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4 Cebu City judges to retire at yearend

By: Ador Vincent S. Mayol December 21,2014 - 09:49 AM

After serving the judiciary for 15 years, four trial court judges in Cebu City are hanging up their robes for good.

Judges Simeon Dumdum, Silvestre Maamo, Enriquita Belarmino and Eric Menchavez chose to avail of optional retirement which takes effect on December 31.

The exit would leave seven out of 22 Regional Trial Court (RTC) branches in Cebu City without a presiding judge.

At present, three branches are vacant after two judges retired while another died.

In an interview yesterday, Judge Dumdum said “pairing” judges will be designated to hear and resolve cases left by retired judges.

“Obviously, the vacancies will cause delays in the dispensation of justice because pairing judges also have cases to resolve in their respective branches. I hope the Supreme Court will immediately fill up the vacancies and appoint our successors,” he said.

Aside from the four judges who are due for retirement at the end of the month, other courts which don’t have permanent judges are RTC branches 5, 13 and 24.

Branches 13 and 24 were left vacant following the retirement of Judge Meinrado Paredes in March 2014 and Judge Olegario Sarmiento in September 2012.

Branch 5 has been vacant after the death of Judge Douglas Marigomen in February 2013.

The High Court designated acting judges to temporarily act on cases filed before these three courts.

Daily routine

Dumdum, 66, said he opted to retire early because under the law,  judges who are 60 years old and rendered service for 15 years are entitled to retire and receive the same benefits with those who retire at the mandatory age of 70.

From the bench, Dumdum said he intends to continue writing and to enjoy life with his family.

“While I’m not closing the doors on teaching law, I just simply love to write,” said Dumdum, a published poet and a columnist of Cebu Daily News.

He once studied for the priesthood in Galway, Ireland, but left the seminary in order to take up law.

After years of practicing law, he was appointed Regional Trial Court judge on October 26, 2000.

The Balamban town native won prizes for his poetry which he published and read abroad.

Dumdum has published five books: The Gift of Sleep (poems), Third World Opera (poems), Love in the Time of the Camera (essays), Selected Poems and New (poems), and My Pledge of Love Cannot be Broken (essays).

He also won the Don Carlos Palanca Memorial Award for English poetry five times, and the Manila Critics Circle’s National Book Award three times.

In 2005, Dumdum received a medallion for writing the best decision in a criminal case, second level courts, in the Judicial Excellence Awards sponsored by the Supreme Court of the Philippines.

To fellow and future judges, Dumdum encouraged them to keep working and to simplify things by faithfully doing their daily routine.

“In other words, if there’s something to decide on, then act on it. Do not let cases sleep. And of course, be honest at all times. That simple,” he said.

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TAGS: Cebu City, family, judge, judiciary, Justice, retirement

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