Case Digest on Zenaida S. Beso v. Judge Juan Daguman A.M. No. MTJ-99-1211. January 28, 2000 Neglect of Duty/Abuse of Authority
November 10, 2010
Facts: In a Complaint-Affidavit dated December 12, 1997, Zenaida S. Beso charged Judge Juan J. Daguman, Jr. with solemnizing marriage outside of his jurisdiction and of negligence in not retaining a copy and not registering the marriage contract with the office of the Local Civil Registrar.
In his comment, the respondent judge alleged that the marriage of the complainant had to be solemnized in Calbayog City though outside his territory as municipal Judge of Sta. Margarita, Samar because : 1) physically indisposed and unable to report to his station in Sta. Margarita; 2) complainant said she had to fly abroad that same day; 3) that for the parties to go to another town for the marriage would be expensive and would entail serious problems of finding a solemnizing officer and another pair of witnesses or sponsors; 4) if they failed to get married on August 28, 1997, complainant would be out of the country for a long period and their marriage license would lapse and necessitate another publication of notice; 5) if the parties go beyond their plans for the scheduled marriage, complainant feared it would complicate her employment abroad.
Held: GUILTY. The authority of a judge to solemnize marriage is only limited to those municipalities under his jurisdiction. Clearly, Calbayog City is no longer within his area of jurisdiction. Additionally, there are only three instances, as provided by Article 8 of the Family Code, wherein a marriage may be solemnized by a judge outside his chamber[s] or at a place other than his sala, and the circumstances of this case do not fall in any of these exceptions.
Moreover, as solemnizing officer, respondent Judge neglected his duty when he failed to register the marriage of complainant to Bernardito Yman. Such duty is entrusted upon him pursuant to Article 23 of the Family Code which provides:
“It shall be the duty of the person solemnizing the marriage to furnish either of the
contracting parties the original of the marriage certificate referred to in Article 6
and to send the duplicate and triplicate copies of the certificates not later than
fifteen days after the marriage, to the local civil registrar of the place where the
marriage was solemnized. xxx”
Lastly, a judge is charged with exercising extra care in ensuring that the records of the cases and official documents in his custody are intact. There is no justification for missing records save fortuitous events. The records show that the loss was occasioned by carelessness on respondent Judge’s part. This Court reiterates that judges must adopt a system of record management and organize their dockets in order to bolster the prompt and efficient dispatch of business. It is, in fact, incumbent upon him to devise an efficient recording and filing system in his court because he is after all the one directly responsible for the proper discharge of his official functions.
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