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Wednesday, 28 November, 2001, 16:02 GMT
Philippines corruption judge suspended
Judge Francis Garchitorena
Francis Garchitorena denies being lazy
The Philippines Supreme Court has suspended the senior judge in the country's anti-corruption tribunal after complaints that cases were proceeding too slowly.

The supreme court said two cases, involving associates of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, had been pending for 13 years.

Unreasonable delay... amounts to a denial of justice

Court statement
The anti-corruption court is also handling the trial of the former Philippines President, Joseph Estrada.

A supreme court spokesman said the judge, Francis Garchitorena, was being given time to complete the writing of decisions on cases under his supervision.

"Unreasonable delay of a judge in resolving a case amounts to a denial of justice," the court said.

Mr Garchitorena told reporters he would appeal and seek a clarification of the decision. "It's not a topic for great rejoicing," he said.

Estrada case

The suspension followed complaints from the Philippines largest lawyer's association about delays in more than 130 cases.

Joseph Estrada covers one eye with his hand - he has an infection
Mr Estrada has been suffering from an eye infection
Mr Garchitorena said the delays were caused by a reorganisation of the anti-corruption court and by an office relocation.

He denied the problems were caused by his own laziness.

Judge Garchitorena has been presiding over one of the cases against Mr Estrada focusing on charges of perjury.

Last month, he blocked attempts by prosecutors to present allegations that the former president had lied about his cash and bank accounts.

Prosecuting lawyers said the decision in effect dismissed the case.

Mr Estrada also faces several other corruption charges including economic plunder, which carries the death penalty.

See also:

19 Nov 01 | Asia-Pacific
Estrada suffers trial setback
07 Nov 01 | Asia-Pacific
Estrada prosecutor accused of graft
06 Nov 01 | Asia-Pacific
Estrada 'needs' US knee operation
05 Nov 01 | Asia-Pacific
Judges squabble threatens Estrada trial
29 Oct 01 | Asia-Pacific
Court blow for Estrada prosecutors
16 Oct 01 | Asia-Pacific
New delay in Estrada trial
03 Oct 01 | Asia-Pacific
Estrada gets break from new charges
01 Oct 01 | Asia-Pacific
Estrada plays trial cat and mouse
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