ROXAS CITY, Philippines — A municipal trial court (MTC) judge in Capiz was ordered suspended by the Supreme Court for three months for gross inefficiency and neglect of duty.
The high tribunal meted the three-month suspension without pay on Judge Henry B. Avelino, presiding judge of the 2nd Municipal Circuit Trial (MTC) in Pontevedra-Panay towns in Capiz, for failing to decide on a civil case within the prescribed period.
The Supreme Court’s Third Division handed down suspension in a ruling dated June 15, 2007, penned by Associate Justice Cancio C. Garcia and received by the MTC here last July 2.
The high court warned Avelino that it would deal with such act more severely in the future.
Litigant Manuel B. Arcenas of Roxas City filed the case against Avelino on April 12, 2005 for allegedly ignoring a Regional Trial Court order for the judge to hear a civil case that Arcenas had filed in his court.
Court records showed that on May 7, 2004, Avelino dismissed for lack of jurisdiction an unlawful detainer (eviction) case that Arcenas filed in court. Arcenas appealed the ruling to the RTC Branch 16 in Roxas City which, on Sept. 24, 2004, decided to set aside Avelino’s ruling and remanded the case to the lower court for further proceedings.
Avelino, however, failed to decide on the case, in violation of the Rule and Summary Procedure.
Arcenas then filed a complaint at the Supreme Court against the judge. On March 11, 2005, the high tribunal found Avelino guilty of gross inefficiency for his failure to decide the case within the prescribed period and was fined P20,000 with a stern warning.
Avelino filed a motion for reconsideration. In his comment dated July 26, 2005, the judge contended that Arcenas went on a media hype after the RTC reversed his decision on the civil case and after the judgment of the SC. He believed that Arcenas was using the press to influence his decision on the case.
Avelino said he could not be charged with gross inefficiency since he inhibited himself from the proceedings in the case. MTC Judge Hannibal Patricio, who took over the case, issued a decision on July 4, 2005.