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Court of Appeals (CA) Justice Marilyn Lagura-Yap has been fined by the Supreme Court (SC) equivalent to one year of her salary for failing to decide on 160 cases within the reglementary period during her stint as regional trial court (RTC) judge.

The sanction against Justice Lagura-Yap is a testament that Chief Justice Diosdado M. Peralta is serious in purging the Judiciary,” the SC Public Information Office (SCPIO) said in a statement.

The SCPIO said that the high tribunal has issued a per curiam decision which found Yap guilty of gross inefficiency when it was found that during her stint as judge of Mandaue City RTC Branch28 she failed to decide on 160 cases within the reglementary period and to submit the required certification of caseload before the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) when she applied to the CA in 2011.

“The Court held that it cannot overstress its policy on prompt disposition or resolution of cases, adding that ‘delay in the disposition of cases is a major culprit in the erosion of public faith and confidence in the judicial system, as judges have the sworn duty to administer justice without undue delay’,” the SCPIO said.

“The Court stressed that the Constitution expressly provides that all lower courts should decide or resolve cases or matters within three months from the date of submission,” it added.

Also, the SC cited that Section 5, Canon 6 of the New Code of Judicial Conduct provides “that judges shall perform all judicial duties, including the delivery of reserved decision, efficiently, fairly and with reasonable promptness.”

The SCPIO noted that Yap had admitted her failure due to heavy caseload, voluminous records, death of family members and being understaffed.

Though the SC recognized her explanations, the high tribunal pointed out these are “are not sufficient to exonerate her from liability.”

In administrative proceedings, the SC said only substantial evidence is required to warrant disciplinary sanctions.

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