confidence in it.
The ratio decidendi in the afore-cited cases applies mutatis mutandis to the
Sandiganbayan. The Sandiganbayan ought to be the first to observe its own rules. It
cannot suspend its rules, or except a case from its operation.
2. Undecided Cases Beyond the Reglementary Period.We find that the
Sandiganbayan has several cases undecided beyond the reglementary period set by
the statutes and its own rules, some as long as more than ten (10) years ago.
According to the compliance submitted by the Sandiganbayan, three hundred and
forty-one (341) cases were submitted for decision but were undecided as of
September 15, 2000. A number of the cases were submitted for decision as far back
as more than ten (10) years ago. As of September 15, 2000, the following cases43 had
not been decided:44
First Division
Case Title

Case No.

Date Submitted for

(1) People v. Paares

12127

May 24, 1990

(2) People v. Gabriel Duero

11999

December 11, 1990

(3) People v. Rhiza Monterozo

133533

December 14, 1990

Case Title

Case No.

Date Submitted for

(4) People v. Zenon R. Perez

13353

January 7, 1991

(5) People v. Bernardo B. Dayao, Jr.

12305-12306

February 7, 1991

(6) People v. Melquiades Ribo

13521

May 7, 1991

(7) People v. Carlos Benitez

12102

June 19, 1991

_______________
42

329 Phil. 300, 309-310; 260 SCRA 503 (1996).

All pending before the Sandiganbayans First Division, of which Presiding Justice
Francis E. Garchitorena is the Chairman.
43

44

Compliance, Rollo, pp. 7-18.

VOL. 370, NOVEMBER 28, 2001

671

Re: Problem of Delays in Cases Before the Sandiganbayan


(8) People v. Salvador P. Nopre, et al.

11156-11160

August 9, 1991

(9) People v. Delfina A. Letegio

12289

August 28, 1991

(10) People v. Rodolfo A. Lasquite

13618

August 28, 1991

(11) People v. Potenciana Evangelista

13679-13680 September 3, 1991

(12) People v. Ramon N. Guico, Jr. et al.

16516

December 2, 1991

(13) People v. Ruperto N. Solares

16239

January 10, 1992

(14) People v. Socorro Alto

13708

March 9, 1992

(15) People v. Tomas Baguio

130151

March 11, 1992

(16) People v. Felipa D. de Veyra

13672

April 13, 1992

(17) People v. Felicidad Tabang

12139

July 23, 1992

(18) People v. Jose S. Buguia

14227

September 9, 1992

(19) People v. Eleno T. Regidor, et al.

13689-13695 January 6, 1993

(20) People v. Serafin Unilongo

14411

February 2, 1993

(21) People v. Manuel Parale, et al.

15168

June 21, 1993

(22) People v. Robert P. Wa-acon

14375

June 21, 1993

(23) People v. Linda J. Necessito

13668

July 13, 1993

(24) People v. Simon Flores

16946

August 4, 1993

(25) People v. Alejandro F. Buccat

14986

August 31, 1993

(26) People v. Irma Collera Monge

15301

March 9, 1994

(27) People v. Melencio F. Ilajas

9977

May 10, 1994

(28) People v. Buenaventura Q. Sindac, et al.

13747-13748 August 19, 1994

(29) People v. Jesus A. Bravo

17514

August 24, 1994

(30) People v. Raul S. Tello

15006

November 15, 1994

(31) People v. Celso N. Jacinto

14975

January 10, 1995

(32) People v. Mayor Antonio Abad Santos, et al.

17670

January 24, 1995

(33) People v. Lamberto R. Te

20588

February 14, 1995

(34) People v. Ale Francisco

21020

July 18, 1995

(35) People v. Dir. Felix R. Gonzales, et al.

13563

July 25, 1995

(36) People v. Mayor Adelina Gabatan, et al.

14324

January 3, 1996

(37) People v. Victoria Posadas Adona

17202

January 4, 1996

672

SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED


Re: Problem of Delays in Cases Before the Sandiganbayan

(38) People v. Roberto Estanislao Chang, et al.

16854

January 22, 1996

(39) People v. Godofredo Yambao, et al.

16927-16928

March 13, 1996

(40) People v. Honesto G. Encina

13171

April 26, 1996

(41) People v. Pablito Rodriguez

13971

May 10, 1996

(42) People v. Leandro A. Suller

17759

June 28, 1996

(43) People v. Trinidad M. Valdez

16695

August 26, 1996

(44) People v. Vivencio B. Patagoc

19651

January 27, 1997

(45) People v. Engr. Antonio B. Laguador

14195

March 31, 1997

(46) People v. Paterno C. Belcia, Jr.

16583-16585

March 31, 1997

(47) People v. SPO3 Serafin V. Reyes

21608

March 31, 1997

(48) People v. Mayor Samuel F. Bueser, et al.

22195-22196

March 31, 1997

(49) People v. Romeo C. Monteclaro

14223

May 6, 1997

(50) People v. Rodolfo E. Aguinaldo

20948-20949

October 17, 1997

(51) People v. Aniceto M. Sobrepea

23324

October 27, 1997

(52) People v. Marietta T. Caugma, et al.

17001

November 26, 1997

(53) People v. Mayor Meliton Geronimo, et al.

19708

February 23, 1998

(54) People v. Fernando Miguel, et al.

17600

April 7, 1998

(55) People v. Rogelio A. Aniversario

17601

April 7, 1998

(56) People v. Corazon Gammad Leao

9812-9967

May 8, 1998

(57) People v. Teresita S. Lazaro

17901

June 8, 1998

(58) People v. Brig. Gen. Raymundo Jarque, et


al.

20688

October 19, 1998

(59) People v. Pros. Filotea Estorninos

23509

October 19, 1998

(60) People v. Orlando Mina

19534-19545

October 20, 1998

(61) People v. Vice Gov. Milagros A. Balgos

23042

October 20, 1998

VOL. 370, NOVEMBER 28, 2001

673

Re: Problem of Delays in Cases Before the Sandiganbayan


(62) People v. Ceferino Paredes, Jr., et al.

18857

November 17, 1998

(63) People v. Brig. Gen. Raymundo Jarque, et al.

18696

January 15, 1999

(64) People v. Mayor Agustin R. Escao, Jr.

23336

January 15, 1999

(65) People v. Mayor Edgar V. Teves, et al.

23374

January 15, 1999

(66) People v. C/Supt. Alfonso T. Clemente, et al.

22832

January 29, 1999

(67) People v. Dominica Santos

19059-19063 February 18, 1999

(68) People v. Edith G. Tico

23273

April 20, 1999

(69) People v. Sec. Hilarion J. Ramiro, et al.

23511

August 6, 1999

(70) People v. Timoteo A. Garcia, et al.

24042-24098 August 6, 1999

(71) People v. Mayor Jeceju L. Manaay

24402

August 6, 1999

(72) People v. Dir. Rosalinda Majarais, et al.

24355

August 18, 1999

(73) People v. Victor S. Limlingan

24281

August 13, 1999

(74) People v. Nestor S. Castillo, et al.

24631

August 31, 1999

(75) People v. Apolinar Candelaria

22145

September 6, 1999

(76) People v. Bernardo Billote Resoso

19773-19779 October 11, 1999

(77) People v. Atty. Alfredo Fordan Rellora, et al.

24433-24434 October 11, 1999

(78) People v. Faustino Balacuit

98

(79) People v. Mayor Bernardino Alcaria, Jr., et al.

23418-23423 January 6, 2000

(80) People v. Joel R. Lachica, et al.

24319-24329 January 6, 2000

(81) People v. Jose Micabalo, et al.

24531-24534 April 27, 2000

(82) People v. Mayor Eduardo Alarilla

23069

May 29, 2000

(83) People v. Pros. Nilo M. Sarsaba, et al.

23323

May 29, 2000

(84) People v. Philip G. Zamora

24150

May 29, 2000

December 22, 1999

674

SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED


Re: Problem of Delays in Cases Before the Sandiganbayan
Second Division**
Case Title

Case No.

Date Submitted for Decision

(1) People v. Marcelino Cordova, et al.

18435

August 11, 2000

(2) People v. Benjamin T. Damian

22858

August 11, 2000

(3) People v. Lino L. Labis, et al.

22398

July 18, 2000

(4) People v. Alfredo Sarmiento, et al.

24407-24408

August 11, 2000

Third Division***
Case Title

Case No.

Date Submitted for Decision

(1) People v. Sergia Zoleta

A/R#016

November 16, 1999

(2) People v. Manuel Solon Y Tenchaves

A/R#029

December 9, 1999

(3) People v. Eliseo L. Ruiz

13861-13863 April 6, 2000

(4) People v. Manuel R. Galvez, et al.

13889

September 30, 1999

(5) People v. Tolentino Mendoza, et al.

16756

August 28, 1999

(6) People v. Rodrigo Villas

19563

April 6, 2000

Case Title

Case No.

Date Submitted for Decision

(7) People v. Ernesto Vargas

19574

April 6, 2000

(8) People v. Ernesto, Vargas, et al.

20053

April 6, 2000

(9) People v. Marcelo T. Abrenica, et al.

23522

July 6, 2000

(10) People v. Florencio Garay, et al.

25657

May 5, 2000

_______________
Second Division composed of Edilberto G. Sandoval (Associate Justice and
Chairman); Godofredo L. Legaspi (Associate Justice) and Raul V. Victorino
(Associate Justice).
**

Third Division composed of Anacleto D. Badoy, Jr. (Associate Justice and


Chairman); Teresita Leonardo-De Castro (Associate Justice) and Ricardo M. Ilarde
(Associate Justice, Retired November 27, 2001).
***

VOL. 370, NOVEMBER 28, 2001

675

Re: Problem of Delays in Cases Before the Sandiganbayan


Fourth Division****
Case Title

Case No.

Date Submitted for Decision

(1) People v. Jaime Alos, et al.

17664

August 31, 1999

(2) People v. Antonio R. De Vera

23366

November 26, 1999

(3) People v. Aurora Mantele

24841-42

May 9, 2000

(4) People v. Olegario Clarin, Jr., et al.

25198

July 12, 2000

Fifth Division*****
Case Title

Case No.

Date Submitted for Decision

(1) People v. Nestor A. Pablo

13344

January 16, 1998

(2) People v. Hernand D. Dabalus, et al.

14397

January 13, 1999

(3) People v. Eduardo Pilapil

16672

March 23, 2000

(4) People v. P/Sgt. Nazario Marifosque

17030

April 16, 1998

(5) People v. Ignacio B. Bueno

17055

September 12, 1995

(6) People v. Corazon G. Garlit

17072

March 31, 1997

Case Title

Case No.

Date Submitted for Decision

(7) People v. Mayor Rufo Pabelonia, et al.

17538

November 14, 1995

(8) People v. Enrique B. Lenon, et al.

17617

March 13, 1996

(9) People v. Constancio Bonite, et al.

17618-17619 May 1, 1995

(10) People v. Jesus Villanueva

17884

January 9, 1996

(11) People v. Ricardo T. Liwanag, et al.

18008

March 9, 1998

(12) People v. Ma. Lourdes L. Falcon

18036

January 18, 1995

(13) People v. Luis D. Montero, et al.

18684

July 24, 1998

_______________
Fourth Division composed of Narciso S. Nario (Associate Justice and Chairman);
Rodolfo G. Palattao (Associate Justice) and Nicodemo T. Ferrer (Associate Justice).
****

Fifth Division composed of Minita V. Chico-Nazario (Associate Justice and


Chairman); Ma. Cristina G. Cortez-Estrada (Associate Justice) and Francisco H.
Villaruz, Jr. (Associate Justice).
*****

676

SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED


Re: Problem of Delays in Cases Before the Sandiganbayan

(14) People v. Roel D. Morales

18699

December 22, 1995

(15) People v. Diosdado T. Gulle

18759

October 18, 1995

(16) People v. Benjamin Sapitula, et al.

18785

August 31, 1995

(17) People v. Danilo R. Santos, et al.

18932

November 4, 1997

(18) People v. Pat. Danilo Maraon

19039

May 24, 1995

(19) People v. Romeo Cabando, et al.

19378-19379

May 27, 1996

(20) People v. SPO2 Rodolfo Burbos

19593

July 6, 1998

(21) People v. Guillermo M. Viray, et al.

19614

August 31, 1998

(22) People v. Mayor Bonifacio Balahay

20427

November 5, 1999

(23) People v. Enrique Sy, et al.

20487

December 17, 1998

(24) People v. PO2 Manuel L. Bien

20648-20649

March 31, 1998

(25) People v. Felipe L. Laodenio

23066

September 28, 1999

(26) People v. Mayor Walfrido A. Siasico

23427

January 16, 1998

The Sandiganbayan is a special court created in an effort to maintain honesty and


efficiency in the bureaucracy, weed out misfits and undesirables in the government
and eventually stamp out graft and corruption. 45 We have held consistently that a
delay of three (3) years in deciding a single case is inexcusably long.46 We can not
accept the excuses of Presiding Justice Sandiganbayan Francis E. Garchitorena that
the court was reorganized in 1997; that the new justices had to undergo an
orientation and that the Sandiganbayan relocated to its present premises which
required
_______________
45

2000 Annual Report of the Supreme Court of the Philippines, Annex H, p. 258.

Dealing with a single delay in the municipal circuit trial court, Re: Report on the
Judicial Audit Conducted in the Municipal Circuit Trial Court, Dingle-Duenas,
Iloilo, 345 Phil. 884; 280 SCRA 637 (1997).
46

VOL. 370, NOVEMBER 28, 2001

677

Re: Problem of Delays in Cases Before the Sandiganbayan


the packing and crating of records; and that some boxes were still unopened. 47
We likewise find unacceptable Presiding Justice Garchitorenas excuse that one case
alone48 comprises more than fifty percent (50%) of the First Divisions backlog and
that the same has been set for promulgation on December 8, 2000. 49 As we said, a
delay in a single case cannot be tolerated, para muestra, basta un boton. (for an
example, one button suffices). It is admitted that there are several other cases
submitted for decision as far back as ten (10) years ago that have remained
undecided by the First Division, of which Justice Garchitorena is presiding justice
and chairman. Indeed, there is even one case, which is a simple motion to withdraw
the information filed by the prosecutor. This has remained unresolved for more than
seven (7) years (since 1994).50 The compliance submitted by the Sandiganbayan
presiding justice incriminates him. The memorandum submitted by the Court
Administrator likewise testifies to the unacceptable situation in the Sandiganbayan.
Indeed, there is a disparity in the reports submitted by the Sandiganbayan
presiding justice and the OCA. According to the Court Administrator, the cases
submitted for decision that were still pending promulgation51 before the five
divisions of the Sandiganbayan are:52
_______________
47

See Comment of Presiding Justice, G.R. No. 145851, Licaros v. Sandiganbayan.

Criminal Cases Nos. 9812-9967, People v. Corazon Gammad-Leao, involving 156


cases.
48

49

Rollo, p. 56.

See Semestral Inventory of Pending Cases, for the period January to July, 2001,
Sandiganbayan, First Division, dated August 24, 2001, submitted to the Office of the
Court Administrator by Estella Teresita C. Rosete, Executive Clerk of Court, First
Division, Sandiganbayan.
50

51

As of December 21, 2000.

52

Memorandum for Chief Justice Hilario G. Davide, Jr., Rollo, pp. 61-104.

678

SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED


Re: Problem of Delays in Cases Before the Sandiganbayan
First Division
Case Number

DateSubmitted

Case Number

Date Submitted

1. 11156

8/9/91

39. 14375

5/22/95

2. 11157

8/9/91

40. 14411

1/24/93

3. 11158

8/9/91

41. 14975

9/29/94

4. 11159

8/9/91

42. 14986

12/11/92

5. 11160

8/9/91

43. 15006

11/19/94

6. 11999

12/10/90

44. 15168

3/25/93

7. 12102

7/1/91

45. 15301

3/16/94

8. 12127

2/12/90

46. 16239

12/26/91

9. 12139

6/10/92

47. 16516

11/19/91

10. 12289

8/28/91

48. 16583

8/13/96

11. 12305

2/7/91

49. 16584

8/13/96

Case Number

DateSubmitted

Case Number

Date Submitted

12. 12306

2/7/91

50. 16585

8/13/96

13. 13015

3/2/92

51. 16695

8/15/96

14. 13171

11/16/95

52. 16854

1/15/96

15. 13353

10/6/90

53. 16927

12/17/95

16. 13521

12/12/99

54. 16928

2/17/95

17. 13563

7/4/95

55. 16946

8/4/93

18. 13618

7/14/91

56. 17001

9/4/97

19. 13668

6/13/93

57. 17278

5/2/94

20. 13672

3/5/92

58. 17447

9/6/94

21. 13679

8/6/91

59. 17448

9/6/94

22. 13680

8/6/91

60. 17514

8/19/94

23. 13689

11/14/92

61. 17600

8/30/97

24. 13690

11/14/92

62. 17601

8/30/97

25. 13691

11/14/92

63. 17670

11/25/94

Case Number

DateSubmitted

Case Number

Date Submitted

26. 13692

11/14/92

64. 17759

6/25/96

27. 13693

11/14/92

65. 17901

5/28/98

28. 13694

11/14/9

66. 18283

2/21/95

29. 13695

11/14/92

67. 18696

8/9/98

30. 13708

3/9/92

68. 18857

10/21/98

31. 13747

8/19/94

69. 19059

2/11/99

32. 13748

8/19/94

70. 19060

2/11/99

33. 13971

3/12/95

71. 19061

2/11/99

34. 14223

3/7/97

72. 19062

2/11/99

35. 14227

9/5/92

73. 19063

2/11/99

36. 14230

11/30/90

74. 19534

9/2/98

37. 14287

7/3/94

75. 19535

9/2/98

38. 14324

11/5/95

76. 19651

11/15/96

VOL. 370, NOVEMBER 28, 2001

679

Re: Problem of Delays in Cases Before the Sandiganbayan


77. 19708

8/25/98

117. 24049

4/28/99

78. 19773

5/21/99

118. 24050

4/28/99

79. 19774

5/21/99

119. 24051

4/28/99

80. 19775

5/21/99

120. 24052

4/28/99

81. 19976

5/21/99

121. 24053

4/28/99

82. 19977

5/21/99

122. 24054

4/28/99

83. 19978

5/21/99

123. 24055

4/28/99

84. 19979

5/21/99

124. 24056

4/28/99

85. 20588

2/14/95

125. 24057

4/28/99

86. 20688

7/9/98

126. 24058

4/28/99

87. 20948

10/9/97

127. 24059

4/28/99

88. 20949

10/9/97

128. 24060

4/28/99

89. 21020

7/4/95

129. 24061

4/28/99

90. 22145

7/7/99

130. 24062

4/28/99

91. 22195

6/14/96

131. 24063

4/28/99

92. 22196

6/14/96

132. 24064

4/28/99

93. 22832

10/21/98

133. 24065

4/28/99

94. 23042

8/27/98

134. 24066

4/28/99

95. 23146

11/13/00

135. 24067

4/28/99

96. 23273

4/19/99

136. 24068

4/28/99

97. 23323

3/23/00

137. 24069

4/28/99

98. 23324

8/3/97

138. 24070

4/28/99

99. 23336

9/4/97

139. 24071

4/28/99

100. 23374

12/17/98

140. 24072

4/28/99

101. 23418

10/15/99

141. 24073

4/28/99

102. 23419

10/15/99

142. 24074

4/28/99

103. 23420

10/15/99

143. 24075

4/28/99

104. 23421

10/15/99

144. 24076

4/28/99

105. 23422

10/15/99

145. 24077

4/28/99

106. 23423

10/15/99

146. 24078

4/28/99

107. 23509

9/5/98

147. 24079

4/28/99

108. 23511

4/23/99

148. 24080

4/28/99

109. 23540

10/15/99

149. 24081

4/28/99

110. 24042

4/28/99

150. 24082

4/28/99

111. 24043

4/28/99

151. 24083

4/28/99

112. 24044

4/28/99

152. 24084

4/28/99

113. 24045

4/28/99

153. 24085

4/28/99

114. 24046

4/28/99

154. 24086

4/28/99

115. 24047

4/28/99

155. 24087

4/28/99

116. 24048

4/28/99

156. 24088

4/28/99

680

SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED


Re: Problem of Delays in Cases Before the Sandiganbayan

157. 24089

4/28/99

177. 24325

11/4/99

158. 24090

4/28/99

178. 24326

11/4/99

159. 24091

4/28/99

179. 24327

11/4/99

160. 24092

4/28/99

180. 24328

11/4/99

161. 24093

4/28/99

181. 24329

11/4/99

162. 24094

4/28/99

182. 24339

10/20/00

163. 24095

4/28/99

183. 24355

2/18/99

164. 24096

4/28/99

184. 24395

7/13/99

165. 24097

4/28/99

185. 24402

6/17/99

166. 24098

4/28/99

186. 24433

9/6/99

167. 24150

1/31/00

187. 24434

9/6/99

168. 24236

2/14/00

188. 24531

12/16/99

169. 24237

2/14/00

189. 24532

12/16/99

170. 24281

5/9/99

190. 24533

12/16/99

171. 24319

11/4/99

191. 24534

12/16/99

172. 24320

11/4/99

192. 24631%

8/9/99

173. 24321

11/4/99

193. 24768

7/8/00

174. 24322

11/4/99

194. 6672

7/11/90

175. 24323

11/4/99

195. 9977

5/10/94

176. 24324

11/4/99

Civil Case
1. 0112

1/11/92

2. 0116

10/16/91

3. 0156

3/14/97
Second Division
Case No.

Date Submitted

Criminal Case
1. 19542

4/16/99

2. 19004

9/10/96

3. 22934

10/14/00

4. 20483

8/28/96

Case No.

Date Submitted

5. 20484

8/28/96

6. 23529

10/23/00

7. 23530

10/23/00

8. 23338

12/2/99

9. 18786

11/28/00

10. 19686

07/2/97

VOL. 370, NOVEMBER 28, 2001

681

Re: Problem of Delays in Cases Before the Sandiganbayan


11. 184403

12/4/98

12. 184404

12/4/98

13. 184405

12/4/98

14. 184406

12/4/98

15. 184407

12/4/98

16. 184408

12/4/98

17. 184409

12/4/98

18. 184410

12/4/98

19. 184411

12/4/98

0. 184412

12/4/98

1. 184413

12/4/98

2. 184414

12/4/98

3. 184415

12/4/98

4. 184416

12/4/98

5. 184417

12/4/98

6. 13827

8/30/00

7. 13828

8/30/00

8. 13829

8/30/00

9. 13830

8/30/00

0. 13831

8/30/00

1. 13832

8/30/00

2. 18965

11/30/00

3. 19848

3/28/96

4. 20765

8/30/96

5. 20816

3/11/98

6. 19692

8/27/00

7. 19693

8/27/00

8. 19694

8/27/00

9. 19695

8/27/00

0. 19696

8/27/00

1. 19697

8/27/00

2. 19698

8/27/00

3. 19699

8/27/00

4. 19700

8/27/00

5. 19701

8/27/00

6. 19702

8/27/00

7. 19703

8/27/00

8. 19704

8/27/00

9. 19705

8/27/00

0. 19706

8/27/00

682

SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED


Re: Problem of Delays in Cases Before the Sandiganbayan

51. 19707

8/27/00

52. 23262

10/11/00

53. AR#035

12/9/00

54. 24994

8/17/00

55. 21097

12/13/00

56. 20660

12/20/00

57. 23111

11/27/00

58. 24407

7/27/00

59. 24408

7/27/00

60. 18435

3/21/00

61. 22858

8/4/00

62. 22976

5/4/99

Civil Case
1. 0171

7/10/00
Third Division

Case Number

Date Submitted

1. SCA/0 05

12/18/00

2. A/R 016

8/5/99

3. A/R 029

10/2/00

4. 487

4/8/98

5. 488

4/8/98

6. 489

4/8/98

7. 490

4/8/98

8. 491

4/8/98

9. 11794

6/10/00

10. 13861

4/6/00

11. 13862

4/6/00

12. 13863

4/6/00

13. 13889

3/25/99

14. 16756

8/25/99

Case Number

Date Submitted

15. 17532

12/11/00

16. 18867

10/5/00

17. 18868

10/5/00

18. 18869

10/5/00

19. 18870

10/5/00

20. 18871

10/5/00

21. 18872

10/5/00

22. 19182

4/6/00

23. 19563

4/6/00

VOL. 370, NOVEMBER 28, 2001

683

Re: Problem of Delays in Cases Before the Sandiganbayan


24. 19574

4/6/00

25. 19622

4/6/00

26. 19623

4/6/00

27. 19624

4/6/00

28. 20053

4/6/00

29. 20054

4/6/00

30. 20271

12/18/00

31. 22143

12/18/00

32. 23014

9/23/00

33. 23522

7/6/00

34. 23699

3/22/00

35. 23700

3/22/00

36. 23701

3/22/00

37. 23802

9/10/00

38. 23803

9/10/00

39. 24153

12/18/00

40. 24697

9/10/00

41. 24698

9/10/00

42. 24741

12/7/00

43. 24779

10/28/00

44. 24780

10/28/00

45. 24781

10/28/00

46. 25657

5/5/00
Fourth Division

Case No.

Date Submitted

1. 11960

09/21/98

2. 17664

01/29/98

3. 13036

02/22/29

4. 13037

02/22/99

5. 13593

05/21/96

6. 13594

05/21/96

7. 13757

03/21/97

Case No.

Date Submitted

8. 14380

02/14/95

9. 16809

03/26/00

10. 17015

06/06/94

11. 17016

06/06/94

12. 17140

06/13/96

13. 17141

06/13/96

684

SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED


Re: Problem of Delays in Cases Before the Sandiganbayan

14. 17209

12/27/96

15. 17805

02/15/00

16. 17806

02/15/00

17. 17809

02/15/00

18. 17856

04/02/00

19. 18005

05/07/96

20. 18006

05/07/96

21. 18257

09/22/97

22. 18894

11/17/00

23. 18895

11/17/00

24. 18896

11/17/00

25. 18900

10/28/00

26. 18935

06/16/00

27. 18936

06/16/00

28. 18937

06/16/00

29. 19567

05/21/96

30. 20338

05/19/97

31. 20469

07/07/00

32. 20470

07/07/00

33. 20471

07/07/00

34. 20472

07/07/00

35. 20473

07/07/00

36. 20474

07/07/00

37. 20475

07/07/00

38. 20476

07/07/00

39. 20664

06/29/96

40. 20685

02/18/00

41. 20828

09/13/00

42. 21093

08/07/99

43. 21131

08/04/96

44. 21778

09/29/97

45. 21779

09/29/97

46. 21780

09/29/97

47. 22891

03/02/00

48. 22892

03/02/00

49. 23007

05/24/99

50. 23058

04/27/00

51. 23059

04/27/00

VOL. 370, NOVEMBER 28, 2001

685

Re: Problem of Delays in Cases Before the Sandiganbayan


52. 23060

04/27/00

53. 23061

04/27/00

54. 23062

04/27/00

55. 23366

03/28/99

56. 23415

05/25/00

57. 23534

12/15/00

58. 23708

09/27/00

59. 24447

09/18/00

60. 24448

09/18/00

61. 24464

07/26/00

62. 24465

07/26/00

63. 24742

10/10/00

64. 24841

03/22/00

65. 24842

03/22/00

66. 24851

10/29/00

67. 25198

05/31/00

68. 25389

09/26/00

69. 25543

12/27/00

70. 25658

07/28/00
Fifth Division

Case Number

Date Submitted

Criminal Cases
1. 14397

1/4/99

2. 16672

2/13/00

3. 17030

2/19/98

4. 17826

12/9/00

5. 17827

12/9/00

6. 18478

8/21/00

Case Number

Date Submitted

Criminal Cases
7. 18684

5/29/98

8. 18880

12/6/00

9. 19510

12/4/00

10. 19511

12/4/00

11. 19512

12/4/00

12. 19593

6/5/98

13. 19614

7/31/98

14. 19668

7/26/98

15. 20194

1/8/01

686

SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED


Re: Problem of Delays in Cases Before the Sandiganbayan

16. 20427

11/3/99

17. 20648

1/4/98

18. 20649

1/4/98

19. 20694

3/11/98

20. 21882

8/12/00

21. 22184

12/16/00

22. 22873

12/4/99

23. 22926

11/13/00

24. 23066

8/16/99

25. 23319

9/30/00

26. 23450

9/16/00

27. 23515

1/29/00

28. 24155

11/30/00

29. 24379

8/27/00

30. 24759

5/5/00

31. 24858

12/28/00

We find that Presiding Justice Francis E. Garchitorena failed to devise an efficient


recording and filing system to enable him to monitor the flow of cases and to
manage their speedy and timely disposition. This is his duty on which he failed. 53

Memorandum of the Court Administrator


On November 14, 2001, the Court required the Office of the Court Administrator 54 to
update its report.55
On November 16, 2001, OCA Consultant Pedro A. Ramirez (Justice, Court of
Appeals, Retired) submitted a compliance report with the Courts order. The
compliance report shows that to this day, several cases that were reported pending
by the Sandiganbayan on September 26, 2000, and likewise reported undecided by
_______________
Cf. Re: Request of Judge Masamayor, RTC-Br. 52, Talibon, Bohol, For Extension of
Time to Decide Civil Case No. 0020 and Criminal Case No. 98-384, 316 SCRA 219
(1999); Bernardo v. Fabros, 366 Phil. 485; 307 SCRA 28 (1999).
53

In a Memorandum signed by Chief Justice Hilario G. Davide, Jr. addressed to


Justice (Ret.) Pedro A. Ramirez, OCA Consultant.
54

55

Rollo, pp. 489-498.


VOL. 370, NOVEMBER 28, 2001
Re: Problem of Delays in Cases Before the Sandiganbayan

687

the OCA on January 26, 2001, have not been decided/resolved. We quote the
compliance report:56
First Division
Case Number DateSubmitted PonenteAssigned

Reason for Not


Deciding Case

194. 11999

12/10/90

Garchitorena

Under study, submitted before the reorganization

195. 12102

7/1/91

Garchitorena

Under study, submitted before the reorganization

196. 12127

2/12/90

Not reported; unaccounted for by Sandiganbayan report

197. 12139

6/10/92

Castaneda******

Under study, submitted before the reorganization

198. 12289

8/28/91

Castaneda

Under study, submitted before the reorganization

199. 12305-062/7/91

Castaneda

Under study, submitted before the reorganization

200. 13015

3/2/92

Garchitorena

Under study, submitted before the reorganization

201. 13171

11/16/95

Castaneda

Under study, submitted before the reorganization

202. 13353

10/6/90

Garchitorena

Under study, submitted before the reorganization

203. 13521

12/12/99

Garchitorena

Under study, submitted before the reorganization

204. 13563

7/4/95

Garchitorena

Under study, submitted before the reorganization

205. 13618

7/14/91

Castaneda

Under study, submitted before the reorganization

Case Number DateSubmitted PonenteAssigned

Reason for Not


Deciding Case

206. 13668

6/13/93

Castaneda

Under study, submitted before the reorganization

207. 13672

3/5/92

Castaneda

Under study, submitted before the reorganization

208. 13679-808/6/91

Castaneda

Under study, submitted before the reorganization

_______________
56

Compliance Report of Justice Ramirez, Rollo, pp. 341-354, at pp. 342-348.

Justice Catalino R. Castaeda, Jr. joined the Sandiganbayan on September 24,


1997.
******

688

SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED


Re: Problem of Delays in Cases Before the Sandiganbayan

209. 13689- 11/14/92Castaneda


95

Under study, submitted before the reorganization

210. 13708 3/9/92

Castaneda

Under study, submitted before the reorganization

211. 13747- 8/19/94 Castaneda


48

Under study, submitted before the reorganization

212. 13971 3/12/95 Castaneda

Under study, submitted before the reorganization

213. 14223 3/7/97

Death of accused is unconfirmed and dismissal of the case was held in


abeyance, (Ong, J.)*******

214. 14227 9/5/92

Castaneda

Under study, submitted before the reorganization

215. 14230 1/30/90 Castaneda

Under study, submitted before the reorganization

216. 14287 7/3/94

Castaneda

Under study, submitted before the reorganization

217. 14324 11/5/95 Castaneda

Under study, submitted before the reorganization

218. 14375 5/22/95 Castaneda

Under study, submitted before he reorganization

219. 14411 1/24/93 Garchitorena

Under study, submitted before he reorganization

220. 14975 9/29/94 Castaneda

Under study, submitted before the reorganization

221. 14986 12/11/92Castaneda

Jnder study, submitted before the reorganization

222. 15006 11/19/94Castaneda

Under study, submitted before the reorganization

223. 15168 3/25/93 Castaneda

Under study, submitted before the reorganization

224. 15301 3/16/94 Castaneda

Under study, submitted before the reorganization

225. 16239 12/26/91Castaneda

Under study, submitted before the reorganization

226. 16516 11/19/91Castaneda

Under study, submitted before the reorganization

227. 16583- 8/13/96 Castaneda


85

Under study, submitted before the reorganization

_______________
*******

Justice Gregory S. Ong was appointed to the Sandiganbayan on October 5, 1998.

VOL. 370, NOVEMBER 28, 2001

689

Re: Problem of Delays in Cases Before the Sandiganbayan


228. 16695 8/15/96 Castaneda

Under study, submitted before the reorganization

229. 16854 1/15/96 Castaneda

Under study, submitted before the reorganization

230. 16927- 12/17/9 Castaneda


28
5

Under study, submitted before the reorganization

231. 16946 8/4/93 Castaneda

Under study, submitted before the reorganization

232. 17001 9/4/97 Not yet assigned


233. 17278 5/2/94 Death of accused is unconfirmed and dismissal of the case was held in
abeyance. (Ong, J.)
234. 17600 8/30/97 Not yet assigned
235. 17601 8/30/97 Not yet assigned
236. 17759 6/25/96 Ong
237. 17901 5/28/98 Not yet assigned
238. 18696 8/9/98 Not yet assigned
239. 18857 10/21/9 Not yet assigned
8

Decided and set for promulgation

240. 19059- 2/11/99 Not yet assigned


63
241. 19534- 9/2/98 Not yet assigned
35
242. 19708 8/25/98 Not yet assigned
243. 19773- 5/21/99 Not yet assigned
79
244. 20688 7/9/98 Not yet assigned
245. 20948 10/9/97 Not reported; unaccounted for by Sandiganbayan report
246. 20949 10/9/97 Not reported; unaccounted for by Sandiganbayan report
247. 21020 7/4/95 Ong

Set for Promulgation on November 27, 2001

248. 22145 7/7/99 Not yet assigned


249. 22195- 6/14/96 Castaneda
96
250. 22832 10/21/9 Not yet assigned
8
251. 23042 8/27/98 Not yet assigned
252. 23146 11/13/00Not yet assigned

Under study, submitted before the reorganization

253. 23273 4/19/99 Not yet assigned


254. 23323 3/23/00 Not yet assigned
255. 23324 8/3/97 Not yet assigned
256. 23336 9/4/97 Not yet assigned
257. 23374 12/17/9 Not yet assigned
8
258. 23418- 10/15/9 Not yet assigned
23
9

690

SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED


Re: Problem of Delays in Cases Before the Sandiganbayan

259. 23509

9/5/98

Not yet assigned

260. 23511

4/23/99 Not yet assigned

261. 23540

10/15/99 Not yet assigned

262. 24042-98 4/28/99 Ong


263. 24150

Set for Promulgation on November 27, 2001

1/31/00 Not yet assigned

264. 24236-37 2/14/00 Not yet assigned


265. 24281

5/9/99

Not yet assigned

266. 24319-29 1 1/4/99 Not yet assigned


267. 24339

10/20/00 Not reported; unaccounted for by Sandiganbayan report

268. 24355

2/18/99 Not yet assigned

269. 24395

7/13/99 Not reported; unaccounted for by Sandiganbayan report

270. 24402

6/17/99 Not yet assigned

271. 24433-34 9/6/99

Not yet assigned

272. 24531-34 12/16/99 Not yet assigned


273. 24631

8/9/99

Mot yet assigned

274. 24768

7/8/00

Not yet assigned

275. 6672

7/11/90 Garchitorena

Under study, submitted before the reorganization

276. 9977

5/10/94 Garchitorena

Under study, submitted before the reorganization

277. 0112

1/11/92 Not reported; unaccounted for by Sandiganbayan report

278. 0116

10/16/91 Not reported; unaccounted for by Sandiganbayan report

279. 0156

3/14/97 Not reported; unaccounted for by Sandiganbayan report

Summary/Tally
Cases Assigned to Garchitorena, PJ.
Cases Assigned to Castaneda, J.
Cases Assigned to Ong, J.
Cases not yet assigned
Cases not accounted for or reported
Total

9
42
5
73
9
138

VOL. 370, NOVEMBER 28, 2001

691

Re: Problem of Delays in Cases Before the Sandiganbayan


Second Division
Case Number

Date Submitted

Ponente Assigned

Reason for Not Deciding Case

63. 19542

4/16/99

For retaking of testimony due to incomplete TSN

64. 13827-32

8/30/00

Victorino

65. 18965

11/30/00

For retaking of testimony due to incomplete TSN

For promulgation

Third Division
Case
Number

Date
Submitted

Ponente Assigned

47.
SCA/005

12/18/00

Ilarde

48. A/R
029

10/2/00

Illarde

49. 487491

4/8/98

With pending demurrer to evidence, submitted, 01/26/01 re Submitted,


03/20/01

50. 11794 6/10/00

De Castro

51. 17532 12/11/00

Ilarde

Reason for Not Deciding Case

Case
Number

Date
Submitted

Ponente Assigned

Reason for Not Deciding Case

52. 18867- 10/5/00


72

Pending trial per order dated 08/1 7/00

53. 19182 4/6/00

Unloaded to the 5th Division, 10/13/97

54. 19563 4/6/00

No Assignment

55. 19574 4/6/00

No Assignment

56. 19622- 4/6/00


24

Unloaded to the 5th Division, 10/13/97

57. 20053- 4/6/00


54

Not with the 3rd Division

58. 20271 12/18/00

Illarde

59. 22143 12/18/00

De Castro

60. 23014 9/23/00

De Castro

61. 23699- 3/22/00


701

Ilarde

62. 23802- 9/10/00


03

No Assignment

63. 24153 12/18/00

No Assignment

Case
Number

Date
Submitted

Ponente Assigned

Reason for Not Deciding Case

64. 24697- 9/10/00


98

Ilarde

65. 24741 12/7/00

De Castro

66. 24779- 10/28/00


81

No Assignment

67. 25657 5/5/00

With Defense pending motion for the reexamination of the Information


and the parties affidavits, etc. Order dated 08/31/01

692

--

SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED


Re: Problem of Delays in Cases Before the Sandiganbayan

Summary/Tally
Cases Assigned to Illarde, J.

Cases Assigned to De Castro, J.

Cases not yet assigned

Others

18

Total

39

Fourth Division********
Case
Date
Number Submitted

Ponente
Assigned

Reason for Not


Deciding Case

71. 1196009/21/98

Draft of decision penned by J. Nario in view of the dissenting opinion of


one Justice was referred to a Division of five (5) composed of Nario,
Palattao, Ferrer, Badoy, Jr. and De Castro, JJ.

72.
16809

Palattao

--

73.
04/27/00
23058-62

Nario

--

74.
25389

Nario

--

03/26/00

09/26/00

Fifth Division
Case Number

Date Submitted

Ponente Assigned

Reason for Not


Deciding Case

32. 14397

1/4/99

Badoy, Jr.

Inherited case/lack of personnel

33. 16672

2/13/00

Badoy, Jr.

Inherited case/lack of personnel

34. 17030

2/19/98

Badoy, Jr.

Inherited case/lack of personnel

35. 18478

8/21/00

Estrada

Inherited case/lack of personnel

Case Number

Date Submitted

Ponente Assigned

Reason for Not


Deciding Case

36. 18684

5/29/98

Badoy, Jr.

Inherited case/lack of personnel

37. 18880

12/6/00

Badoy, Jr.

Inherited case/lack of personnel

38. 19510-12

12/4/00

Estrada

Inherited case/lack of personnel

_______________
The Fourth and Fifth Divisions of the Sandiganbayan were created only on
September 25, 1997.
********

VOL. 370, NOVEMBER 28, 2001

693

Re: Problem of Delays in Cases Before the Sandiganbayan


39. 19593

6/5/98

Badoy, Jr.

Inherited case/lack of personnel

40. 19614

7/31/98

Badoy, Jr.

Inherited case/lack of personnel

41. 20194

1/8/01

Chico-Nazario

Complicated Issues

42. 20427

1 1/3/99

Badoy, Jr.

Inherited case/lack of personnel

43. 20648-49

1/4/98

Badoy, Jr.

Inherited case/lack of personnel

44. 20694

3/11/98

Estrada

Inherited case/lack of personnel

45. 22926

11/13/00 No report, Unaccounted for by the Sandiganbayan report

46. 23066

8/16/99

47. 24155

11/30/00 Estrada

Not yet due

48. 24379

8/27/00

Draft decision released 7/31/01

Badoy, Jr.

Estrada

Inherited case/lack of personnel

Summary/Tally
Cases Assigned to Badoy, J.*********
Cases Assigned to Estrada, J.

11
7

Cases Assigned to Chico-Nazario, J.

No report/Unaccounted For

Total

20

3. Applicability of SC Adm. Circular No. 10-94.Supreme


Court Circular No. 10-94 applies to the Sandiganbayan. Administrative Circular 109457 directs all trial judges to make a physical inventory of the cases in their dockets.
The docket inventory procedure is as follows:58
_______________
The case assignments of Justice Badoy, Jr. were all transferred to Justice
Villaruz when Justice Badoy, Jr. transferred to the Third Division. The report of the
Sandiganbayan with respect case assignments is dated September 30, 2001 (See
Annex E).
*********

57

Dated June 29, 1994.

58

A(2) a.-c., Administrative Circular 10-94.

694

SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED


Re: Problem of Delays in Cases Before the Sandiganbayan
1. a. Every trial judge shall submit not later than the last week of
February and the last week of August of each year a tabulation of all
pending cases which shall indicate on a horizontal column the
following data:
1. 1. Title of the case
2. 2. Date of Filing
3. 3. Date arraignment in criminal cases of Pre-trial in civil cases and
4. 4. Date of initial trial
5. 5. Date of last hearing
6. 6. Date submitted for Decision
1. b. The tabulation shall end with a certification by the trial judge that
he/she has personally undertaken an inventory of the pending cases in
his/her court; that he/she has examined each case record and initialled
the last page thereof. The judge shall indicate in his/her certification
the date when inventory was conducted.
2. c. The Tabulation and Certification shall be in the following form.

Docket Inventory for the Period


January __ to June __, __/July
To December __, __
(Indicate Period)
Court and Station _____
Presiding Judge _______

Title
of Case

Date
Filed

Pretrial/
Arraignment

Initial
Hearing

Date of
Last
Hearing

Date
submitted for
Decision

CERTIFICATION:
I hereby certify that on (Date/Dates____), I personally conducted a physical
inventory of pending cases in the docket of this court, that I personally examined
the records of each case and initialled the last page thereof, and I certify that the
results of the inventory are correctly reflected in the above tabulation.
___________________.
Presiding Judge

________________

VOL. 370, NOVEMBER 28, 2001

695

Re: Problem of Delays in Cases Before the Sandiganbayan


Given the rationale behind the Administrative Circular, we hold that it is applicable
to the Sandiganbayan with respect to cases within its original and appellate
jurisdiction.

Mora Decidendi
We reiterate the admonition we issued in our resolution of October 10, 2000: 59
This Court has consistently impressed upon judges (which includes justices) to
decide cases promptly and expeditiously on the principle that justice delayed is
justice denied. Decision making is the primordial and most important duty of the
member of the bench.60 Hence, judges are enjoined to decide cases with dispatch.
Their failure to do so constitutes gross inefficiency61 that warrants disciplinary
sanction, including fine,62 suspension63 and even dismissal.64 The rule particularly
applies to justices of the Sandiganbayan. Delays in the disposition of cases erode the
faith and confidence of our people in the judiciary, lower its standards, and bring it
into disrepute.65 Delays cannot be sanctioned or tolerated especially in the anti-graft
court, the showcase of the nations determination to succeed in its war against graft
(italics ours).
In Yuchengco v. Republic,66 we urged the Sandiganbayan to promptly administer
justice. We stated that the Sandiganbayan has the inherent power to amend and
control its processes and orders to make them conformable to law and justice. The
Sandiganbayan as the nations anti-graft court must be the first to avert
_______________
59

Resolution of the Court En Banc, Rollo, pp. 19-21, at p. 20.

60

Rivera v. Lamorena, 345 Phil. 880, 883; 280 SCRA 633 (1997).

61

Cueva v. Villanueva, 365 Phil. 1, 10; 305 SCRA 459 (1999).

Report on the Judicial Audit in RTC, Br. 27, Lapu-Lapu City, 352 Phil. 223, 232;
289 SCRA 398 (1998); Sta. Ana v. Arinday, Jr., 347 Phil. 671, 674; 283 SCRA 392
(1997).
62

63

Bolalin v. Occiano, 334 Phil. 178; 266 SCRA 203 (1997).

Re: Report on the Judicial Audit Conducted in RTC, Branches 29 and 59, Toledo
City, 354 Phil. 8; 292 SCRA 8 (1998); Abarquez v. Rebosura, 349 Phil. 24, 38; 285
SCRA 109 (1998); Longboan v. Hon. Polig, 186 SCRA 557 (1990).
64

65

Sta. Ana v. Arinday, Jr., supra, Note 62.

66

333 SCRA 368, 387 (2000).

696

SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED


Re: Problem of Delays in Cases Before the Sandiganbayan

opportunities for graft, uphold the right of all persons to a speedy disposition of
their cases and avert the precipitate loss of their rights.

Practice of Unloading Cases


According to the memorandum submitted by the OCA, there is a practice in the first
and third divisions of the Sandiganbayan of unloading cases to other divisions
despite the fact that these cases have been submitted for decision before them. We
cite relevant portions of the memorandum:67
Cases Submitted for Decision When Unloaded to the Fourth Division
Case No.

Title of the Case

Division
where case
originated

Date
Submitted for
Decision

1) 17015

PP vs. Raul Zapatos

3rd

06/06/94

2) 17016

PP vs. Raul Zapatos

3rd

06/06/94

3) 14380

PP vs. Francisco Ramoran

3rd

02/14/95

4) 18005

PP vs. Panfilo Bongcac

3rd

05/07/96

5) 18006

PP vs. Panfilo Bongcac

3rd

05/07/96

6) 13593

PP vs. Dominador Meninguito

3rd

05/30/96

Case No.

Title of the Case

Division
where case
originated

Date
Submitted for
Decision

7) 13594

PP vs. Dominador Meninguito

3rd

05/30/96

8) 19567

PP vs. Dominador Meninguito

3rd

05/30/96

9) 17140

PP vs. Jose Cafe, et al.

3rd

06/13/96

10) 17141

PP vs. Jose Cafe, et al.

3rd

06/13/96

11) 20064

PP vs. Ben dela Pena

3rd

07/01/96

12) 21131

PP vs. Rufino Mamanguin

3rd

08/05/96

13) 17209

PP vs. Isidro Catapang

3rd

12/27/96

14) 13757

PP vs. Catalino Daganzo

3rd

03/21/97

15) 18257

PP vs. Zenaida Sazon

1st

09/22/97

_______________
Memorandum to Chief Justice Hilario G. Davide, Jr., Rollo, pp. 61-104, at pp. 88,
93.
67

VOL. 370, NOVEMBER 28, 2001


Re: Problem of Delays in Cases Before the Sandiganbayan
Cases Submitted for Decision When Unloaded to the Fifth Division
Case Number

Date Submitted

1. 10264

12/22/90

2. 13344

5/14/97

3. 16223

4/25/94

4. 16574

5/30/95

5. 16760

5/25/95

6. 16810

1/23/96

7. 17018

7/20/94

8. 17055

7/5/95

9. 17139

4/24/94

10. 17162

2/23/95

11. 17193

3/8/94

697

Case Number

Date Submitted

12. 17426

2/12/94

13. 17480

3/22/94

14. 17538

11/20/95

15. 17567

2/24/93

16. 17598

8/3/94

17. 17617

3/28/96

18. 17618

4/6/95

19. 17619

4/6/95

20. 17640

6/12/95

21. 17661

12/15/94

22. 17666

8/25/97

23. 17884

11/12/95

24. 17902

4/16/95

25. 18008

9/15/97

Case Number

Date Submitted

26. 18423

1/15/96

27. 18687

9/30/94

28. 18759

10/12/95

29. 18785

7/13/95

30. 18932

4/20/97

31. 18988

10/25/95

32. 18999

12/21/95

33. 19039

5/6/95

34. 19378

4/17/96

698

SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED


Re: Problem of Delays in Cases Before the Sandiganbayan

35. 19379

4/17/96

36. 19679

10/5/95

37. 19712

2/18/95

38. 19907

6/22/95

39. 20487

12/14/96

40. 20624

7/15/95

41. 23427

7/25/97

We suggest a review of the practice of unloading cases that greatly contributes to


the backlog of undecided cases. When a case has been heard and tried before a
division of the Sandiganbayan, it is ideal that the same division and no other must
decide it as far as practicable.
We further note that several cases which were earlier reported as undecided by the
Sandiganbayan and the OCA have been decided since the reports of September 26,
2000 and January 26, 2001. Nonetheless, the delay in deciding these cases is patent
and merits reprobation. According to the compliance report submitted by the OCA
on November 16, 2001, there are several cases decided way beyond the reglementary
period prescribed by law, even assuming without granting, a reglementary period of
twelve months from the time a case is submitted for decision.68

In a case brought before this Court, Presiding Justice Garchitorena admitted fault
and that the fault is exclusively his own, in failing to decide the case, though
submitted for decision as early as June 20, 1990.69 This case was not even included
among pending cases in the Sandiganbayan report of September 26, 2000.
The following cases were decided, though beyond the prescribed period:
_______________
68

Compliance Report of Justice Ramirez, Rollo, pp. 341-354, at pp. 349-353.

69

G.R. No. 145851, Licaros v. Sandiganbayan, filed on November 23, 2000.

VOL. 370, NOVEMBER 28, 2001

699

Re: Problem of Delays in Cases Before the Sandiganbayan


First Division
Case Number

Submitted for
Decision

Date of
Promulgation

Ponente

14195

March 31, 1997

November 10, 2000

Ong

21608

March 31, 1997

November 15, 2000

Ong

20588

February 14, 1998

January 12, 2001

Ong

19651

November 15, 1996

January 26, 2001

Ong

17670

November 25, 1994

January 26, 2001

Ong

17447-48

September 6, 1994

February 22, 2001

Ong

17514

August 19, 1994

April 24, 2001

Ong

18283

February 21, 1995

February 23, 2001

Ong

Second Division
Case Number

18403-18417

Submitted for
Decision
December 4, 1998

Date of
Promulgation
February 2, 2001

Ponente

Victorino

Case Number

Submitted for
Decision

Date of
Promulgation

Ponente

18435

August 11, 2000

March 26, 2001

Victorino

18786

November 28, 2000

March 28, 2001

Legaspi

19004

September 10, 1996

March 16, 2001

Victorino

19692-19707

August 27, 2000

February 26, 2001

Sandoval

19848

March 28, 1996

January 29, 2001

Victorino

20483-20484

July 26, 1995

April 6, 2001

Victorino

20660

December 20, 2000

August 2, 2001

Legaspi

20765

August 30, 1996

February 23, 2001

Victorino

20816

March 11, 1998

January 25, 2001

Victorino

21097

December 13, 2000

June 15, 2001

Victorino

22858

August 11,2000

January 31, 2001

Victorino

22934

October 14, 2000

February 15, 2001

Sandoval

22976

May 4, 1999

March 1, 2001

Sandoval

Case Number

Submitted for
Decision

Date of
Promulgation

Ponente

23111

November 27, 2000

March 14, 2001

Sandoval

23262

October 11, 2000

May 16, 2001

Victorino

23338

December 2, 1999

December 14, 2000

Sandoval

23529-23530

October 23, 2000

March 28, 2001

Victorino

24407-24408

August 11,2000

January 24, 2001

Legaspi

24994

August 17, 2000

May 30, 2001

Sandoval

AR#035

December 9, 2000

August 28, 2001

Legaspi

700

SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED


Re: Problem of Delays in Cases Before the Sandiganbayan
Third Division

Case Number

Submitted for
Decision

Date of
Promulgation

Ponente

A/R016

November 16, 1999

January 26, 2001

Ilarde

13861-13863

April 6, 2000

December 22, 2000

Del Rosario

13889

September 30, 1999

May 10, 2001

Ilarde

16756

August 28, 1999

December 11, 2000

Del Rosario

23522

July 6, 2000

January 12, 2001

Del Rosario

Fourth Division
Case Number

Submitted for
Decision

Date of
Promulgation

Ponente

17664

August 31, 1999

June 1, 2000

Pallatao

17016

June 6, 1994

March 27, 2001

Ferrer

17140-41

June 13, 1996

February 6, 2001

Nario

17209

December 27, 1996

April 30, 2001

Ferrer

Case Number

Submitted for
Decision

Date of
Promulgation

Ponente

17805-09; 7814

February 15, 2000

October 10, 2001

Palattao

17856

April 2, 2000

June 25, 2001

Palattao

18005-06

May 7, 1996

May 18, 2001

Ferrer

18257

September 22, 1997

July 26, 2001

Ferrer

18894-96

November 17, 2000

March 20, 2001

Palattao

18900

October 28, 2000

March 23, 2001

Ferrer

18935-37

June 16, 2000

January 18, 2001

Palattao

19567

May 21, 1996

January 15, 2001

Ferrer

20338

May 19, 1997

February 9, 2001

Ferrer

20469

July 7, 2000

June 25, 2001

Palattao

13036-37

February 22, 1999

February 28, 2001

Ferrer

13593-94

May 21, 1996

January 15, 2001

Ferrer

20470-76

July 7, 2000

June 25, 2001

Palattao

Case Number

Submitted for
Decision

Date of
Promulgation

Ponente

20664

June 29, 1996

February 20, 2001

Ferrer

20685

February 18, 2000

March 2, 2001

Palattao

20828

September 13, 2000

October 8, 2001

Palattao

21093

August 7, 1999

January 15, 2001

Palattao

21131

August 4, 1996

February 13, 2001

Ferrer

21778-80

September 29, 1997

June 21, 2001

Ferrer

22891-92

March 2, 2000

December 13, 2000

Ferrer

23007

May 24, 1999

March 14, 2000

Ferrer

VOL. 370, NOVEMBER 28, 2001

701

Re: Problem of Delays in Cases Before the Sandiganbayan


13757

March 21,1997

July 2, 2001

Ferrer

14380

February 14, 1995

April 23, 2001

Ferrer

17015

June 6, 1994

March 27, 2001

Ferrer

23366

November 26, 1999

October 29, 2001

Ferrer

23415

May 25, 2000

May 28, 2001

Palattao

23534

December 15, 2000

February 28, 2001

Palattao

23708

September 27, 2000

September 10, 2001

Nario

24464-65

July 26, 2000

June 26, 2001

Nario

24742

October 10, 2000

March 22, 2001

Ferrer

24841-42

May 9, 2000

March 7, 2001

Ferrer

25198

July 12, 2000

February 6, 2001

Nario

25543

December 27, 2000

February 26, 2001

Palattao

25658

July 28, 2000

July 20, 2001

Palattao

24447-48

September 18, 2000

December 7, 2001

Palattao

Fifth Division
Case Number

Submitted for
Decision

Date of
Promulgation

Ponente

17826-17827

December 9, 2000

March 28, 2001

Chico-Nazario

19668

July 26, 1998

February 9, 2001

Badoy, Jr.

21882

August 12, 2000

July 25, 2001

Chico- Nazario

22184

December 16, 2000

May 21, 2001

Chico- Nazario

22873

December 4, 1999

May 31, 2001

Chico- Nazario

23319

September 30, 2000

April 23, 2001

Chico- Nazario

23450

September 16, 2000

March 16, 2001

Chico- Nazario

23515

January 29, 2000

May 28, 2001

Cortez-Estrada

24759

May 5, 2000

July 10, 2001

Cortez-Estrada

24858

December 28, 2000

May 31, 2001

Chico-Nazario

Relief of Presiding Justice

At this juncture, the Court cites the case of Canson v. Garchitorena.70 In that case,
we admonished respondent Presiding Justice Francis E. Garchitorena. General
Jewel F. Canson, Police Chief Superintendent, National Capital Region Command
Director, complained of deliberate delayed action of the Presiding Justice on the
_______________
70

370 Phil. 287; 311 SCRA 268 (1999).

702

SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED


Re: Problem of Delays in Cases Before the Sandiganbayan

transfer of Criminal Cases Nos. 23047-23057 to the Regional Trial Court of Quezon
City, depriving complainant of his right to a just and speedy trial. Due to a finding
of lack of bad faith on the part of respondent justice, we issued only a warning.
However, the dispositive portion of the decision cautioned respondent justice that a
repetition of the same or similar act in the future shall be dealt with more
severely.71
Presiding Justice Francis E. Garchitorena sits as the Chairman, First Division,
with a backlog of cases pending decision. At least seventy-three cases have been
unassigned for the writing of the extended opinion, though submitted for decision. It
may be the thinking of the Presiding Justice, Sandiganbayan that an unassigned
case is not counted in its backlog of undecided cases. This is not correct. It is the
duty of the Presiding Justice and the Chairmen of divisions to assign the ponente as
soon as the case is declared submitted for decision, if not earlier. If he fails to make
the assignment, he shall be deemed to be the ponente.
The Constitution provides that a case shall be deemed submitted for decision or
resolution upon the filing of the last pleading, brief, or memorandum required by
the Rules of Court or by the court itself.72 In Administrative Circular No. 28, dated
July 3, 1989, the Supreme Court provided that A case is considered submitted for
decision upon the admission of the evidence of the parties at the termination of the
trial. The ninety (90) days period for deciding the case shall commence to run from
submission of the case for decision without memoranda; in case the court requires
or allows its filing, the case shall be considered submitted for decision upon the
filing of the last memorandum or the expiration of the period to do so, whichever is
earlier. Lack of transcript of stenographic notes shall not be a valid reason to
interrupt or suspend the period for deciding the case unless the case was previously
heard by another judge not the deciding judge in which case the latter shall have the
full period of ninety (90) days from the completion of the tran_______________

71

Supra, at p. 288.

72

Article VIII, Sec. 15 (2), Constitution.

VOL. 370, NOVEMBER 28, 2001

703

Re: Problem of Delays in Cases Before the Sandiganbayan


scripts within which to decide the same.73 The designation of a ponente to a case is
not a difficult administrative task.
Administrative sanctions must be imposed. Mora reprobatur in lege.74 Again, we
reiterate the principle that decision-making is the most important of all judicial
functions and responsibilities.75 In this area, Presiding Justice Francis E.
Garchitorena, as the ponente assigned to the cases submitted for decision/resolution
long ago, some as far back as more than ten (10) years ago, has been remiss
constituting gross neglect of duty and inefficiency.76 As we said in Canson,77
unreasonable delay of a judge in resolving a case amounts to a denial of justice,
bringing the Sandiganbayan into disrepute, eroding the public faith and confidence
in the judiciary.78
Consequently, Presiding Justice Francis E. Garchitorena should be relieved of all
trial and administrative work as Presiding Justice and as Chairman, First Division
so that he can devote himself full time to decision-making until his backlog is
cleared. He shall finish this assignment not later than six (6) months from the
promulgation of this resolution.
We have, in cases where trial court judges failed to decide even a single case within
the ninety (90) day period, imposed a fine rang_______________
73

Supreme Court Circulars, Orders and Resolutions, October 1999 ed., pp. 144-145.

Delay is reprobated in law (Blacks Law Dictionary, 4th Edition, 1951, West
Publishing Co., p. 1160).
74

75

Rivera v. Lamorena, 345 Phil. 880, 883; 280 SCRA 633 (1997).

Sabado v. Cajigal, 219 SCRA 800 (1993); Casia v. Gestopa, Jr., 371 Phil. 131; 312
SCRA 204 (1999); Report on the Judicial Audit Conducted in RTC, Brs. 29, 56 and
57, Libmanan, Camarines Sur, 316 SCRA 272 (1999); Re: Cases Left Undecided by
76

Judge Narciso M. Bumanglag, Jr., 365 Phil. 492; 306 SCRA 50 (1999); Re: Report on
the Judicial Audit Conducted in the RTC, Br. 68, Camiling, Tarlac, 364 Phil. 530;
305 SCRA 61 (1999); Bernardo v. Fabros, 366 Phil. 485; 307 SCRA 28 (1999); Louis
Vuitton S. A. v. Villanueva, 216 SCRA 121 (1992); Imposed in a case where there
was failure to decide a case despite the lapse of years from its submission (Lambino
v. De Vera, 341 Phil. 62, 67; 275 SCRA 60 (1997).
77

Supra, Note 61, at pp. 303-304.

Report on the Judicial Audit Conducted in the Municipal Circuit Trial Court,
Dingle-Duenas, Iloilo, 345 Phil. 884; 280 SCRA 637 (1997).
78

704

SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED


Re: Problem of Delays in Cases Before the Sandiganbayan

ing from five thousand pesos (P5,000.00) to the equivalent of their one months
salary.79 According to the report of the Sandiganbayan, as of September 26, 2000,
there were three hundred forty-one (341) cases submitted for decision before its first
division headed by the Presiding Justice. In the memorandum of the OCA, there
were one hundred ninety eight (198) cases reported submitted for decision before
the First Division.80 Even in the updated report, there are one hundred thirty-eight
(138) cases still undecided in the First Division.
In fact, Presiding Justice Francis E. Garchitorena admitted that he has a backlog. 81
He claimed that one (1) case alone comprises fifty percent (50%) of the backlog. We
find this claim exaggerated. We cannot accept that a backlog of three hundred fortyone (341) cases in the First Division could be eliminated by the resolution of a single
consolidated case of one hundred fifty six (156) counts. A consolidated case is
considered only as one case. The cases referred to were consolidated as Criminal
Case Nos. 9812-9967, People v. Corazon Gammad-Leano, decided on December 8,
2000. What about the one hundred eighty five (185) cases that unfortunately
remained undecided to this date? Worse, the motion for reconsideration of the
decision in said cases, submitted as of January 11, 2001, has not been resolved to
this date.82 The First Division has only thirty (30) days from submission to resolve

the same. It is now ten (10) months from submission. The expediente and the motion
were transmitted to the ponente, Presiding Justice Francis E. Garchitorena, on that
date, but to this day the case remains unresolved.83 Unfortunately, even other
divisions of the Sandiganbayan may be following his example.84
_______________
79

Supra, Note 78.

80

As of December 21, 2000.

81

Supra, Note 14, Rollo, p. 56.

As of November 16, 2001. See Compliance Report, dated November 16, 2001, of
Justice Ramirez.
82

83

Compliance Report of Justice Ramirez, Rollo, pp. 341-354, at p. 354.

According to the Sandiganbayan Fourth Division Clerk of Court, a motion for


reconsideration in the case of People v. Bienvenido Tan (Crim. Case No. 20685)
submitted on May 4, 2001, has also remained unresolved.
84

VOL. 370, NOVEMBER 28, 2001

705

Re: Problem of Delays in Cases Before the Sandiganbayan


In the first report of the Court Administrator, he indicated a total of one hundred
ninety-five (195) criminal cases and three (3) civil cases, or a total of one hundred
ninety-eight (198) cases submitted for decision as of December 21, 2000. 85 Almost a
year later, as of November 16, 2001, there are still one hundred thirty-eight (138)
cases undecided submitted long ago. For almost one year, not one case was
decided/resolved by the Presiding Justice himself.86

Directive

WHEREFORE, in view of all the foregoing, the Court resolves:


1. (1) To IMPOSE on Presiding Justice Francis E. Garchitorena a fine of
twenty thousand pesos (P20,000.00), for inefficiency and gross neglect
of duty.
2. (2) Effective December 1, 2001, to RELIEVE Presiding Justice Francis
E. Garchitorena of his powers, functions and duties as the Presiding
Justice, Sandiganbayan, and from presiding over the trial of cases as a
justice and Chairman, First Division, so that he may DEVOTE himself
exclusively to DECISION WRITING, until the backlog of cases
assigned to him as well as cases not assigned to any ponente, of which
he shall be deemed the ponente in the First Division, are finally
decided. There shall be no unloading of cases to other divisions, or to
the First Division inter se. In the interim, Associate Justice Minita V.
Chico-Nazario, as the most senior associate justice, shall TAKE OVER
and exercise the powers, functions, and duties of the office of the
Presiding Justice, Sandiganbayan, until further orders from this
Court.
3. (3) To DIRECT Presiding Justice Francis E. Garchitorena and the
associate justices of the Sandiganbayan to de_______________
Another instance of violation of the thirty-day reglementary period for resolving
motions for reconsideration.
85

Supra, pp. 17-18 of this resolution.

On December 08, 2000, Presiding Justice Garchitorena decided a single


consolidated case of 156 components, Crim. Cases Nos. 9812 to 9967, for estafa
through falsification of public documents.
86

706

SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED


Re: Problem of Delays in Cases Before the Sandiganbayan
1. cide/resolve the undecided cases submitted for decision as of this date,
within three (3) months from their submission, and to resolve motions
for new trial or reconsiderations and petitions for review within thirty
(30) days from their submission. With respect to the backlog of cases,
as hereinabove enumerated, the Sandiganbayan shall decide/resolve all
pending cases including incidents therein within six (6) months from
notice of this resolution.
2. (4) To ORDER the Sandiganbayan to comply with Supreme Court
Administrative Circular 10-94, effective immediately.
3. (5) To DIRECT the Sandiganbayan en banc to adopt not later than
December 31, 2001 internal rules to govern the allotment of cases
among the divisions, the rotation of justices among them and other
matters leading to the internal operation of the court, and thereafter to
submit the said internal rules to the Supreme Court for its approval. 87

This directive is immediately executory.


SO ORDERED.
Davide, Jr. (C.J.), Bellosillo, Melo, Puno, Vitug, Kapunan, Mendoza, Panganiban,
Quisumbing, Ynares-Santiago, Sandoval-Gutierrez and Carpio, JJ., concur.
Buena, J., On official leave.
De Leon, Jr., J., See Concurring and Dissenting Opinion.

CONCURRING AND DISSENTING OPINION


DE LEON, JR., J.:

I respectfully dissent from the resolution of Mr. Justice Bernardo P. Pardo insofar as
it declares and rules that the judgment of any division of the Sandiganbayan shall
be rendered within
_______________
87

R.A. No. 7975, Section 4.

VOL. 370, NOVEMBER 28, 2001

707

Re: Problem of Delays in Cases Before the Sandiganbayan


three (3) months, and not within twelve (12) months, from the date the case was
submitted for decision.
The resolution cites Section 6 of P.D. No. 1606 which requires that the judgment of
the Sandiganbayan shall be rendered within three (3) months from the date the
case was submitted for decision. The said provision was apparently adopted by the
Sandiganbayan in Section 3 of Rule XVIII of its Revised Rules of Procedure which
was issued pursuant to P.D. No. 1606. The resolution also cites Supreme Court
Administrative Circular No. 10-94, dated June 25, 1994 which is addressed To: All
Trial Court Judges and Clerks of Courts, Branch Clerks of Courts but not to
Sandiganbayan Justices or the Clerk of Court and Division Clerks of Courts of the
Sandiganbayan.
Section 15(1) and (2) Article VII of the 1997 Constitution, however, provides that:
Sec. 15(1). All cases or matters filed after the effectivity of this Constitution must be
decided or resolved within twenty-four months from date of submission for the
Supreme Court, and, unless reduced by the Supreme Court, twelve months for all
lower collegiate courts, and three months for all other lower courts.
(2) A case or matter shall be deemed submitted for decision or resolution upon the
filing of the last pleading, brief, or memorandum required by the Rules of Court or
by the court itself.
xxx

xxx

xxx

The Supreme Court in Administrative Circular No. 10-94 has not reduced the 12month period mentioned in the above-quoted constitutional provision insofar as the
Sandiganbayan, a collegiate court, is concerned. It is basic that in case of conflict
between a constitutional provision on one hand and a statute or an internal rule of
procedure of a court on the other, the former, being a part of the fundamental law of
the land, must prevail. Also, pursuant to Section 4 of Republic Act No. 8245

(approved on February 5, 1997) the Sandiganbayan has also exclusive appellate


jurisdiction over final judgments, resolutions or orders of the regional trial courts
whether in the exercise of their original jurisdiction or of their appellate jurisdiction
as herein provided.

708

SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED


Re: Problem of Delays in Cases Before the Sandiganbayan

In this connection, be it noted that section 1 of R.A. No. 8249 further amending P.D.
No. 1606, as amended, provides that:
Section 1. Sandiganbayan; Composition; Qualifications; Tenure; Removal and
CompensationA special court, of the same level as the Court of Appeals and
possessing all the inherent powers of a court of justice, to be known as the
Sandiganbayan is hereby created composed of a presiding justice and fourteen
associate justices who shall be appointed by the President.
Incidentally, per the Rules of Procedure of the Sandiganbayan, each division is
composed of three (3) justices whose unanimous vote is required to render a
decision, resolution or order. In the event there is a dissent, a special division is
formed whereby two (2) justices who shall be chosen by raffle and added to the
division concerned, in which event, the majority rule shall prevail. For that reason
and considering also that appeals from the decisions of the Sandiganbayan are to be
filed directly with the Supreme Court, the Sandiganbayan as a collegiate trial court,
is significantly different from the one-man regional trial court.
Subject to the foregoing observations and partial dissent, I concur with the rest of
the resolution.
Respondent Presiding Justice Francis E. Garchitorena meted a P20,000 fine for
inefficiency and gross neglect of duty and relieved of his powers, functions and duties
in order to devote his time to decision writing; Justices of Sandiganbayan ordered to
decide cases within 30 days from submission and to comply with SC Administrative
Circular 10-94; and to adopt not later than December 1, 2001 its own internal rules.
Note.Judges are mandated to dispose of the courts business promptly and decide
cases within the required period. (Tauro vs. Colet, 306 SCRA 340 [1999])
o0o