A lawyer friend of mine asks me to appear in one of his cases since he had several schedules during that day.
The case is to be heard at Toledo City, about 50 kilometers from Cebu City, Philippines and about 45 minutes to 1 hour travel by private vehicle.
So I studied the case and asked the client to drop by my house so that we can go together.
The case was to be heard at 9 a.m. so we left at around 7:30 a.m. We arrived in Toledo City at around 8:30 a.m.
When we went upstairs we were informed by the clerk of court that the Judge was not around. She said the judge decided not to go there that day since he was very busy with his other court. (The regular judge in this particular court was suspended so a temporary judge from another court has to take his place) She said that the hearing is rescheduled and that we will just be given notice as to when the schedule will be.
I can understand the judge. It is not easy for him to hold two courts and I do not blame him for what happened.
However I blame the court personnel and staff how could they not inform the lawyers or the parties about this matter? At least they could have called the lawyers or the parties to the case the day before that the judge will not be reporting for work that day. They were informed by the judge 2 days before that he will not be coming in that day. It is no joke for me or the client to wake up early, drive more than 50 kilometers and end up being told that there will be no hearing for that day.
My client was so frustrated about the situation. I too was very frustrated. This has added to my frustration in the practice of law. This is not the first time that this has happened to me. Long resolved resolutions from the prosecutor’s office, delay of the courts to act on motions and issue notices or delay in the rendering of judgments and corruption has all added to my frustrations in the practice of law. Most Veteran lawyers tell me that when practicing law you have to put your ideals aside otherwise you will quit practicing.
We went to court that day hoping to seek justice what we got was injustice brought about by the inefficiency of the court personnel.