“A triumph of justice, a precedent even,” luded the National Bureau of Investigation who filed the case, “given that most cybersex crime complaints do not prosper in court.”
It was in October last year, in no less than Angeles City – trying its darndest best to shed its Sin City image – that cybersex operators Esmeraldo Tejero Amurao and Marlyn Dizon Valencia were found guilty beyond reasonable doubt for qualified trafficking and trafficking in person and meted life imprisonment and ordered to pay their victims P25,000 to P2 million.
Handing down the verdict, after nine months of marathon hearings, was Regional Trial Court Judge Angelica Paras-Quiambao.
Speed and efficiency in handling cases has always been the hallmark of Judge Paras-Quiambao from her time at the Municipal Trial Court in Clarkfield, Pampanga in 1993, to the RTC where she was promoted in 2001.
“She sees that rendering decisions on time is vital in the effective delivery of justice,” said retired RTC Judge Aida Evaile Layug of Judge Paras-Quiambao. “Her well-written and soundly researched decisions are always affirmed by the Higher Court.”
A solid evidence there of her degree in Mass Communications, Major in Communications Research from the University of the Philippines, and her being a Dean’s Lister at the Ateneo de Manila University where she finished law in 1986.
It was virtually pro bono publico, veritably gratis et amore, that set the legal course of Judge Paras-Quiambao, starting at the then-Citizen’s Legal Assistance Office (now Public Attorney’s Office) of the Department of Justice in 1988.
There, she endeared herself to indigent litigants with her “care and compassion for us, as though we were kin and not simply clients.” Fittingly, she was hailed as a “Top Performer” of CLAO.
The awards and recognitions have not stopped since, through her stint at the MTC-Clarkfield to the RTC, thus: Best Written Decision Award from the Philippine Women Judges Association, Acknowledgment of Rendition of Gender Sensitive Decision by the Gender Justice Awards, Public Service Award from the Society of Broadcast Journalists, Inc. and Gintong Sikap Award from the Angeles City Lawyers League, to name but some.
Through all these honors and achievements, she has maintained, in the courtroom, “a composure of patience, attentiveness, courtesy and impartiality.”
And, to her peers and subordinates, remained “humble, conscientious, morally upright.”
Serving as Executive Judge of RTC Angeles City from 2007 to 2010, Judge Paras-Quiambao administered reforms in the raffle committee and steering employees to perform their duties with discipline and honesty.
Even as she made daily hearings de rigueur, dedicating each day to specific cases, thus: Mondays for detention prisoners, Tuesdays for cases which do not need the presence of lawyers and prosecutors, Wednesdays for cases for judicial dispute resolution, Thursdays for civil and criminal cases, and Fridays for sensitive cases such as rape and sexual assault.
Time and efficiency clearly factoring in the expeditious resolution of cases in her sala obtaining therefrom.
It came then as a matter of course that in September 2013, the Supreme Court, through the Society for Judicial Excellence, conferred on Judge Paras-Quambao.
the Chief Justice Jose Abad Santos Award in the Judicial Excellence Awards of that year.
The said awards were given to members of the judiciary exemplifying “proven integrity, dedication and commitment to public service and the rule of law.”
Two years after – it should have come sooner – it was the turn of her home province to bestow honor on Judge Paras-Quiambao as Most Outstanding Kapampangan Awardee in the field of Judicial Service for 2015.
The elements of excellence – from the Supreme Court, and service – from the Province of Pampanga, finding complete expression in Judge Paras-Quiambao.
Truly, a source of pride for her people.