While attending seminars and conventions sanctioned by the Court may excuse the non-raffle of cases in courts on specific dates, the same could not be said when the non-raffle of cases was occasioned by the trial judges' forfeitable leave of absences.
Unlike seminars and conventions which are sponsored and evidently scheduled by the Court [usually through the PHILJA], availing of forfeitable leaves is a personal act on the part of judges especially on choosing the dates which they usually prefer.
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For failure to observe the procedure on the raffle of cases pursuant to A.
Geronga, the said Administrative Complaint was referred to Judge Dating for his comment. On the contrary, Section 2 thereof explicitly mandates that "[r]affling of cases shall be regularly conducted at two o'clock in the afternoon every Monday and/or Thursday as warranted by the number of cases to be raffled." Clearly, as can be easily inferred from the use of the words "shall" and "regularly," the raffle of cases should be mandatorily done on a regular basis and, much more, not only once but even twice a week depending on the number of cases to be raffled.
Vilches, and OCA Chief of Legal Office, Wilhelmina D. 03-8-02-SC,35 specifically the provisions on the conduct of raffle of cases, would reveal that it was never intended as an indispensable requirement that a substantial number of cases must have been filed in court before raffle of cases could be conducted.
While they are indeed entitled to such leaves, judges should so schedule the same in the most careful manner so as to prevent a hiatus in court proceedings.
Speedy administration of justice should never play second fiddle to the personal comfort and caprice of those working in the judiciary, judges and/or personnel alike.
In the case at bar, respondent Judge Dating scheduled his forfeitable leaves from 21 March 2011 to 31 March 2011.