SC scolds Shari’a judge, interpreter wife for unauthorized pilgrimage to Mecca

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The Supreme Court (SC) has reprimanded Marawi City Shari’a District Court Judge Rasad Laguindab and his wife Samia Usman, a court interpreter for the Malabang, Lanao del Sur, Shari’a Judicial District, for going on a pilgrimage to Mecca without an approved travel authority.

In a recent 6-page minute resolution, the SC 1st Division held Laguindab and Usman administratively liable for violation of Office of Court Administrator (OCA) Circular Number 59-2013.

The spouses had applied for vacation leave from May 20 to June 6, 2019 to perform Umrah rites. They had filed their application only three days before their scheduled travel, citing busy schedules.

They claimed they expected that the OCA would send their travel authority after they left for Mecca, just like it did before.

But, the OCA’s Employee’s Leave Division did not process the application at all, as Item Number 2 of the circular said requests not submitted at least 10 days before the travel “shall not be entertained.”

The SC said that considering this was both Laguindab and Usman’s first offense in their 20 years of service, the penalty of reprimand would suffice.

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