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COCKTALES | Sereno court case disposals fall to new low, but don't blame it on Grace Poe

Chief Justice Lourdes Sereno. FILE PHOTO
The online news portal of TV5

The number of cases decided by the Sereno court fell off the cliff in January amid the still-ongoing Grace Poe disqualification hearings.

According to the Supreme Court website, the high tribunal decided 28 cases last month compared to the 95 decisions it handed down in the same month last year.

SC spokesman Theodore Te said the January 2016 record should still improve, since there are a number of decisions that have yet to be released pending "editing, footnote revisions, and perhaps even inclusion of additional thoughts that the justices may have wanted to put in the main decision to avoid a separate opinion."

Te discounted the impact that the highly-charged disqualification case against Grace Poe might be having on the high tribunal's work load, amid the grumblings from Senate President Franklin Drilon and House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. about the slow pace of the hearings.

"The court has more cases than the Grace Poe case and the members are attending to all their cases, giving them the attention each deserves," Te said.

The Sereno court or, to be precise, Maria Lourdes Sereno has already spent four Christmases under her watch, incidentally the same number as Reynato Puno's, another PNoy favorite, before Puno reached mandatory retirement. 

During his last December on the bench, the Puno court had decided 108 cases in all. The Sereno court's case decisions last December? Forty two.

For longer comparative snapshots, here are the Sereno and Puno case disposal records for January: 

SERENO          Cases Disposed      PUNO      Cases Disposed

January 2016             28                  January 2010         64

January 2015             95                  January 2009         99

January 2014             70                  January 2008         74

January 2013             86                  January 2007         98

The differences become more pronounced when the December records are compared.

SERENO          Cases Disposed      PUNO       Cases Disposed

December 2015         42                  December 2009      108

December 2014         55                  December 2008      124

December 2013         67                  December 2007       79

December 2012         49                  December 2006       84

DBP-LBP merger to cost 400 jobs

About 400 employees will likely be retrenched with Malacañang's approving the merger of the Development Bank of the Philippines with Land Bank, DBP executive vice president Benel Lagua told Bloomberg TV Philippines.

Lagua did not provide a breakdown of the possible job losses, but earlier news reports said the surviving bank Lank Bank is ironically projected to have more workers that would face attrition.

Even though the early retirement package is pegged at the maximum of only 1.5 months pay for every year of service, still a number of senior officers not targeted for attrition may be tempted to avail themselves of the modest parachute, especially those a few years away from retirement age, Lagua said.

One immediate casualty: A planned DBP branch in Nueva Ecija's Palayan City, with P16.3 million construction budget already ready for release, could likely be inaugurated as a Land Bank branch.

Money talks

• Insurance magnate Robert Coyiuto Jr. is scouting for a thrift bank, possibly to fold with his family's Prudential Guarantee business, aside from being a conduit for auto loans for his Porsche and Audi dealerships.

His first target was a thrift bank based in Southern Tagalog region, whose negotiations had never advanced, if the industry chatter is to believed, beyond pricing issues.

• A number of doctors based in the original St. Luke's Medical Center in Quezon City are hyperventilating over the decision of the Global City branch to centralize the allocation of HMO business, with the Fort-based surgeons now getting more surgical HMO patients than their Quezon City colleagues.

Even inquiries received from walk-in and website patients are being re-directed to the Global City branch.