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Compilation of all Case

Digests for the Year


2010
Members:
Rangelo Reyes
Ryan Castillo
Justin Batac
Luis Alipio
James Dagsaan
Prodi Mangilit
Joena Mae Domingo
Ayen Torres
Maria Lucila David
Dazel Mendigoria

ATTY. ELMER C. SOLIDON vs. ATTY. RAMIL E. MACALALAD


[A.C.8158. February 24, 2010]

FACTS:
Complainant, through a mutual acquaintance asked respondent to handle the judicial titling of a parcel of land
owned by complainants relatives. Respondent accepted the task to be completed within a period of eight (8)
months and received Fifty Thousand Pesos (P50,000.00) as initial payment; the remaining balance of Thirty
Thousand Pesos (P30,000.00) was to be paid when complainant received the certificate of title to the property.
Respondent has not filed any petition for registration over the property sought to be titled up to the filing of this
case. In the Complaint, Position Papers and documentary evidence submitted, complainant claimed that he tried
to contact respondent to follow-up on the status of the case six (6) months after he paid the initial legal fees. He
did this through phone calls and text messages to their known acquaintances and relatives, and, finally, through a
letter sent by courier to the respondent. However, he did not receive any return communication. Complainant
sought the disbarment of respondent for violations of Rule 16.01, Rule 18.03, and Rule 18.04 of the Code of
Professional Responsibility involving negligence in handling a case. Complainant argued that he had no intention of
reneging from his obligation, as he already had prepared the draft petition, and he failed to file it because it lacked
the needed documentary requirements that his clients should have furnished him. The Investigating
Commissioner of IBP made a finding negligence on the part of the respondent. This was affirmed by the IBP
Commission on Bar Discipline.
ISSUE:
(1) Whether or not the respondents excuse is exculpatory.
RULING:
(1) No. Respondents excuse is not exculpatory. He was imposed the (modified) penalty of suspension for six (6)
months from the practice of law and was ordered to return to the complainant the amount of Fifty Thousand
Pesos (P50,000.00) with interest of twelve percent (12%) per annum from the date of promulgation of the Decision
until the full amount is returned.
In administrative cases against lawyers, the quantum of proof required is preponderance of evidence which the
complainant has the burden to discharge. We fully considered the evidence presented and we are fully satisfied
that the complainants evidence, as outlined above, fully satisfies the required quantum of proof in proving
respondents negligence. Rule 18.03, Canon 18 of the Code of Professional Responsibility provides for the rule on
negligence and states:
Rule 18.03 A lawyer shall not neglect a legal matter entrusted to him and his negligence in connection therewith
shall render him liable.
The Court has consistently held, in construing this Rule, that the mere failure of the lawyer to perform the
obligations due to the client is considered per se a violation. (underscoring provided)
In addition to the above finding of negligence, [Court] also [found] respondent guilty of violating Rule 16.01 of the
Code of Professional Responsibility which requires a lawyer to account for all the money received from the
client. In this case, respondent did not immediately account for and promptly return the money he received from
complainant even after he failed to render any legal service within the contracted time of the engagement.
Atty. Mangontawar M. Gubat v. NPC, G.R. No. 167415, February 26, 2010
FACTS:

Petitioner, Atty. Mangontawar M. Gubat instituted this petition for certiorari under Rule 65 to question the
decision rendered by the Court of Appeals. The facts are clear that petitioner is counsel of certain Ala Mambuay,
Norma Maba, and Acur Macarampat in a separate case against herein respondent. Corresponding attorney fees
are fixed in favor of petitioner. However, a compromise agreement was entered into between petitioner's clients
and the National Power Corporation without the knowledge of herein petitioner. The latter then filed a Motion for
Partial Summary Judgment on his attorney's fees which was granted by the lower court. NPC opposed this in its
petition for certiorari filed before the Court of Appeals which decision was granted by said court. Hence, petitioner
instituted this petition for certiorari under Rule 65 to question the decision rendered by the Court of Appeals in
favor of respondent NPC.
ISSUE:
Is the remedy of petitioner in filing a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 proper?
RULING:
No. Petitioner is amiss in filing the wrong mode of appeal. Under Rule 65, a petition for certiorari is available only
when there is no appeal or any plain, speedy, and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law. But such is not
the case in the instant petition. The remedy of appeal by way of a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 is
the proper mode of appeal that should have been filed by the petitioner. The Supreme Court further declared that
petitioner filed the instant petition for certiorari under Rule 65 as a substitute for a lost appeal.

Maelotisea S. Garrido vs. Atty. Angel E. Garrido and Romana P. Valencia


A.C. No. 6593, February 4, 2010.
Facts:
The petitioner, the respondents legal wife, filed a complaint-affidavit and a supplemental affidavit for disbarment
against the respondents Atty. Angel E. Garrido and Atty. Romana P.Valencia before the Integrated Bar of the
Philippines Committee on Discipline, charging them with gross immorality, in violation of Canon 1, Rule
1.01, of the Code of Professional Responsibility. The complaint arose after the petitioner caught wind
through her daughter that her husband was having an affair with a woman other than his wife and
already had a child with her; and the same information was confirmed when owner of
her daughters saw that her husband walking in a Robinsons mall with the other
respondent,Atty.Valencia,withtheir childintow. After a much further investigation into the matter, the time and e
ffort given yielded results telling her that Atty. Valencia and her legal husband had been married in Hong Kong.
Moreover, on June 1993, her husband left their conjugal home and joined Atty. Ramona Paguida Valencia at their
residence, and has since failed to render much needed financial support. In their defense, they postulated that
they were not lawyers as of yet when they committed the supposed immorality, so as such, they were
not guilty of a violation of Canon1, Rule 1.01.
Issue:
Whether or not Atty. Garridos and Valencias actions constitute a violation of Canon 1, Rule1.01 and thus a good
enough cause for their disbarment, despite the offense being supposedly committed when they were not
lawyers.

Held:
Yes. Membership in the Bar is a privilege, and as a privilege bestowed by law through the
Supreme Court, membership in the Bar can be withdrawn where circumstances show the lawyers
lack of the essential qualifications required of lawyers, be they academic or moral. In the present case, the Court
had resolved to withdraw this privilege from Atty. Angel E. Garrido and Atty. Rowena P. Valencia for the reason of
their blatant violation of Canon 1,Rule 1.01 of the Code of Professional Responsibility, which
commands that a lawyer shall not engage in unlawful, dishonest, immoral or deceitful conduct. Furthermore,
The contention of respondent that they were not yet lawyers when they got married shall not afford them
exemption from sanctions; good moral character was already required as a condition precedent to
admissiontotheBar. As a lawyer, a person whom the community looked up to, Atty. Garrido and Valencia wereshou
ldered with the expectation that they would set a good example in promoting obedience to the Constitution and
the laws. When they violated the law and distorted it to cater to his own personal needs and selfish motives, not
only did their actions discredit the legal profession. Such actions by themselves, without even including the fact of
Garridos abandonment of paternal responsibility, to the detriment of his children by the petitioner; or the fact
that Valencia married Garrido despite knowing of his other marriages to two other women including the
petitioner, are clear indications of a lack of moral values not consistent with the proper conduct of practicing
lawyers within the country. As such, their disbarment is affirmed.

MARCH 2010 LEGAL ETHICS CASES

A.M. No. P-05-2064 Office of the Court Administrator vs. Jocelyn G. Caballero, clerk of Court, Regional
Trial Court, Kidapawan, North Cotabato March 2, 2010

Facts: This administrative matter stemmed from the financial audit of the Regional Trial Court of Kidapawan City,
North Cotabato (RTC-Kidapawan), conducted by the Audit Team of the Court Management Office (team). The
audit covered the accountability period of Clerk of Court Atty. Jocelyn G. Caballero (Caballero) from April 1983 to
April 2004.
The teams preliminary cash count revealed an initial cash shortage of P19,875.20 which Atty. Caballero
immediately reasoned to be due to the encashment of her personal checks. This prompted the team to conduct a
more detailed and comprehensive financial audit on all the books of accounts of the court.
The long delay in the remittance of the courts funds, as well as the unexplained shortages that remained
unaccounted for, raises grave doubts regarding the trustworthiness and integrity of Atty. Caballero. Her failure to
remit the funds in due time constitutes gross dishonesty and gross misconduct. It diminishes the faith of the
people in the Judiciary. Dishonesty, being in the nature of a grave offense, carries the extreme penalty of
dismissal from the service even if committed for the first time.

Section 22(a), (b) and (c) of Rule XIV of the Omnibus Rules Implementing Book V of Executive Order No. 292, and
Other Pertinent Civil Service Laws, classifies Gross Neglect of Duty, Dishonesty, and Grave Misconduct as grave
offenses. The penalty for each of these offenses is dismissal even for the first offense.
Issue: Whether or not respondent ATTY. JOCELYN G. CABALLERO is guilty of gross neglect of duty and dishonesty.
Ruling: We reiterate anew that this Court has not hesitated to impose the ultimate penalty on those who have
fallen short of their accountabilities. No less than the Constitution enshrines the principle that a public office is a
public trust. The supreme law of the land commands all public officers and employees to be at all times
accountable to the people; and to serve them with utmost dedication, honesty, and loyalty (DHL).
WHEREFORE, respondent ATTY. JOCELYN G. CABALLERO, Clerk of Court, RTC, Kidapawan City, North Cotabato, is
hereby found GUILTY of GROSS NEGLECT OF DUTY and DISHONESTY. She is ordered DISMISSED from the service
with forfeiture of all retirement benefits and with prejudice to re-employment in the government, including
government-owned or controlled corporations. The Employees Leave Division, Office of Administrative Services,
OCA, is DIRECTED to compute the balance of respondent Atty. Caballero's earned leave credits and forward the
same to the Finance Division, Fiscal Management Office, OCA, which shall compute their monetary value. The
amount, as well as other benefits she may be entitled to, shall be applied as restitution of the shortage.

A.M. No. 10-1-13-SC Re: Subpoena Duces Tecum dated January 11, 2010 of Acting Director Aleu A.
Amante, PIAB-C Office of the Ombudsman March 2, 2010

Facts: The Supreme Court is the highest court of the land with the power to review, revise, reverse, modify, or
affirm on appeal or certiorari, as the law or the Rules of Court may provide, final judgments and orders of the
lower courts. It has the authority to promulgate rules on practice, pleadings and admission to the bar, and suspend
the operation of these rules in the interest of justice. The Supreme Court, in the proper cases, can and does rule on
factual submissions before it, and even reverses the lower courts factual findings when the circumstances call for
this action.
The Office of the Ombudsman has full authority to issue subpoenas, including subpoena duces tecum, for
compulsory attendance of witnesses and the production of documents and information relating to matters under
its investigation. The grant of this authority, however, is not unlimited, as the Ombudsman must necessarily
observe and abide by the terms of the Constitution and our laws, the Rules of Court and the applicable
jurisprudence on the issuance, service, validity and efficacy of subpoenas. Under the Rules of Court, the issuance
of subpoenas, including a subpoena duces tecum, operates under the requirements of reasonableness and
relevance.
Lozano filed a criminal complaint against the retired Supreme Court Chief Justice Hilario Davide, Jr. and retired
Associate Justice Ma. Alicia Austria-Martinez for the alleged violation of Section 3(e) of R.A. 3019, as amended (the
Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act).
As a rule, all decisions and determinations in the exercise of judicial power ultimately go to and stop at the
Supreme Court whose judgment is final. This constitutional scheme cannot be thwarted or subverted through a
criminal complaint that, under the guise of imputing a misdeed to the Court and its Members, seeks to revive and
re-litigate matters that have long been laid to rest by the Court. Effectively, such criminal complaint is a collateral
attack on a judgment of this Court that, by constitutional mandate, is final and already beyond question.

A simple jurisprudential research would easily reveal that this Court has had the occasion to rule on the liability of
Justices of the Supreme Court for violation of Section 3(e) of R.A. 3019the very same provision that the
complainants Lozano invoke in this case.
The complainants Lozano appear to have brazenly misquoted and misused applicable constitutional provisions to
justify their case against the retired Justices.
A public official can violate Section 3(e) of Republic Act No. 3019 in two ways: (1) by causing undue injury to any
party, including the Government; or (2) by giving any private party any unwarranted benefit, advantage or
preference; in either case, these acts must be committed with manifest partiality, evident bad faith, or gross and
inexcusable negligence.
Issue: Whether or not the complainants are guilty of misuse and misrepresentation of constitutional provisions in
their criminal complaint before the Office of the Ombudsman.
Ruling: In our view, the complainants errors do not belong to the genre of plain and simple errors that lawyers
commit in the practice of their profession. Their plain disregard, misuse and misrepresentation of constitutional
provisions constitute serious misconduct that reflects on their fitness for continued membership in the Philippine
Bar. At the very least, their transgressions are blatant violations of Rule 10.02 of the Code of Professional
Responsibility. To emphasize the importance of requiring lawyers to act candidly and in good faith, an identical
provision is found in Cannon 22 of the Canons of Professional Ethics. Moreover, lawyers are sworn to do no
falsehood, nor consent to the doing of any in court before they are even admitted to the Bar. All these the
complainants appear to have seriously violated.
In the interest of due process and fair play, the complainants Lozano should be heard, in relation to their criminal
complaint before the Ombudsman against retired Chief Justice Hilario G. Davide, Jr. and retired Associate Justice
Ma. Alicia Austria-Martinez, on why they should not be held accountable and accordingly penalized for violations
of their duties as members of the Bar and officers of this Court, and of the ethics of the legal profession.
WHEREFORE, premises considered, we DISMISS the criminal complaint entitled Oliver O. Lozano, et al. v. Hilario G.
Davide, Jr., et al., OMB-C-C-09-0527-J for utter lack of merit, and DECLARE as MOOT and ACADEMIC the question
of compliance with the subpoena duces tecum dated January 11, 2010 that the Ombudsman issued against this
Court.
We hereby ORDER the complainants Atty. Oliver O. Lozano and Atty. Evangeline Lozano-Endriano to EXPLAIN IN
WRITING to this Court, within a non-extendible period of 15 days from receipt of this Resolution, why they should
not be penalized as members of the Bar and as officers of this Court, for their open disregard of the plain terms of
the Constitution and the applicable laws and jurisprudence, and their misuse and misrepresentation of
constitutional provisions in their criminal complaint before the Office of the Ombudsman, entitled Oliver O.
Lozano, et al. v. Hilario G. Davide, Jr., et al., OMB-C-C-09-0527-J.

A.M. No. MTJ-10-1752 Hon. Hector B. Barillo, Acting Presiding Judge, MTC, Guihulngan, Negros Oriental
vs. Hon. Ralph Lantion, et al./Walter J. Aragones vs. Hon. Hector B. Barillo, Acting Presiding Judge, MTC,
Guihulngan, Negros March 10, 2010

Facts: G.R. No. 159117 is a Petition for Certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court, wherein petitioner Judge
Hector B. Barillo (Judge Barillo) seeks the annulment of the Resolution finding Judge Barillo, then Acting Presiding

Judge at the MTC of Guihulngan, Negros Oriental, guilty of grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of
jurisdiction in rendering the Decision dated November 27, 2002 and the Resolution dated December 9, 2002 in
Election Case No. 7-2002.
On the other hand an administrative case arose from a complaint filed by the private respondent in G.R. No.
159117, Walter J. Aragones (Aragones), charging Judge Barillo with violation of Aragones constitutional rights,
violation of the Code of Judicial Conduct, manifest bias and partiality, gross ignorance of the law and abuse of
authority.
Aragones and Oscar C. Lasola (Lasola) vied for the position of Punong Barangay of Poblacion, Guihulngan, Negros
Oriental in the July 15, 2002 Barangay Elections. Aragones was proclaimed the winning candidate thereafter.
Lasola duly filed an election protest before the MTC of Guihulngan on July 24, 2002. Lasola accused the Board of
Election Tellers of illegally adopting their own procedures in the counting and appreciation of ballots, which led to
his defeat. Lasola prayed, inter alia, for the appointment of as many Committees on Revision as may be necessary
that will undertake a recount of the votes, in order that the true will of the electorate of Barangay Poblacion,
Guihulngan, Negros Oriental may be finally determined.
Judge Barillo, of the MTC of Guihulngan directed, in an order dated July 25, 2002, the Clerk of Court of the MTC to
issue summonses to Aragones the Acting Election Officer Raytheon Roy C. Aragones, the Board of Canvassers and
the Board of Election Tellers of Barangay Poblacion, Guihulngan, Negros Oriental, requiring the aforesaid
individuals to file their respective answers within five days from receipt of the notice of the above Order. Judge
Barillo, in accordance with Section 12, Rule 35 of the COMELEC Rules of Procedure, likewise directed the Acting
Election Officer and the Municipal Treasurer of Guihulngan, Negros Oriental to surrender to the custody of the
MTC Clerk of Court all ballot boxes containing ballots and their keys, list of voters with voting records, book of
voters, and other documents used in the July 15, 2002 Barangay Elections of Barangay Poblacion, Guihulngan,
Negros Oriental.
Thereafter, Judge Barillo issued another Order stating that there was a need for the revision of ballots in
consonance with Sections 12, 13, 15 and 16 of Rule 35 of the COMELEC Rules of Procedure.
On July 31, 2002, the counsel of Aragones, Atty. Francisco D. Yap, filed an Entry of Appearance with Motion to
Disqualify Counsel for Protestant (Lasola) in Election Case No. 7-2002. Atty. Yap manifested before the MTC that
Lasolas counsel, Atty. Justo J. Paras, was suspended from the practice of law by this Court in an administrative
case docketed as A.C. No. 5333 and the latter has filed a Motion to Lift Suspension, which was yet to be acted
upon. Pending a reinstatement, Atty. Yap asserted that Atty. Paras was not legally permitted to appear as counsel
in any court in the Philippines. Furthermore, the law firm of Paras and Associates, of which Atty. Paras was a
partner, was allegedly owned by the then incumbent Congressman Jacinto V. Paras, such that the law firm was
disqualified to appear as counsel, in view of the prohibition found in Section 14, Article VI of the Constitution that
no Senator or Member of the House of Representatives may personally appear as counsel before any court of
justice.
Aragones insisted that Judge Barillo committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of
jurisdiction when: 1) he allowed a suspended lawyer to appear as counsel; and 2) he denied the Motion for
Reconsideration filed by Aragones without any hearing and immediately upon receipt thereof on the same date,
August 7, 2002. Aragones prayed that a writ of preliminary injunction be issued, directing Judge Barillo to cease
and desist from hearing Election Case No. 7-2002 until further orders from the RTC; that the MTC Order dated
August 7, 2002 be set aside; that an order be issued directing the MTC to disqualify Atty. Paras from appearing

until the lifting of his suspension by the Court; and that Judge Barillo be ordered to voluntarily inhibit himself from
handling the case.
Issue: Whether or not Judge Barillo should be held liable for gross misconduct and gross ignorance of the law;
Whether or not Judge Barillo is guilty of grave abuse of discretion.
Ruling: Upon a close reading of the Counter-Complaint, the Court finds that the fundamental issues set forth
therein are judicial matters, which should have been raised by the proper parties and addressed in the respective
cases in the due course of the proceedings. Such matters are not subject to administrative scrutiny.
WHEREFORE, the Court rules as follows:
1.
2.

In G.R. No. 159117, the Petition for Certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court is hereby DISMISSED.
In A.M. No. MTJ-10-1752, Judge Hector B. Barillo is hereby SUSPENDED for a period of Three (3) Months
and given a STERN WARNING that a repetition of the same or similar acts will be dealt with more severely.
A.M. No. P-09-2686 Priscilla L. Hernando vs. Juliana Y Bengson, etc. March 10, 2010

Facts: Priscilla L. Hernando instituted an administrative case against Juliana Y. Bengson, a Legal Researcher of the
Regional Trial Court, Branch 104, Quezon City, for Grave Misconduct, Willful Failure to Pay Just Debt and Conduct
Unbecoming a Court Personnel.
Sometime in September 2002, Hernando was scouting for a surveyor, who could assist her in the titling of a
property that her family was planning to buy. According to Hernando, Bengson offered her services for Ten
Thousand (P10, 000.00) Pesos, exclusive of the actual amount that would be spent for the titling. Bengson
succeeded in obtaining the total amount of Seventy-Six Thousand (P76, 000.00) Pesos however, Hernando found
out that no such transfer of title was being processed. Thus, she made several demands on Bengson for the return
of the aggregate amount of P76, 000.00 but to no avail.
According to Bengson, she merely received the claimed amount on behalf of her half-sister, Maritess Villacorte,
who was to serve as the surveyor. Bengson denied any indebtedness to Hernando. Her only fault was accepting the
money for her half-sister.
Issue: Whether or not Juliana Y. Bengson is guilty of misconduct pursuant to Section 52(B)(2) of the Revised
Uniform Rules on Administrative Cases in the Civil Service.
Ruling: In the present case, the OCA found, and we agree, that Bengsons complicity in the failed titling of the
property eyed by Hernando was manifest. Based on the trial judges investigation and that of the OCA,
Bengson offered to help Hernando find a surveyor for a fee, and she was the very same one who directly received
the money intended for the titling of the property. To Hernandos dismay, Villacorte did not turn out to be the
expert that she was made to believe. To our mind, it was the very misrepresentation that precipitated the
transaction that eventually defrauded Hernando. Complainant would not have parted with her hard-earned
money were it not for Bengsons misrepresentation with respect to Villacortes capacity to facilitate the titling of
the property. Respondent cannot extricate herself by claiming that she had no direct participation in the
negotiations.

Bengsons act of dealing with Hernando, more particularly of offering her services to facilitate the titling of
Hernandos property, whether directly or through another, certainly fell short of the above yardstick or standard
for court employees and personnel. She definitely had no business indulging, even indirectly, in the processing or
the titling of the property.
WHEREFORE, finding Juliana Y. Bengson, Legal Researcher, Regional Trial Court, Branch 104, Quezon City, GUILTY
of Simple Misconduct, the Court hereby orders her SUSPENDED from the service, without pay for one (1) month
and one (1) day, with a WARNING that a repetition of the same or similar acts in the future will be dealt with more
severely.

A.M. No. 05-10-20-SC Re: Exemption of the National Power Corporation from payment of filing/docket
fees March 10, 2010

Facts: The National Power Corporation (NPC) seeks clarification from the Court on whether or not it is exempt
from the payment of filing fees, appeal bonds and supersedeas bonds.
On December 6, 2005, the Court issued A.M. No. 05-10-20-SC resolving to DECLARE that the National Power
Corporation (NPC) is still exempt from the payment of filing fees, appeals bond, and supersedeas bonds.
The Court however issued, on October 27, 2009, A.M. No. 05-10-20-SC stating that: The Court Resolved, upon
recommendation of the Committee on the Revision of the Rules of Court, to DENY the request of the National
Power Corporation (NPC) for exemption from the payment of filing fees pursuant to Section 10 of Republic Act No.
6395, as amended by Section 13 of Presidential Decree No. 938. The request appears to run counter to Section 5(5),
Article VIII of the Constitution, in the rule-making power of the Supreme Court over the rules on pleading, practice
and procedure in all courts, which includes the sole power to fix the filing fees of cases in courts. Hence, the
subject letter of NPC for clarification as to its exemption from the payment of filing fees and court fees.
Issue: Whether or not The National Power Corporation (NPC) is exempt from the payment of filing fees, appeal
bonds and supersedeas bonds.
Ruling: The non-exemption of NPC is further fortified by the promulgation on February 11, 2010 of A.M. No. 08-201-0, In re: Petition for Recognition of the Exemption of the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) from
Payment of Legal Fees. In said case, the Court, citing Echegaray v. Secretary of Justice,[1] stressed that the 1987
Constitution took away the power of Congress to repeal, alter or supplement rules concerning pleading, practice,
and procedure; and that the power to promulgate these rules is no longer shared by the Court with Congress and
the Executive.
With the foregoing categorical pronouncement of the Court, it is clear that NPC can no longer invoke Republic Act
No. 6395 (NPC Charter), as amended by Presidential Decree No. 938, as its basis for exemption from the payment
of legal fees.
WHEREFORE, it is hereby CLARIFIED that the National Power Corporation is not exempt from the payment of legal
fees.

A.C. No. 6273 Iluminada M. Vaflor-Fabroa vs. Atty. Oscar Paguinto March 15, 2010

Facts: On June 21, 2001n information for Estafa was filed against Atty. Iluminada M. Vaflor-Fabroa (complainant)
along with others based on a joint affidavit-complaint which Atty. Oscar Paguinto (respondent) prepared and
notarized. As the joint affidavit-complaint did not indicate the involvement of complainant, complainant filed a
Motion to Quash the Information which the trial court granted. Respondents Motion for Reconsideration of the
quashal of the Information was denied.
Respondent also filed six other criminal complaints against complainant for violation of Article 31 of Republic Act
No. 6938 (Cooperative Code of the Philippines) before the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor, but he eventually
filed a Motion to withdraw them.
On October 10, 2001, complainant, who was Chairperson of the General Mariano Alvarez Service Cooperative, Inc.
(GEMASCO), received a Notice of Special General Assembly of GEMASCO on October 14, 2001 to consider the
removal of four members of the Board of Directors (the Board), including her and the General Manager.
The Cooperative Development Authority Acting Regional Director (RD) declared the questioned general assembly
null and void for having been conducted in violation of GEMASCOs By-Laws and the Cooperative Code of the
Philippines.
In her Report and Recommendation, Investigating Commissioner Lolita A. Quisumbing found respondent guilty of
violating the Lawyers Oath as well as Canons 1, 8, 10, and Rule 12.03 of the Code of Professional Responsibility.
Noting that respondent had already been previously suspended for six months, the Commissioner recommended
that respondent be suspended for two years.
Issue: Whether or not respondent Atty. Oscar P. Paguinto is guilty for violation of Canons 1, 8, 10, and Rule 12.03
of the Code of Professional Responsibility and the Lawyers Oath.
Ruling: WHEREFORE, respondent, Atty. Oscar P. Paguinto, is SUSPENDED for two years from the practice of law for
violation of Canons 1, 8, 10, and Rule 12.03 of the Code of Professional Responsibility and the Lawyers Oath,
effective immediately.
Let copies of this Decision be furnished the Office of the Bar Confidant, to be appended to respondents personal
record as an attorney; the Integrated Bar of the Philippines; and all courts in the country for their information and
guidance.

A.C. No. 4973 Spouses Manuel C. Rafols, Jr., et al. vs. Atty. Ricardo G. Barrios, Jr.

Facts: By its Board Resolution No. 1 dated March 7, 1998, the South Cotabato-Sarangani-General Santos City
(SOCSARGEN) Chapter of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) resolved to refer to the IBP Board of Governors
in Manila, for appropriate action and investigation, the purported anomaly involving Judge Teodoro Dizon Jr. and
Atty. Ricardo G. Barrios, Jr.
The matter involving Judge Dizon, Jr., which was docketed as Administrative Matter (AM) No. RTJ-98-1426 entitled
Manuel C. Rafols and Lolita C. Rafols v. Judge Teodoro Dizon, Jr., RTC, General Santos City, Branch 37, was resolved
in a per curiam decision promulgated on January 31, 2006, whereby the Court dismissed Judge Dizon, Jr. from the
service, with forfeiture of all benefits, except accrued leave credits, and with prejudice to re-employment in the
government or any of its subdivisions, instrumentalities or agencies, including government-owned and
government -controlled corporations.

In the same per curiam decision, the Court reiterated its resolution of October 21, 1998 for the Office of the Bar
Confidant (OBC) to conduct an investigation of the actuations of Atty. Barrios, Jr. (respondent), and to render its
report and recommendation.
The respondent did not measure up to the exacting standards of the Law Profession, which demanded of him as an
attorney the absolute abdication of any personal advantage that conflicted in any way, directly or indirectly, with
the interest of his clients. For monetary gain, he disregarded the vow to delay no man for money or malice and
to conduct myself as a lawyer according to the best of my knowledge and discretion, with all good fidelity as well
to the courts as to my clients that he made when he took the Lawyers Oath. He also disobeyed the explicit
command to him as an attorney to accept no compensation in connection with his clients business except from
him or with his knowledge and approval. He conveniently ignored that the relation between him and his clients
was highly fiduciary in nature and of a very delicate, exacting, and confidential character.
Issue: Whether or not respondent Atty. Ricardo G. Barrios, Jr. is guilty of gross misconduct.
Ruling: Verily, the respondent was guilty of gross misconduct, which is improper or wrong conduct, the
transgression of some established and definite rule of action, a forbidden act, a dereliction of duty, willful in
character, and implies a wrongful intent and not mere error of judgment. Any gross misconduct of an attorney in
his professional or private capacity shows him unfit to manage the affairs of others, and is a ground for the
imposition of the penalty of suspension or disbarment, because good moral character is an essential qualification
for the admission of an attorney and for the continuance of such privilege.
The conclusion that the respondent and the disgraced Judge Dizon, Jr. were conspirators against the formers own
clients, whom he was sworn to protect and to serve with utmost fidelity and morality, is inevitable for the Court to
make in this administrative case. And, being conspirators, they both deserve the highest penalty. The disbarment
of the respondent is in order, because such sanction is on par with the dismissal of Judge Dizon, Jr.
WHEREFORE, Atty. Ricardo G. Barrios, Jr. is disbarred.
This decision shall be entered in the records of Atty. Barrios, Jr. as a member of the Philippine Bar.
Copies of the decision shall be furnished to the Bar Confidant and the Integrated Bar of the Philippines for record
purposes; and to the Court Administrator, for circulation to all courts nationwide.

A.M. No. 2008-20-SC Re: Complaints of Mrs. Corazon S. Salvador against Spouses Noel and Amelia
Serafico March 15, 2010

Facts: On August 20, 2008 Corazon S. Salvador filed a complaint against Noel L. Serafico and Amelia G. Serafico for
Bigamy, Immorality, Falsification, Grave Abuse of Authority, Deceit, Fraud, Conduct Unbecoming a Public Officer,
and Violations of the Civil Service Code.
On June 11, 2008, Corazon sent a letter, addressed to the Chief Justice and received by the Office of the Clerk of
Court on June 18, 2008, requesting a certified copy of the pages of the parking logbook of the Courts Old Building
for the period covering May 2006 to May 2007. She wanted to use the data as evidence to bolster her CounterAffidavit against the Complaint-Affidavit filed in March 2008 by Amelia against her for Estafa and BP 22 before the
Office of the City Prosecutor of Paraaque City, docketed as I.S. Nos. 08-D-0832/08-D-0834. Corazon also
requested the Court to investigate and conduct a lifestyle check on Noel and Amelia for alleged ill-gotten wealth

and immorality. Without going into specificsas her lawyers were still collating evidence against the couple
Corazon made general allegations of immorality, fraud/falsification, grave abuse of authority, conduct
unbecoming, and deceit.
The Court informed Corazon of the approval of her request and sent her certified copies of the pertinent pages of
the parking logbook that she requested, with a summary of the dates the two vehicles were parked in the Old
Building parking lot.
The OAS-SC submitted its Memorandum with the findings, to wit: (1) Noel and Amelia committed immorality
because, when they got married in 1994, both had existing marriages which had not yet been judicially annulled or
nullified; and (2) the spouses violated Republic Act No. 3019 and the Code of Conduct for Court Personnel by
misrepresenting that they could help set a case for agenda by the Court En Banc, which amounted to grave
misconduct. Consequently, citing applicable penalties under the Civil Service Rules, it recommended the dismissal
from the service of Noel and the forfeiture of all the benefits of Amelia, including accrued leave credits, both with
prejudice to reemployment in the government, including government-owned and controlled corporations (GOCCs).
Issue: Whether or not is Noel L. Serafico is guilty of disgraceful and immoral conduct, and violation of the Code of
Conduct for Court Personnel.
Ruling: Grave misconduct is punishable with dismissal from the service for the first offense under Sec. 52 (A)(3) of
the Revised Uniform Rules on Administrative Cases in the Civil Service. Moreover, under Sec. 55 of said Rules, if
the respondent is guilty of two (2) or more charges or counts, the penalty to be imposed should be the penalty for
the most serious charge, and the rest considered as aggravating. It is also worthy to note that the Code of Conduct
for Court Personnel provides that all provisions of law, Civil Service rules, and issuances of the Supreme Court or
regulating the conduct of public officers and employees applicable to the Judiciary are deemed incorporated into
this Code. Conformably, in the instant case, the penalty for grave misconduct, which is the more serious charge,
must be applied, and the charge of disgraceful and immoral conduct considered as merely an aggravating
circumstance.
Thus, Noel must be dismissed from the service with forfeiture of all benefits, except accrued leave credits, with
prejudice to reemployment in any branch or instrumentality of government, including GOCCs. For Amelia, for
whom dismissal is no longer possible, the Court having approved her resignation on August 3, 2009 subject to the
outcome of the instant administrative case, the forfeiture of all her benefits, except accrued leave credits, is in
order with prejudice to reemployment in any branch or instrumentality of government, including GOCCs.
WHEREFORE, premises considered, we hereby resolve to:
(1) DISMISS from the service, with forfeiture of all benefits except accrued leave credits, Noel L. Serafico, for
Grave Misconduct, Disgraceful and Immoral Conduct, and violation of the Code of Conduct for Court Personnel;
and
(2) FORFEIT all the benefits, except accrued leave credits, of Amelia G. Serafico, for Grave Misconduct,
Disgraceful and Immoral Conduct, and violation of the Code of Conduct for Court Personnel.
Both Noel L. Serafico and Amelia G. Serafico are BARRED from reemployment in any branch or instrumentality of
government, including GOCCs.

A.M. No. P-08-2559 Ryan S. Plaza, Clerk of Court Municipal Trial Court, Argao, Cebu vs. Atty. Marcelina R.
Amamio, Clerk of Court, Genoveva R. Vasquez, Legal Researcher and Floramay Patalinhug, Court
Stenographer, all of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 26, Argao, Cebu March 19, 2010

Facts: On July 25, 2007, Ryan S. Plaza (Plaza), Clerk of Court II of the Municipal Trial Court of Argao, Cebu, filed a
complaint against Atty. Marcelina R. Amamio (Amamio), Clerk of Court; Genoveva R. Vasquez (Vasquez), Legal
Researcher, and Floramay Patalinghug (Patalinghug), Court Stenographer, all of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of
Argao, Cebu, Branch 26, for intentional violation of Administrative Circular No. 3-92[2], when they allowed Sara
Lee, a private company selling beauty and fashion products, to hold a party and raffle draw inside the Argao Hall of
Justice on July 14, 2007.
In his Report dated August 30, 2007, Judge Perez recommended the dismissal of the complaint for lack of
substantial evidence to substantiate the charge. He found that respondents did not violate A.M No. 01-9-09-SC
which clarified Administrative Circular No. 3-92, for lack of showing that respondents have used the Argao Hall of
Justice for residential, dwelling or sleeping purposes; for lack of proof that respondents have utilized the Argao Hall
of Justice for commercial purposes because there was no buying and selling of goods for profit on July 14, 2007;
and neither was there selling of tickets. Nonetheless, Judge Perez recommended that the respondents be sternly
warned to be more circumspect in complying with the guidelines for the use of the Hall of Justice. However, the
OCA did not agree with the findings of Judge Perez. On the contrary, the OCA found that respondents violated
Administrative Circular No. 3-92 by allowing the holding of a raffle draw in the lobby of the Argao Hall of Justice.
Issue: Whether or not Atty. R. Amamio is guilty of simple misconduct when they allowed Sara Lee to hold a party
and a raffle draw inside the Argao Hall of Justice.
Ruling: ACCORDINGLY, we ADOPT the findings and recommendations of the Office of the Court Administrator.
Atty. Marcelina R. Amamio, Clerk of Court, Regional Trial Court of Argao, Cebu, Branch 26, is hereby found GUILTY
of simple misconduct and is ordered SUSPENDED for one month and one day with a STERN WARNING that a
repetition of the same or similar act shall be dealt with more severely. Ms. Genoveva R. Vasquez, Legal Researcher
and Ms. Floramay Patalinghug, Court Stenographer, both of the Regional Trial Court of Argao, Cebu, Branch 26, are
hereby found GUILTY of violation of office rules and regulations and are REPRIMANDED with a STERN WARNING
that a repetition of the same or similar act shall be dealt with more severely.

A.M. No. P-07-2355 Office of the Court Administrator vs. Atty. Mary Ann Paduganan-Pearanda, Office of
the Clerk of Court, Municiapal Trial Court in Cities, Cagayan de Oro City, Misamis Oriental and Ms. Jocelyn
Mediante March 19, 2010

Facts: This administrative matter stemmed from the partial financial audit of the books of accounts of the
Municipal Trial Court in Cities of Cagayan de Oro City, Misamis Oriental (MTCC-Cagayan de Oro City), conducted by
the Audit Team of the Court Management Office (team) on May 21, 2001. The audit covered the accountability
period of Atty. Mary Ann Paduganan-Pearanda (Pearanda), Clerk of Court, Office of the Clerk of Court, MTCC,
Cagayan de Oro City, from June 1990 as to the Judiciary Development Fund; from April 1996 as to the General
Fund and from April 1996 as to the Fiduciary Fund. Jocelyn Y. Mediante (Mediante), Cashier I of the same court,
however, was included as respondent for being one of the accountable officers.
In the partial audit report submitted by the team, it appeared that upon initial cash count conducted on the first
day of the audit, the cashbook showed a total cash on hand of Sixty-Nine Thousand One Hundred Fifty-Five Pesos
(P69,155.00) representing collections for the Judiciary Development Fund, General Fund, Fiduciary Fund and Legal

Research Fund. However, the cash on hand presented to the audit team was only Sixty-Four Thousand Three
Hundred Fifty-Six and 15/100 (P64, 356.15). When questioned about the discrepancy, they claimed that the
shortage was due to the failure of Ms. Celedonia Suarez, Cash Clerk, to turn over the collections when she went on
leave. To cover the shortage, Pearanda immediately restituted the missing fund.
In a nutshell, the following findings on the books of account of the MTCC-Cagayan de Oro City were established: (a)
a shortage was incurred in the Judiciary Development Fund amounting to P49, 589.14; and (b) there was an overremittance of P269.50 to the General Fund. With regard to the accountabilities pertaining to the Fiduciary Fund,
the team instructed Pearanda to submit the bank statements/passbooks issued by the Land Bank of the
Philippines (LBP) in order to determine the exact cash accountabilities for the said fund.
Issue: Whether or not Atty. Mary Ann Paduganan-Pearanda and Ms. Jocelyn Mediante are guilty of simple neglect
of duty.
Ruling: WHEREFORE, the Court finds respondents Atty. Mary Ann Paduganan-Pearanda and Ms. Jocelyn
Mediante GUILTY of SIMPLE NEGLECT OF DUTY. They are ordered SUSPENDED from office for two (2) months
effective immediately upon their receipt of this decision. They are likewise STERNLY WARNED that a repetition of
the same or similar offense shall be dealt with more severely.
The Fiscal Management and Budget Office is DIRECTED to compute the amount deposited in excess of P72,745.00
and reimburse the same to Pearanda and Mediante.
The Court further REMINDS Judge Eleuteria Badoles-Algodon to exercise effective supervision over the personnel
of her court, especially those charged with the collection of the Fiduciary Fund and other trust funds

A.M. No. P-08-2458 Crisostomo M. Plopinio vs. Atty. Liza Zabala-Cario, etc. March 22, 2010

Facts: The instant administrative case stemmed from a Letter dated 20 January 2007 of Crisostomo M. Plopinio
(complainant), informing the Court that he had charged Atty. Liza D. Zabala-Cario (respondent Atty. Cario), Clerk
of Court, Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 29, Libmanan, Camarines Sur, criminally and administratively before
the Office of the Ombudsman, for violation of Section 4(c), Republic Act No. 6713 and Section 3(e), Republic Act
No. 3019 on 10 February 2006 and 22 March 2006. These were docketed as OMB-L-A-06-0072-A and OMB-L-C-060110-A, and OMB-L-C-02-98-C and OMB-L-A-06-0212-C, respectively.
Respondent Atty. Carios non-disclosure of her pending Ombudsman cases was by reason of her interpretation of
what a formal charge meant as distinguished from a complaint. She banked on the distinction of these terms as
defined under the Uniform Rules on Administrative Cases in the Civil Service. She correctly argued that the term
formal charge in the PDS must find its meaning in the Uniform Rules on Administrative Cases in the Civil Service.
For after all, both the Uniform Rules on Administrative Cases in the Civil Service and the CS Form 212 (Revised
2005), otherwise known as the Personal Data Sheet, had been promulgated and revised by the Civil Service
Commission itself.
Issue: Whether or not Atty. Liza D. Zabala-Cario is guilty for violation of Section 4(c), Republic Act No. 6713 and
Section 3(e), Republic Act No. 3019.
Ruling: WHEREFORE, in the light of foregoing, the instant administrative complaint against Atty. Liza D. ZabalaCario, Clerk of Court, RTC, Branch 29, Libmanan, Camarines Sur is hereby DISMISSED for lack of merit.

The Office of the Court Administrator is DIRECTED to cause the dissemination of the guidelines set forth herein.

A.M. No. RTJ-10-2226 Re: Cases Submitted for decision before Hon. Meliton G. Emuslan, former Judge,
Regional Trial Court, Branch 47, Urdaneta City, Pangasinan March 22, 2010

Facts: Judge Meliton G. Emuslan, Regional Trial Court (RTC) Judge, Branch 47, Urdaneta, Pangasinan, applied for
Compulsory Retirement Benefits under Republic Act No. 910, as amended, effective October 23, 2009. In the
process of completing his Certificate of Clearance, however, his Branch Clerk of Court, Atty. Concepcion A.
Macabitas, issued a certification that Judge Emuslan had forty-three (43) cases already submitted for decision that
had remained undecided beyond the reglementary period. The judge did not indicate any reason for not acting on
the forty-three (43) cases, except in Criminal Case No. U-9757, entitled People v. Amor Pader, for Illegal
Possession of Prohibited Drugs, wherein he attributed the delay to lack of transcript of stenographic notes.
Because of this, the Office of the Court Administrator (OCA), in a Memorandum dated January 11, 2010, withheld
the Payment of Judge Emuslans retirement/gratuity benefits.
In its report, the OCA found respondent liable for gross inefficiency, and recommended that he be fined
P50,000.00, to be deducted from his retirement/gratuity benefits.
Issue: Whether or not Judge Meliton G. Emuslan is guilty of Gross Inefficiency for failure to decide the forty-three
(43) cases submitted for decision within the reglementary period.
Ruling: Members of the judiciary have the sworn duty to administer justice without undue delay. Thus, failure to
decide cases within the periods fixed by law warrants the imposition of administrative sanctions. Considering the
number of cases left undecided and the lack of any plausible explanation for such delay, the imposition of a fine of
FIFTY THOUSAND PESOS (P50, 000.00) for the 43 cases that Judge Emuslan failed to decide at the time of his
retirement is proper. The said amount should be deducted from his retirement/gratuity benefits.
Section 15, Article VIII of the 1987 Constitution mandates lower courts to decide or resolve cases or matters for
decision or final resolution within three (3) months from date of submission. Failure to decide cases within the 90day reglementary period may warrant imposition of administrative sanctions on the erring judge.
Canon 3, Rule 3.05 of the Code of Judicial Conduct enjoins judges to dispose of their business promptly and to
decide cases within the required period. Thus, all cases or matters must be decided or resolved by all lower courts
within a period of three (3) months from submission.
WHEREFORE, the Court finds Judge Meliton G. Emuslan, Regional Trial Court, Branch 47, Urdaneta City,
Pangasinan, GUILTY of Gross Inefficiency for failure to decide the forty-three (43) cases submitted for decision
within the reglementary period, and hereby imposes a fine of P50, 000.00, the amount to be deducted from his
retirement/gratuity benefits.

A.M. No. P-04-1819 Office of the Court Administrator vs. Macario C. Villanueva, etc. March 22, 2010

Facts: In a memorandum dated May 20, 2004,the Office of the Court Administrator (OCA) reported the result of
the financial audit conducted at the Municipal Trial Court (MTC) of Bongabon, Nueva Ecija in November 2003. In
particular, the audit showed that respondent Macario C. Villanueva, clerk of court of MTC Bongabon, incurred cash
shortages.

The OCA recommended that respondent be made to pay the said amounts and deposit these to their respective
accounts and, thereafter, to submit validated deposit slips as proofs of payment. It also proposed that respondent
be made to submit the following: the corresponding court orders and acknowledgment receipts pertaining to
unwithdrawn cash bonds amounting to P221,700 as proof that they were duly refunded to the bondsmen; the
corresponding court orders on withdrawn cash bonds totaling P31,000 and the acknowledgment receipts on
withdrawn cash bonds amounting to P164,000
Issue: Whether or not respondent Macario C. Villanueva is guilty of dishonesty, gross neglect of duty and grave
misconduct.
Ruling: WHEREFORE, the respondent Macario C. Villanueva is hereby found GUILTY of dishonesty, gross neglect of
duty and grave misconduct. He is DISMISSED from the service, his retirement benefits (excluding accrued leave
credits) are FORFEITED and he is PERPETUALLY DISQUALIFIED from reemployment in the government or in any
government-owned or controlled corporation.
The Financial Management Office of the Office of the Court Administrator is directed to COMPUTE the final
monetary value of all the respondents accrued leave credits, dispensing with the usual documentary
requirements, and to APPLY the same to the shortage incurred by the respondent, observing the following order of
preference: Fiduciary Fund, Special Allowance for the Judiciary and Clerk of Court Fund.
Finally, respondent is ordered to RESTITUTE the portion of the shortage not covered by the money value of his
accrued leave credits, if any. If he fails to do so within a non-extendible period of one (1) month from receipt of
the resolution, the OCA is hereby directed to commence criminal and civil proceedings against respondent for the
recovery of the amounts due.

A.M. No. MTJ-07-1663 Roland Ernest Marie Jose Spelmans vs. Judge Gaydifredo T. Ocampo, Municipal
Trial Court, Polomolok, South Cotabato March 26, 2010

Facts: This is a case about the improper conduct of an MTC judge who kept properties owned by the complainant
while conducting a preliminary investigation.
On April 8, 2006 complainant Roland Ernest Marie Jose Spelmans (Spelmans), a Belgian, filed before the Office of
the Ombudsman, Mindanao, a complaint for theft and graft and corruption against respondent Municipal Trial
Court (MTC) Judge Gaydifredo Ocampo (Judge Ocampo) of Polomolok, South Cotabato.
Spelmans alleged in his affidavit that in 2002 his wife, Annalyn Villan (Villan), filed a complaint for theft against
Joelito Rencio (Rencio) and his wife from whom Spelmans rented a house in Polomolok, South Cotabato. Spelmans
claimed, however, that this complaint was but his wifes scheme for taking out his personal properties from that
house. In the course of the investigation of the complaint, Judge Ocampo, together with the parties, held an
ocular inspection of that rented house and another one where Spelmans kept some of the personal belongings of
his late mother.
During the ocular inspection, Judge Ocampo allegedly took pieces of antique, including a marble bust of Spelmans
mother, a flower pot, a statue, and a copper scale of justice. A week later, Judge Ocampo went back and further
took six Oakwood chairs and its table, four gold champagne glasses, and a deer horn chandelier.

Judge Ocampo denied the charge, pointing out that Spelmans wife, Villan (the complainant in that theft case),
gave him certain household items for safekeeping before she filed the case of theft against Rencio. On August 28,
2002, however, after conducting a preliminary investigation in the case, Judge Ocampo dismissed Villans
complaint.
According to Judge Ocampo, when he received a copy of Spelmans complaint for grave misconduct did he learn of
the couples separation and his unwitting part in their legal battles. As a last note, Judge Ocampo said that instead
of hurling baseless accusations at him, Spelmans should have thanked him because he kept his personal properties
in good condition.
Issue: Whether or not Judge Gaydifredo Ocampo is guilty gross misconduct when he kept properties owned by the
complainant while conducting a preliminary investigation.
Ruling: For the above reasons, the OCA erred in regarding Judge Ocampos offense as falling merely under Section
11(B), in relation to Section 9(4) of Rule 140, as amended, which is a less serious charge of violation of Supreme
Court rules, punishable by either suspension from office without salary and other benefits for not less than one nor
more than three months or a fine of more than P10, 000.00 but not exceeding P20, 000.00. On the other hand,
impropriety is treated as a light charge and is punishable by a fine of not less than P1,000.00 but not exceeding
P10,000.00 or by censure, reprimand, or admonition with warning.
Respondent judge should be made accountable for gross misconduct constituting violations of the New Code of
Judicial Conduct, specifically Section 6 of Canon 1, Section 1 of Canon 2, and Section 1 of Canon 4. From the
circumstances, his acts were motivated by malice. He was not a warehouseman for personal properties of litigants
in his court. He certainly would have kept Spelmans properties had the latter not filed a complaint against him.
He was guilty of covetousness. It affected the performance of his duties as an officer of the court and tainted the
judiciarys integrity. He should be punished accordingly.
WHEREFORE, the Court finds respondent Judge Gaydifredo Ocampo GUILTY of gross misconduct and IMPOSES on
him the penalty of SUSPENSION from office without salary and other benefits for six (6) months. He is STERNLY
WARNED that a repetition of the same or similar act shall be dealt with more severely.

A.C. No. 5768 Atty. Bonifacio T. Barandon, Jr. vs. Atty. Edwin Z. Ferrer, Sr. March 26, 2010

Facts: This administrative case concerns a lawyer who is claimed to have hurled invectives upon another lawyer
and filed a baseless suit against him.
On January 11, 2001 complainant Atty. Bonifacio T. Barandon, Jr. filed a complaint-affidavit with the Integrated Bar
of the Philippines Commission on Bar Discipline (IBP-CBD) seeking the disbarment, suspension from the practice of
law, or imposition of appropriate disciplinary action against respondent Atty. Edwin Z. Ferrer, Sr.
Canon 8 of the Code of Professional Responsibility commands all lawyers to conduct themselves with courtesy,
fairness and candor towards their fellow lawyers and avoid harassing tactics against opposing counsel. Specifically,
in Rule 8.01, the Code provides: Rule 8.01. A lawyer shall not, in his professional dealings, use language which is
abusive, offensive or otherwise improper.

Atty. Ferrers actions do not measure up to this Canon. The evidence shows that he imputed to Atty. Barandon
the falsification of the Salaysay Affidavit of the plaintiff in Civil Case 7040. He made this imputation with pure
malice for he had no evidence that the affidavit had been falsified and that Atty. Barandon authored the same.
Issue: Whether or not Atty. Edwin Z. Ferrer, Sr. is guilty of the charges against him; and whether or not the penalty
imposed on him is justified.
Ruling: All lawyers should take heed that they are licensed officers of the courts who are mandated to maintain
the dignity of the legal profession, hence they must conduct themselves honorably and fairly. Atty. Ferrers display
of improper attitude, arrogance, misbehavior, and misconduct in the performance of his duties both as a lawyer
and officer of the court, before the public and the court, was a patent transgression of the very ethics that lawyers
are sworn to uphold.
ACCORDINGLY, the Court AFFIRMS the May 22, 2008 Resolution of the IBP Board of Governors in CBD Case 01-809
and ORDERS the suspension of Atty. Edwin Z. Ferrer, Sr. from the practice of law for one year effective upon his
receipt of this Decision.
Let a copy of this Decision be entered in Atty. Ferrers personal record as an attorney with the Office of the Bar
Confidant and a copy of the same be served to the IBP and to the Office of the Court Administrator for circulation
to all the courts in the land.

A.C. No. 7472 Ligaya Maniago vs. Atty. Lourdes I. De Dios March 30, 2010

Facts: The instant case arose from an Affidavit-Complaint dated April 2, 2007 filed by Ligaya Maniago, seeking the
disbarment of Atty. Lourdes I. de Dios for engaging in the practice of law despite having been suspended by the
Court.
Complainant alleged that she filed a criminal case against Hiroshi Miyata, a Japanese national, before the Regional
Trial Court (RTC), Olongapo City, Branch 73, for violation of Presidential Decree No. 603, docketed as Criminal Case
No. 699-2002. The accused was represented by Atty. De Dios, with office address at 22 Magsaysay Drive,
Olongapo City. Complainant then learned from the RTC staff that Atty. De Dios had an outstanding suspension
order from the Supreme Court since 2001, and was, therefore, prohibited from appearing in court. Complainant
further alleges that there is a civil case (Civil Case No. 355-0-2005) and another case (Special Proceeding No. M6153) filed against Miyata before the RTC, Makati City, Branch 134, where Atty. De Dios appeared as his counsel.
Complainant averred that Atty. De Dios ought to be disbarred from the practice of law for her flagrant violation
and deliberate disobedience of a lawful order of the Supreme Court.
A problem arose when Judge Josefina Farrales, in her capacity as Acting Executive Judge of the RTC, Olongapo City,
erroneously issued a directive on March 15, 2007, ordering respondent to desist from practicing law and revoking
her notarial commission for the years 2007 and 2008. Knowing that the directive was rather questionable,
respondent, nonetheless, desisted from law practice in due deference to the court order. Thereafter, respondent
filed a Motion for Clarification with the Supreme Court on account of Judge Farrales letters to all courts in
Olongapo City and to some municipalities in Zambales, which gave the impression that Atty. De Dios is not yet
allowed to resume her practice of law and that her notarial commission for the years 2007 and 2008 is revoked.

Respondent averred that for the period stated in the affidavit of complainant Maniago, during which she allegedly
practiced law, she was neither suspended nor in any way prohibited from practice. The complaint, she added, was
baseless and malicious, and should be dismissed outright.
A Supplemental Comment was thereafter filed by respondent, stating that there were no new matters raised in the
Supplemental Affidavit, and asserting that the opinion of Bar Confidant, Atty. Ma. Cristina B. Layusa, as contained
in her letter dated 12 February 2007, cannot supersede the Resolution dated April 23, 2007 of this Honorable
Court. According to her, the resolution should be the final nail to the coffin of this case.
Issue: Whether or not the lawyer must be suspended from the practice of law.
Ruling: t must be remembered that the practice of law is not a right but a mere privilege and, as such, must bow to
the inherent regulatory power of the Supreme Court to exact compliance with the lawyers public responsibilities.
Whenever it is made to appear that an attorney is no longer worthy of the trust and confidence of his clients and
of the public, it becomes not only the right but also the duty of the Supreme Court, which made him one of its
officers and gave him the privilege of ministering within its Bar, to withdraw that privilege. However, as much as
the Court will not hesitate to discipline an erring lawyer, it should, at the same time, also ensure that a lawyer may
not be deprived of the freedom and right to exercise his profession unreasonably.
IN LIGHT OF THE FOREGOING, it is hereby RESOLVED that the following guidelines be observed in the matter of the
lifting of an order suspending a lawyer from the practice of law:
1) After a finding that respondent lawyer must be suspended from the practice of law, the Court shall render a
decision imposing the penalty;
2) Unless the Court explicitly states that the decision is immediately executory upon receipt thereof, respondent
has 15 days within which to file a motion for reconsideration thereof. The denial of said motion shall render the
decision final and executory;
3) Upon the expiration of the period of suspension, respondent shall file a Sworn Statement with the Court,
through the Office of the Bar Confidant, stating therein that he or she has desisted from the practice of law and
has not appeared in any court during the period of his or her suspension;
4) Copies of the Sworn Statement shall be furnished to the Local Chapter of the IBP and to the Executive Judge of
the courts where respondent has pending cases handled by him or her, and/or where he or she has appeared as
counsel;
5) The Sworn Statement shall be considered as proof of respondents compliance with the order of suspension;
6) Any finding or report contrary to the statements made by the lawyer under oath shall be a ground for the
imposition of a more severe punishment, or disbarment, as may be warranted.

LEGAL ETHICS, CASE DIGEST.


APRIL 2010

A.M. No. P-06-2224


April 30, 2010
[Formerly OCA IPI No. 06-2367-P]
ATTY. ALBERTO II BORBON REYES, Complainant,
vs.
CLERK OF COURT V RICHARD C. JAMORA, DEPUTY SHERIFF IV LUCITO ALEJO, and CLERK III EULOGIO T.
MONDIDO, all of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 56, Makati City, Respondents.

DECISION

Facts:
Complainant Atty. Alberto II Borbon Reyes is the counsel of Amador Pastrana, one of the defendants in
the afore-mentioned civil case. On December 9, 2004, Judge Nemesio Felix, then Presiding Judge of the Regional
Trial Court of Makati City, Branch 56, rendered a judgment in the subject case in favor of the plaintiff. On June 17,
2005, said Decision had become final and executory. On June 29, 2005, unknown to Reyes, a Writ of Execution was
issued by Jamora relative to the December 9, 2004 decision.
Meanwhile, dissatisfied with the Decision, Reyes, on July 4, 2005, filed a petition for relief from judgment.
On November 18, 2005, Judge Reinato Quilala, Pairing Judge of the court a quo, granted the petition for relief and
ordered the deputy sheriff to desist from implementing the Decision dated December 9, 2004. However, Reyes
discovered later that the December 9, 2004 Decision had already been executed by virtue of a writ of execution.
Thus, Reyes filed the instant administrative complaint against Jamora, Alejo and Mondido. He insisted
that at the time he filed the petition, no writ of execution had been issued yet in the said case. Reyes pointed out
that neither the Writ of Execution nor the Sheriffs Return on the service of the writ was attached to the records of
the case.
Moreover, Reyes averred that there was an over-levy because the plaintiffs claim amounted to a total
ofP550, 000.00 ($10,000.00) only, but Alejo allegedly levied P7, 000.000.00 worth of real properties of his client.
Finally, Reyes accused Mondido of losing the copy of the petition for relief from judgment he filed in court. Thus,
Reyes claimed that Jamora, Alejo and Mondido connived together, as shown by their alleged concerted actions, to
prejudice the rights of his client.
ISSUE: whether to execute the writ or not. He is mandated to uphold the majesty of the law as embodied in the
decision.
HELD:
In the instant case, respondent Sheriff was merely performing his ministerial duty when he implemented the writ
of execution issued by the court. Alejo, however, should be reminded that it is required of him to pay the required
fees before the implementation of the writ of execution.
It is settled that in administrative proceedings, the complainant has the burden of proving the allegations in his
complaint with substantial evidence, and in the absence of evidence to the contrary, the presumption is that
respondent has regularly performed his duties. Indeed, in the absence of cogent proof, bare allegations of
misconduct cannot prevail over the presumption of regularity in the performance of official functions The Court
cannot give credence to charges based on mere suspicion and speculation.
WHEREFORE, the instant administrative complaint filed against respondents Atty. Richard C. Jamora, Sheriff Lucito
V. Alejo and Eulogio T. Mondido, of the Regional Trial Court of Makati City, Branch 56, is DISMISSED for lack of
merit. Respondent Alejo, however, is ADMONISHED to be more vigilant in complying with payment of fees as
required under Rule 141 of the Rules of Court in the implementation of writs of execution.
SO ORDERED.

A.M. No. P-07-2322


April 23, 2010
DALMACIO Z. TOMBOC, Complainant,
vs.
SHERIFFS LIBORIO M. VELASCO, JR., MEDAR T. PADAO, and STEPHEN R. BENGUA, all of the REGIONAL TRIAL
COURT, DIPOLOG CITY, Respondents.
DECISION
Facts:
Sometime in the last week of May or early part of June 2003, Velasco went to Barangay Silano, Pian,
Zamboanga del Norte to serve a writ of demolition in Spl. Civil Case No. 645. Complainant resides in the place,
where he also has his piggery and poultry businesses. The subject property of the writ covered Lot Nos. 80-A and
81-A. Complainant informed Velasco that his house was constructed on Lot No. 81-B which he acquired from
Erlinda Naranjo by pacto de retro sale. Velasco told complainant that he would bring a surveyor at the time of the
demolition proceedings.

On 8 July 2003, complainant received a notice of demolition, signed by Velasco, from the Provincial Sheriff.
However, due to lack of time, complainant was not able to take any legal action on the matter.
On 10 July 2003, Velasco and his companions started the demolition of Leonardo Naranjos house. The following
day, Velasco and his companions demolished complainants house, despite complainants pleas and insistence that
his house was erected on Lot No. 81-B which was not covered by the writ of demolition.
Issue:
Whether or not the rights of individuals might be jeopardized by their neglect.

HELD:
The findings and recommendation of the OCA are well-taken, except for the recommended penalty.
It is clear that Velasco failed to exercise due diligence in the performance of his duties. The writ of demolition
covered only Lot Nos. 80-A and 81-A. He was informed beforehand that complainants house was constructed on
Lot No. 81-B. He relied on the representative of the plaintiff in Spl. Civil Case No. 645 who told him that
complainants house should be included in the demolition instead of conducting a relocation survey on the areas
involved in the case.
We reiterate that sheriffs, as public officers, are repositories of public trust and are under obligation to perform
the duties of their office honestly, faithfully, and to the best of their abilities. Sheriffs are bound to use reasonable
skill and diligence in the performance of their official duties, particularly where the rights of individuals might be
jeopardized by their neglect. In this case, Velasco failed to act with caution in the implementation of the writ of
demolition, which resulted to damage to complainant.
The penalty for inefficiency and incompetence in the performance of official duties is suspension ranging
from six months and one day to one year for the first offense. We accordingly modify the penalty recommended
by the OCA.As regards the complaint against Padao and Bengua, Velasco himself testified that while they were
present during the demolition, they did not participate in the demolition of complainants house because the writ
of demolition was assigned to him. Therefore, the complaint against them should be dismissed.
WHEREFORE, we find Sheriff Liborio M. Velasco, Jr. of the Regional Trial Court of Dipolog City GUILTY of
inefficiency and incompetence in the performance of official duties and orders and SUSPEND him from service for
six months and one day without pay and other fringe benefits including leave credits, with a stern warning that a
repetition of the same or similar act in the future shall be dealt with more severely. We DISMISS the complaint
against Medar T. Padao and Stephen R. Bengua.
SO ORDERED
A.M. No. RTJ-09-2190
April 23, 2010
(Formerly OCA IPI No. 08-2909-RTJ)
HADJA SOHURAH DIPATUAN, Complainant,
vs.
JUDGE MAMINDIARA P. MANGOTARA, Respondent.

DECISION
FACTS:
On September 5, 2001, a criminal case for murder, docketed as Criminal Case No. 3620-01 was filed
against Ishak M. Abdul and Paisal Dipatuan, complainants husband, before the Regional Trial Court of Marawi City,
Branch 10, then presided by Judge Yusoph Pangadapun, for the killing of Elias Ali Taher. Judge Pangadapun died
during the pendency of the case. The case was transferred to different judges designated by the Supreme Court to
act as Presiding Judge of Branch 10, namely, Judge Amer Ibrahim, Judge Rasad Balindog, Judge Macaundas
Hadjirasul, Judge Moslemen Macarambon, respondent Judge Mamindiara Mangotara, and Judge Lacsaman
Busran.
ISSUE:
WHETHER OR NOT court ruling or decision is the subject of review, without the written consent of all
parties in interest, signed by them and entered upon the record.
HELD:
The rule is very explicit as to when admission to bail is discretionary on the part of the respondent Judge.
It is imperative that judges be conversant with basic legal principles and possessed sufficient proficiency in the law.
In offenses punishable by reclusion perpetua or death, the accused has no right to bail when the evidence of guilt
is strong. Thus, as the accused in Criminal Case No. 3620-01 had been sentenced to reclusion perpetua, the bail
should have been cancelled, instead of increasing it as respondent Judge did.
While a judge may not be held liable for gross ignorance of the law for every erroneous order that he renders, it is
also axiomatic that when the legal principle involved is sufficiently basic, lack of conversance with it constitutes
gross ignorance of the law. Indeed, even though a judge may not always be subjected to disciplinary action for
every erroneous order or decision he renders, that relative immunity is not a license to be negligent or abusive and
arbitrary in performing his adjudicatory prerogatives. It does not mean that a judge need not observe propriety,
discreetness and due care in the performance of his official functions. This is because if judges wantonly misuse
the powers vested on them by the law, there will not only be confusion in the administration of justice but also
oppressive disregard of the basic requirements of due process.
Clearly, in the instant case, the act of Mangotara in increasing the bail bond of the accused instead of cancelling it
is not a mere deficiency in prudence, discretion and judgment on the part of respondent Judge, but a patent
disregard of well-known rules. When an error is so gross and patent, such error produces an inference of bad faith,
making the judge liable for gross ignorance of the law. It is a pressing responsibility of judges to keep abreast with
the law and changes therein, as well as with the latest decisions of the Supreme Court. One cannot seek refuge in a
mere cursory acquaintance with the statute and procedural rules. Ignorance of the law, which everyone is bound
to know, excuses no one not even judges. IGNORANTIA JURIS QUOD QUISQUE SCIRE TENETUR NON EXCUSAT.
WHEREFORE, the Court finds JUDGE MAMINDIARA P. MANGOTARA, retired Presiding Judge of the Regional Trial
Court of Iligan City, Branch 1, GUILTY of GROSS IGNORANCE OF THE LAW for which he is FINED in the amount of
Twenty Thousand Pesos (P20,000,00), to be deducted from his retirement benefits.
SO ORDERED.

A.M. OCA IPI No. 07-2630-RTJ

April 23, 2010


FRANCISCO P. OCAMPO, Complainant,
vs.
JUDGE EVELYN S. ARCAYA-CHUA, Regional Trial Court, Branch 144, Makati City, Respondent.
x - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -x
A.M. No. RTJ-07-2049
OFFICE OF THE COURT ADMINISTRATOR, Complainant,
vs.
JUDGE EVELYN S. ARCAYA-CHUA, Regional Trial Court, Branch 144, Makati City, Respondent.
x - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -x
A.M. No. RTJ-08-2141
(Formerly A.M. No. 07-5-263- RTC Re: Initial Report on the Judicial Audit Conducted at the Regional Trial Court,
Branch 144, Makati City)
OFFICE OF THE COURT ADMINISTRATOR, Complainant,
vs.
JUDGE EVELYN S. ARCAYA-CHUA, Regional Trial Court, Branch 144, Makati City, and COURT STENOGRAPHER
VICTORIA C. JAMORA, Regional Trial Court, Branch 144, Makati City, Respondents.
x - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -x
A.M. No. RTJ-07-2093
SYLVIA SANTOS, Complainant,
vs.
JUDGE EVELYN S. ARCAYA-CHUA, Regional Trial Court, Branch 144, Makati City, Respondent.
DECISION
Facts:
These consolidated cases stemmed from the administrative complaints filed against respondent Judge
Evelyn S. Arcaya-Chua. A decision has been rendered in A.M. No. RTJ-07-2093, entitled Sylvia Santos v. Judge
Evelyn S. Arcaya-Chua, from which the respondent sought reconsideration. The immediately preceding case was
consolidated with the subsequent administrative complaints filed against respondent Judge in a Resolution dated
April 14, 2009 of the Court en banc.
During the hearing, upon agreement of the parties, respondent Judge issued an Order enjoining Francisco
Ocampo from taking their minor daughters out of the country without the court's permission and directing him to
allow his wife, Milan, visitation rights over their minor daughters in their residence in Meycauayan, Bulacan. Since
then, Milan exercised visitation rights over the minors and communicated with them through their cellular phones.
Francisco Ocampo filed a motion to dismiss on the ground of lack of jurisdiction, alleging that he and Milan were
residents and registered voters of Meycauayan, Bulacan. He then served written interrogatories to his wife, and
presented testimonial and documentary evidence to prove that his wife was not really a resident of Makati City.

ISSUE:
WHETHER OR NOT, there was an official receipt evidencing payment of said fee.
WHETHER OR NOT, There was payment of the marriage solemnization fees, simply because most of the
dates of the wedding indicated in the marriage certificates were not the same as the dates indicated in the official
receipts.
HELD:
In regard to the denial of the Motion to dismiss in the Ocampo Case, without necessarily ruling on the
correctness of respondent Judge Arcaya-Chuas Order, Justice Salazar-Fernando believed that respondent Judge's
disposition thereof fell within the ambit of discretion vested upon her as a judge. Not giving credence to the
evidence presented by the movants with respect to the residence of Milan Ocampo was well within her judicial
discretion. Assuming the same was erroneous, no administrative liability attached thereon in the absence of
sufficient evidence that she ruled in such manner, because of a corrupt or dishonest motive, bad faith, fraud or
malice. The evidence presented by complainant Ocampo as to Milan's residence might constitute proof of her
"domicile," but such evidence was not necessarily irreconcilable with the fact that Milan might be maintaining
residence elsewhere other than Meycauayan, Bulacan, considering her estranged relationship with complainant
Ocampo.
As regards the alleged suddenness of the scheduled TPO hearing, Justice Salazar-Fernando found respondent
Judge Arcaya-Chua's explanation acceptable. The order setting the case for hearing on December 13, 2006 was
issued on December 8, 2006. Thus, there was an interim of at least five days from the issuance of the order and the
date of the scheduled hearing. It did not appear that respondent Judge had any hand in the belated service of the
notice to the complainant. Justice Salazar-Fernando held that respondent Judge cannot be faulted as to the alleged
suddenness of the said hearing, because a prayer for TPO requires to be acted upon with dispatch. In that respect,
no wrong-doing, fraud, bad faith, malice or even arbitrariness can be attributed to respondent Judge.

A.M. No. P-05-1935


April 23, 2010
(Formerly A.M. No. 04-10-599-RTC)

OFFICE OF THE COURT ADMINISTRATOR, Complainant,


vs.
Atty. FERMIN M. OFILAS and Ms. ARANZAZU V. BALTAZAR, Clerk of Court and Clerk IV, respectively, Regional
Trial Court, San Mateo, Rizal, Respondents.
RESOLUTION
FACTS:
This administrative matter stemmed from a financial audit conducted by the Office of the Court
Administrator (OCA) on the books of accounts of the Office of the Clerk of Court, Regional Trial Court of San
Mateo, Rizal. The audit, covering the period from January 1992 to March 4, 2004, bared irregularities in the
handling of the financial transactions of the court and a considerable shortage in the financial accountabilities of
Atty. Fermin M. Ofilas and Ms. Aranzazu V. Baltazar, then Clerk of Court and Clerk IV, respectively.
ISSUE:
Whether OR NOT it is committed by the highest judicial official or by the lowest member of the
workforce, any act of impropriety can seriously erode the peoples confidence in the Judiciary.
HELD:
The Court adopts the findings and recommendations of the OCA.
No less than the Constitution mandates that "public office is a public trust." Service with loyalty, integrity and
efficiency is required of all public officers and employees, who must, at all times, be accountable to the people. In
a long line of cases, the Court had untiringly reminded employees involved in the administration of justice to
faithfully adhere to their mandated duties and responsibilities. Whether committed by the highest judicial official
or by the lowest member of the workforce, any act of impropriety can seriously erode the peoples confidence in
the Judiciary. "Verily, the image of a court of justice is necessarily mirrored in the conduct of its personnel. It is
their sacred duty to maintain the good name and standing of the court as a true temple of justice." Corollary to
this, failure to live up to their avowed duty constitutes a transgression of the trust reposed on them as court
officers and inevitably leads to an exercise of disciplinary authority. Thus, the Court "condemns and would never
countenance any conduct, act or omission on the part of all those involved in the administration of justice which
would violate the norm of public accountability and would diminish or even just tend to diminish the faith of the
people in the Judiciary."The Judiciary expects the best from all its employees who must be paradigms in the
administration of justice.
WHEREFORE, Ms. Aranzazu V. Baltazar, Clerk IV of Regional Trial Court, San Mateo, Rizal is hereby found
GUILTY for gross dishonesty, grave misconduct and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the public and is
hereby DISMISSED from the service with forfeiture of all retirement benefits and with prejudice to re-employment
in the government, including government-owned or controlled corporations. Further, Ms. Aranzazu V. Baltazar is
hereby ORDERED to restitute the balance of the shortage and unauthorized withdrawals in the Fiduciary Fund in
the amount of P1, 496,133.38.
The Civil Service Commission is hereby ORDERED to cancel the civil service eligibility of Ms. Aranzazu V. Baltazar, if
any, in accordance with Section 9, Rule XIV of the Omnibus Rules Implementing Book V of Executive Order No. 292.

A.M. No. RTJ-08-2158


April 13, 2010
(Formerly OCA IPI No. 04-2018-RTJ)
ALFREDO FAVOR, Complainant,
vs.
JUDGE CESAR O. UNTALAN, REGIONAL TRIAL COURT, BRANCH 149, MAKATI CITY, Respondent.
COURT DECISION:
Before this Court is the Motion for Reconsideration dated September 28, 2009, filed by respondent Judge,
of the Decision dated July 30, 2009, finding him guilty of violating Rule 2.03 of the Code of Judicial Conduct and
ordering him to pay a fine of P5, 000.00
In his Motion, respondent Judge alleged that the penalty of fine of P5, 000.00 was too severe, considering that he
is a first-time offender. Respondent Judge now prays that the Decision be reconsidered and, in lieu thereof, the
recommendation of the Investigating Judge be adopted as to the imposable penalty.
In view of the foregoing, while this Court is duty-bound to sternly wield a corrective hand to discipline its errant
employees and to weed out those who are undesirable, this Court also has the discretion to temper the harshness
of its judgment with mercy. Thus, in the interest of fair play and compassionate justice, considering that this was
respondent Judges first offense, we resolve to grant the instant motion for reconsideration.1avvphi1
ACCORDINGLY, the instant Motion for Reconsideration dated September 28, 2009 is GRANTED. In lieu of fine,
Judge Cesar O. Untalan of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 149, Makati City, is ADMONISHED to be more
circumspect in his official and personal deportment, with a WARNING that a repetition of the same or similar acts
in the future shall be dealt with more severely.
SO ORDERED.
A.M. No. P-07-2338
April 7, 2010
(Formerly OCA IPI No. 06-2440-P)
*

JONATHAN A. REBONG, Complainant,


vs.
ELIZABETH R. TENGCO, Clerk of Court, Municipal Trial Court, Sta. Cruz, Laguna, Respondent.
DECISION

FACTS:
On June 24, 2005, complainant Jonathan A. Rebong and his mother Gloria Rebong filed separate
complaints for violation of Batas Pambansa Blg. 22 against Edwina and Ferdinand Dator before the Municipal Trial
Court (MTC) of Sta. Cruz, Laguna where respondent Elizabeth R. Tengco was Clerk of Court. Upon inquiry by
complainant on how much were the filing fees for the complaints they filed, respondent quoted to them the
amount of P400, 000.00 for the three (3) cases, which had been docketed as Criminal Case Nos. 32782-84. Since
respondent was the clerk of court, complainant believed and trusted her and paid her the P400, 000.00 in cash.
Complainant was then issued photocopies of the following receipts supposedly representing the amount he paid.
ISSUE:
Whether or not respondent is liable for gross dishonesty and grave misconduct, and order the forfeiture
of her retirement benefits.
HELD:
WHEREFORE, we find respondent Elizabeth R. Tengco liable for gross dishonesty and grave misconduct,
and order the forfeiture of her retirement benefits. She is BARRED from future re-employment in any branch,
agency or instrumentality of the government, including government-owned or controlled corporations.
The Financial Management Office, Office of the Court Administrator is hereby DIRECTED to process the terminal
leave benefits of respondent, dispensing with the documentary requirements, and REMIT to the Municipal Trial
Court, Sta. Cruz, Laguna the amounts of P50, 300.00 representing collections for the JDF and P25,225.00
representing collections for the SAJ Fund, or the total amount of P75,525.00. The release of the
remainingP103,080.72 of the terminal leave benefits of respondent shall be held in abeyance pending the
resolution ofJudge Elpidio R. Calis v. Elizabeth R. Tengco and Office of the Court Administrator v. Elizabeth R.
Tengco.
Respondent Tengco is hereby DIRECTED to PAY complainant Jonathan A. Rebong, the P324, 475.00 excess fees she
collected from the latter.
The Legal Division of the Office of the Court Administrator is likewise DIRECTED to INITIATE appropriate criminal
proceedings against respondent Tengco, with deliberate dispatch.
SO ORDERED.

A.M. No. RTJ-09-2196


April 7, 2010
[Formerly A.M. No. 00-1052-RTJ]
MARIA PANCHO, DAVID GAYOTIN, LORETO GRAN AND MARINA GRAN, Complainants,
vs.
JUDGE JOSE Y. AGUIRRE, JR., Regional Trial Court, Branch 56, Himamaylan, Negros Occidental, Respondent.

FACTS:
Judge Jose Y. Aguirre, Jr. (respondent) of Branch 56 of the Regional Trial Court of Himamaylan, Negros
Occidental was charged by Maria Pancho, David Gayotin, Loreto Gran and Marina Gran (complainants) with grave
abuse of authority, violation and ignorance of the law resulting in violation of Sections 4 and 7, Rule 71 of the Rules
of Civil Procedure, and Grave Oppression.
The complaint arose from respondents issuance on July 13, 2000 of an Order finding complainants guilty of
Contempt committed against the Municipal Trial Court and sentencing them to suffer imprisonment of four
months to be served in the Municipal Jail of Himamaylan, and issuance on even date of warrants for their arrest.
Complainants fault respondent for violation of 1) Section 4, Rule 71 of the Rules of Court for giving due course to a
mere unverified motion for contempt and declaring them guilty thereof, and 2) Section 7 of the same Rule for
imposing a penalty of four months imprisonment.
The Court of Appeals, by Decision of October 31, 2006, affirmed respondents July 13, 2000 Order but modified the
penalty, noting that what complainants violated was an injunctive order which was issued by the Municipal Trial
Court (MTC), hence, punishable by one month imprisonment, in accordance with Sec. 7, Rule 71 which provides:
SEC. 7. Punishment for indirect contempt. If the respondent is adjudged guilty of indirect contempt committed
against a Regional Trial Court or a court of equivalent or higher rank, he may be punished by a fine not exceeding
thirty thousand pesos or imprisonment not exceeding six (6) months, or both. If he is adjudged guilty of contempt
committed against a lower court, he may be punished by a fine not exceeding five thousand pesos or
imprisonment of one (1) month, or both. If the contempt consists in the violation of a writ of injunction, temporary
restraining order or status quo order, he may also be ordered to make complete restitution to the party injured by
such violation of the property involved or such amount as may be alleged and proved.
The writ of execution, as in ordinary civil actions, shall issue for the enforcement of a judgment imposing a fine
unless the court otherwise provides.
ISSUE:

Whether or not, the imposable penalty is one month, not four, of imprisonment or a fine not exceeding P
5,000 or both.
HELD:
When the law or procedure is so elementary, such as the provisions of the Rules of Court, not to know, or
to act as if one does not know the same, constitutes gross ignorance of the law, even without the complainant
having to prove malice or bad faith.
Section 8, Rule 140 of the Rules of Court, as amended, classifies gross ignorance of the law as a serious charge and
Section 11 thereof penalizes it with any of the following sanctions:
1. Dismissal from the service, forfeiture of all or part of the benefits as the Court may determine, and
disqualification from reinstatement or appointment to any public office, including government-owned or
controlled corporations. Provided, however, That the forfeiture of benefits shall in no case include accrued
leave credits;
2. Suspension from office without salary and other benefits for more than three (3) but not exceeding six
(6) months; or
3. A fine of more than P20, 000 but not exceeding P40,000.00.
Since respondent had retired (and died), the first two sanctions may no longer be considered. The penalty
recommended by the OCA fine in the amount of P25, 000 is in order.
WHEREFORE, the now deceased Judge Jose Y. Aguirre, Jr. of the Regional Trial Court, Himamaylan, Negros
Occidental, Branch 56 is, for gross ignorance of the law, FINED in the amount of Twenty Five Thousand (P25,000)
Pesos, to be deducted from the Fifty Thousand (P50,000) Pesos retained/withheld from his retirement benefits.
SO ORDERED.

A.M. MTJ-04-1558
April 7, 2010
(Formerly OCA IPI No. 04-1594-MTJ)
Re: ANONYMOUS LETTER-COMPLAINT AGAINST HON. MARILOU RUNES-TAMANG, PRESIDING JUDGE, MeTC
PATEROS, METRO MANILA AND PRESIDING JUDGE, MeTC SAN JUAN, METRO MANILA,
DECISION
FACTS:
The administration of justice is circumscribed with a heavy burden of responsibility. It requires that
everyone involved in its dispensation from the presiding judge to the lowliest clerk live up to the strictest
standards of competence, honesty, and integrity in the public service. Any impression of impropriety, misdeed, or
negligence in the performance of official functions must be avoided. The Court shall not countenance any conduct,
act, or omission on the part of those involved in the administration of justice that violates the norm of public
accountability and diminishes the faith of the people in the Judiciary. Indeed, public confidence in our courts is
vital to the effective functioning of the Judiciary.
Bearing these tenets in mind, the Court proceeds to determine the ultimate liabilities of a presiding judge, her
branch clerk of court, and her process server in connection with an anomaly involving the approval of bail bonds in
criminal cases.
An anonymous "Concerned Filipino Citizen" sent to then Chief Justice Hilario G. Davide, Jr. a letter dated October
22, 2003 requesting the investigation of Judge Marilou D. Runes-Tamang, Presiding Judge of the Metropolitan Trial
Court (MeTC) in Pateros and Acting Presiding Judge of the MeTC in San Juan, Metro Manila. The letter-sender
complained that Judge Tamang, through the connivance of the arresting officer and court employees of MeTC at
San Juan, had been indiscriminately approving fake bonds for a fee of P1, 000.00 "per count ng kaso." The lettersender also requested the investigation of Judge Tamangs husband, a sheriff of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) in
Pasig and an alleged drug addict.
ISSUE:
WHETHER OR NOT, the documents to be sign are in order.
WHETHER OR NOT, RESPONDENT IS GUILTY OF GRAVE MISCONDUCT.
HELD:
We find him guilty of grave misconduct, because he fell short of his accountability to the people as a
public employee.
Misconduct is a transgression of some established and definite rule of action, more particularly, unlawful behavior
or gross negligence by the public officer. To warrant dismissal from the service, the misconduct must be grave,
serious, important, weighty, momentous and not trifling. The misconduct must imply wrongful intention and

not a mere error of judgment. The misconduct must also have a direct relation to and be connected with the
performance of his official duties amounting either to maladministration or wilful, intentional neglect or failure to
discharge the duties of the office. There must also be reliable evidence showing that the judicial acts complained
of were corrupt or inspired by an intention to violate the law.
In grave misconduct, as distinguished from simple misconduct, the elements of corruption, clear intent to violate
the law, or flagrant disregard of established rule must be manifest. Corruption as an element of grave misconduct
consists in the act of an official or employee who unlawfully or wrongfully uses his station or character to procure
some benefit for himself or for another, contrary to the rights of others.
Medrano knowingly and corruptly submitted spurious or irregular bail bonds for the approval of the judge. His
grave misconduct was, therefore, a grave offense that deserved the penalty of dismissal for the first offense
pursuant to Sec. 52-A of the Uniform Rules on Administrative Cases in the Civil Service. Accordingly, he is meted
the ultimate penalty of dismissal.
WHEREFORE, the Court declares and finds:
1. JUDGE MARILOU D. RUNES-TAMANG of the Metropolitan Trial Court in Pateros, Metro Manila guilty of
simple neglect of duty, with mitigating circumstances as stated in this decision, and, accordingly, she is
reprimanded, with a stern warning that a repetition of the same offense, or the commission of a similar
offense, shall be dealt with more severely;
2. ELEANOR A. SORIO, Clerk of Court III, Metropolitan Trial Court, Branch 57, in San Juan, Metro Manila
guilty of gross neglect of duty, with a mitigating circumstance as stated in this decision, and, accordingly,
she is suspended from the service for two months without pay, with a stern warning that a repetition of
the same offense, or the commission of a similar offense, shall be dealt with more severely; and
3. RONNIE MEDRANO, Process Server, Metropolitan Trial Court, Branch 57, in San Juan, Metro Manila
guilty of grave misconduct, and, accordingly, he is dismissed from the service with forfeiture of retirement
benefits, except accrued leave credits, and with prejudice to his re-employment in any branch or
instrumentality of the Government, including government-owned and government-controlled
corporations.
Let a copy of this decision be attached to the personnel records of the respondents in the Office of the Court
Administrator.
SO ORDERED.

A.M. No. P-07-2409

April 7, 2010
RUFINA CHUA, Complainant,
vs.
ELEANOR A. SORIO, Clerk of Court, Metropolitan Trial Court, Branch 57, San Juan City, Respondent.
RESOLUTION
FACTS:
This is an administrative case involving court officials in the Metropolitan Trial Court (Branches 57 and 58)
of San Juan City, namely, Clerk of Court Eleanor A. Sorio, Interpreter II Mary Lou C. Sarmiento, and Sheriff Arturo F.
Anatalio.
Complainant Rufina Chua filed in the MeTC (Branch 57) of San Juan City two criminal cases, docketed as Criminal
Case Nos. 44739 and 51988, for alleged violation of the Bouncing Checks Law, involving two Interbank checks
amounting to P9,563,900.00 issued by William Chiok, the accused in both cases. Upon the inhibition of Presiding
Judge Leodegario Quilatan, the two cases were transferred to Branch 58. The presiding judge of Branch 58, Judge
Maxwel Rosete, directed the consolidation of the two cases. After trial, Judge Rosete rendered a
1
decision acquitting the accused. Judge Rosete held that the two Interbank checks, which were not drawn to apply
on account or for value, were not within the contemplation of the Bouncing Checks Law.
ISSUE:
Whether or not, the respondent is guilty for grave misconduct and conduct highly prejudicial to the best
interest of the service.
HELD:
WHEREFORE, for grave misconduct and conduct highly prejudicial to the best interest of the service, respondent
Eleanor A. Sorio, Clerk of Court of the Metropolitan Trial Court (Branch 57) of San Juan City, is ordered
DISMISSED from the service, effective upon the service on her of this Resolution, with forfeiture of all benefits and
with prejudice to reemployment in the Government or any subdivision, instrumentality, or agency thereof,
including government-owned or-controlled corporations. Respondent Eleanor A. Sorio is further FINED P5, 000.00.
The Executive Judge of the Regional Trial Court of Pasig City is DIRECTED to (1) conduct further
investigation on the possible administrative liability of Mary Lou C. Sarmiento, Interpreter II of the Metropolitan
Trial Court (Branch 57) of San Juan City, and Arturo F. Anatalio, Sheriff of the Metropolitan Trial Court (Branch 58)
of San Juan City and (2) submit her report and recommendation within forty-five (45) days from receipt of this
Resolution.
SO ORDERED.

A.M. No. RTJ-06-2025


April 5, 2010
(Formerly OCA IPI No. 06-2472-RTJ)
CECILIA GADRINAB SENARLO, Complainant,
vs.
JUDGE MAXIMO G.W. PADERANGA, RTC, BRANCH 38, CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Respondent.
DECISION

FACTS:
Civil Case No. 2005-160, an action for reconveyance and quieting of title, was instituted by Lorna
Cabarrubias Bacalzo (Bacalzo) against the Archbishop of the Roman Catholic Church of Cagayan de Oro City (the
Archbishop) before the RTC, presided over by Judge Paderanga. Bacalzo was seeking to recover a piece of land,
measuring about 350 square meters, which her predecessor-in-interest had previously donated to the Roman
Catholic Church, since allegedly the said property was no longer being devoted for the purpose it was donated.
Considering that Bacalzo was already residing in the United States of America (U.S.A.), she was represented by her
granddaughter, Senarlo, in Civil Case No. 2005-160.

ISSUE:
Whether or not, Respondent is GUILTY of Grave Abuse of Authority and accordingly meted a FINE of Ten
Thousand Pesos.
Whether or not, the rest of the charges be DISMISSED for lack of merit.

HELD:
Misconduct is a transgression of some established or definite rule of action; more particularly, it is an
unlawful behavior by the public officer. Misconduct means intentional wrongdoing or deliberate violation of a rule
of law or standard of behavior, especially by a government official. To constitute an administrative offense,
misconduct should relate to or be connected with the performance of the official functions and duties of a public
officer.
Judge Paderangas personal records show that he had been charged with and found guilty of committing several
other administrative infractions, and that he was already dismissed from service by virtue of the Decision dated 19
June 2008 of this Court in A.M. No. RTJ-06-2017, Lt. Gen. Alfonso P. Dagudag (Ret.) v. Judge Maximo G.W.
Paderanga, Regional Trial Court, Branch 38, Cagayan De Oro City. Hence, for the simple negligence committed in
the instant case, the Court imposes upon Judge Paderanga a fine of Ten Thousand Pesos (P10, 000.00) to be
deducted from his accrued leave credits withheld by the Court.
WHEREFORE, Judge Maximo G.W. Paderanga is found GUILTY of SIMPLE MISCONDUCT. He is ORDERED to pay a
FINE of TEN THOUSAND PESOS (P10, 000.00), which shall be deducted from his accrued leave credits withheld by
the Court.
SO ORDERED.

1.

A.M. No. P-09-2632

June 18, 2010

OFFICE OF THE COURT ADMINISTRATOR, Complainant,


vs.
CRISTITA L. CAYA, Records Officer I, and RHODORA A. RANTAEL, Cashier I, both from the Office of the Clerk of
Court, Metropolitan Trial Court, Mandaluyong City, Respondents.

FACTS:
This administrative case arose from an Affidavit-Complaint dated 4 July 2008 filed by Cristita L. Caya (Caya),
Records Officer I, Office of the Clerk of Court, Metropolitan Trial Court (MeTC), Mandaluyong City, Branch 60,
against Rhodora A. Rantael (Rantael), Cashier I of the same court, for conduct unbecoming a court employee,
violation of the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standard for public officials and employees, oppression and gross
violence against a co-employee.
In her Affidavit-Complaint dated 4 July 2008 submitted to the Office of the Court Administrator (OCA), complainant
Caya narrated that on 17 December 2007, while in the vicinity of the MeTC, she was surprised when she heard
Rantael quarreling with a judge on the telephone. A co-employee, Joan Yerro, grabbed the phone from Rantael in
order to prevent the situation from worsening. Rantael, for no apparent reason, aired out her anger at Caya by
shouting her name and throwing abusive and cursing words at her. The situation escalated when Rantael grabbed
Caya by the hair and dragged her outside the office while taunting her to fight. As a result, Caya sustained physical
injuries and emotional stress.
On 20 March 2009, the OCA submitted its Report finding both Caya and Rantael at fault for the incident which
occurred within the confines of the MeTC. The OCA declared that Caya and Rantael admitted to trading verbal
barbs and inflicting physical injuries on each other without due regard to the consequences of their actions. Thus,
regardless of who between the two started the quarrel, such incident sullied the image of the judiciary.
With regard to the criminal complaint for slander and physical injuries filed by Caya with the OCP, the OCA found
that the referral of the case to the Court was not in accord with established jurisprudence, citing the case of
Maceda v. Vasquez. The OCA stated that the mere fact that the parties involved in the criminal case were court
personnel does not ipso facto divest the OCP of authority to hear said case. The OCP can still proceed with the
criminal aspect of the incident while the Court can hold them administratively liable for violating existing court
circulars and guidelines.
Caya filed an Omnibus Motion dated 27 June 2009 for reconsideration of the Resolution dated 22 April 2009 and
for the formal investigation of the complaint. Caya stated that she was surprised that the resolution re-docketed
the case and made her a respondent in the administrative complaint together with Rantael against whom she
initially filed said complaint. Caya asked that she be dropped from the case as a respondent and Rantael be
disciplined and sanctioned accordingly. Caya also requested for a formal investigation to determine the culpability
of the parties and to allow her and her witnesses to substantiate the complaint.
ISSUE:
1.
2.

WOR the complaint against Caya should be dismissed.


WOR Rantael guilty of simple misconduct.

HELD:
Yes.
After a careful review of the records of the case, we find reasonable grounds to hold Rantael administratively liable
for simple misconduct. We also find that the complaint against Caya should be dismissed.

In administrative proceedings, the quantum of proof necessary for a finding of guilt is substantial evidence or such
evidence as a reasonable mind may accept as adequate to support a conclusion. Caya, as the complainant, has the
burden of proving by substantial evidence the allegations in her complaint.
The acts of Rantael in taunting and uttering invectives at Caya and causing the latter physical harm by pulling her
hair within the court premises, and during working hours, exhibit discourtesy and disrespect not only to her coworkers but also to the court. Such behavior of letting personal hatred affect public performance falls short of the
standard laid down in A.M. No. 03-16-13-SC or the Code of Conduct for Court Personnel which took effect on 1
June 2004.
Rantael, as the wrongdoer, should bear the burden alone. As a court employee, she should have exercised
restraint and prudence in dealing with a co-employee. Being the victim of malicious rumors or unfounded
accusations cannot justify resorting to physical violence against a co-worker.

3.

A.M. No. P-08-2549

June 18, 2010

ANONYMOUS, Complainant,
vs.
EMMA BALDONADO CURAMEN, Court Interpreter I, Municipal Trial Court, Rizal, Nueva Ecija, Respondent.

Facts: This is an administrative case against Emma Baldonado Curamen, Court Interpreter I in the Municipal Trial
Court of Rizal in Nueva Ecija, for dishonesty and falsification of a public document. On 6 March 2007, the Office of
the Court Administrator (OCA) received an anonymous complaint charging respondent with falsification of a public
document and simulation of birth. The complaint alleged that respondent registered the birth of a child
supposedly named Rica Mae Baldonado Curamen in the local civil registry of Rizal, Nueva Ecija. Complainant
submitted the childs purported birth certificate to show respondent misrepresented that she was the childs
biological mother and her husband, Ricardo Curamen, was the biological father. Complainant claimed respondent
was, in fact, the childs maternal grandmother. Complainant submitted the childs original birth certificate to show
that the childs real name was Rinea Mae Curamen Aquino and that her parents were spouses Olga Mae
Baldonado Curamen Aquino and Jun Aquino. According to complainant, respondent included the child as
additional dependent in her income tax declaration.

In his Report, Executive Judge Rodrigo S. Caspillo of the Regional Trial Court (Branch 24) of Cabanatuan City
verified that Rinea Mae Curamen Aquino and Rica Mae Baldonado Curamen were the same child. Judge Caspillo
confirmed that the child was, in fact, respondents granddaughter. The childs real mother, Olga, was one of
respondents children. Judge Caspillo verified that on 31 March 2006, respondent executed an affidavit for delayed
registration of the alleged birth of her child. Respondent claimed that her supposed child, Rica Mae Baldonado
Curamen, was born on 30November 2005. Respondents application was given due course and the supposed birth
of Rica Mae Baldonado Curamen was registered in the Civil Registry of Rizal, Nueva Ecija under Registry No. 2006507. This second birth certificate of the child indicated that the childs parents were respondent and her husband.
Issue:
Whether Curamen is liable for simulation of birth by falsification.
Held:
With respect to the alleged falsification of the childs birth certificate, we find respondent guilty of dishonesty and
falsification of a public document. A birth certificate, being a public document, serves as prima facie evidence of
filiation. The making of a false statement therein constitutes dishonesty and falsification of a public document.
Respondent cannot escape liability by claiming that she did not have any intention to conceal the identity of the
child nor cause the loss of any trace as to the childs true filiation to the childs prejudice. When public documents
are falsified, the intent to injure a third person need not be present because the principal thing punished is the
violation of the public faith and the destruction of the truth the document proclaims. However, the extreme
penalty of dismissal is not automatically imposed, especially where mitigating circumstances exist. Although under
the schedule of penalties adopted by the Civil Service, dishonesty and falsification of a public document are
classified as grave offenses punishable by dismissal, the fact that this is respondents first offense may be
considered a mitigating circumstance in her favor. The law requires that the mitigating circumstance must first be
pleaded by the proper party. But in the interest of substantial justice, we may appreciate the mitigating
circumstance in the imposition of penalty, even if not raised by respondent. We thus impose on respondent the
penalty next lower in degree, which is suspension for six months and one day without pay with a stern warning
that are petition of the same or similar acts in the future shall be dealt with more severely.

4.

A.M. No. RTJ-08-2145

June 18, 2010

JUDGE MONA LISA T. TABORA, Presiding Judge, Regional Trial Court, San Fernando City, La Union, Branch 26,
Complainant,
vs.
(Ret.) JUDGE ANTONIO A. CARBONELL, former Presiding Judge, Regional Trial Court, San Fernando City, La
Union, Branch 27, Respondent.

FACTS:
This administrative case arose from an Affidavit-Complaint dated 17 October 2006 filed by Caridad S. Tabisula
against Judge Mona Lisa T. Tabora, Presiding Judge, Regional Trial Court (RTC), San Fernando City, La Union, Branch
26, and Alfredo V. Lacsamana, Jr., Officer-in-Charge, Branch Clerk of Court (OIC-BCOC) of the same court. Tabisula
charged Judge Tabora with (1) violation of Section 3(e) of Republic Act No. 3019 (RA 3019) or the Anti-Graft and
Corrupt Practices Act; (2) violation of Section 1, Canon 3 and Section 2, Canon 5 of A.M. No. 03-05-01-SC or the
New Code of Judicial Conduct; (3) violation of Republic Act No. 6713 (RA 6713) or the Code of Conduct and Ethical
Standards for Public Officials and Employees; and (4) gross ignorance of the law, grave abuse of authority,
oppression, serious neglect of duty and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service. Further, Tabisula
charged Lacsamana with (1) violation of Sections 3(e) and (f) of RA 3019; (2) violation of Articles 226 and 315(3)(c)
of Act No. 3815 or the Revised Penal Code; and (3) violation of Sections 5(a),(d), and (e)of RA 6713.
In her Affidavit-Complaint dated 17 October 2006 submitted to the Office of the Court Administrator (OCA),
Tabisula stated that she was the plaintiff in Civil Case No. 6840 entitled "Caridad S. Tabisula v. Rang-ay Rural Bank,
Inc." for specific performance with accounting and damages. This case was raffled to the RTC of San Fernando City,
La Union, Branch 26 presided by Judge Tabora. Tabisula narrated that due to the prolonged absence of Judge
Tabora caused by a serious illness, Judge Antonio A. Carbonell, now retired but then pairing/vice-executive judge
of the RTC of San Fernando City, La Union, Branch 27, took over and heard the case from the beginning up to its
termination.
ISSUE:

WOR the respondent guilty of simple misconduct for violating Section 2, Canon 3 of the New Code of Judicial
Conduct.
HELD:
YES.
As correctly observed by the OCA, Judge Carbonell should have sought the conformity of Judge Tabora in rendering
his own decision to the case as a matter of judicial courtesy and respect. Judge Carbonell tried justifying his act by
reasoning that the act of filing a decision with the clerk of court already constituted a rendition of judgment or
promulgation. We find this explanation unsatisfactory. Judge Carbonell had no authority to render a decision on
the subject civil case. As clearly laid down in Circular No. 19-98, the pairing judge shall take cognizance of all cases
until the assumption to duty of the regular judge. Since Judge Tabora was already present and performing her
functions in court, it was improper for Judge Carbonell to have rendered a decision in Civil Case No. 6840 without
the approval of the regular presiding judge.
Also, Judge Carbonell should have extended the same judicial deference in referring the letter of Tabisula
requesting for a copy of his decision to Branch 26 for appropriate action. Instead, Judge Carbonell directly
furnished Tabisula with a copy knowing fully well that she was the plaintiff in the subject case. Judge Carbonell not
only disregarded the functions of the clerk of court as custodian of court records but also undermined the integrity
and confidentiality of the court.
For violating Section 2, Canon 3 of the New Code of Judicial Conduct, we find Judge Carbonell guilty of simple
misconduct. Simple misconduct has been defined as an unacceptable behavior that transgresses the established
rules of conduct for public officers.

5.

A.M. No. P-07-2410

June 18, 2010

MARIE DINAH TOLENTINO-FUENTES, Complainant,


vs.
MICHAEL PATRICK A. GALINDEZ, Process Server, Regional Trial Court, Branch 33, Davao City, Respondent.

FACTS:
This case involves a complaint for simple neglect of duty filed by Atty. Marie Dinah S. Tolentino-Fuentes against
Michael Patrick A. Galindez, process server, Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 33, Davao City.
In the present case, Galindez failed to serve court notices properly: (1) Atty. Tolentino-Fuentes received a copy of
the 15 March 2005 notice canceling the 29 March 2005 hearing only on 4 April 2005; (2) Atty. Tolentino-Fuentes
received a copy of the 21 February 2006 order canceling the 6 and 14 March 2006 hearings only on 29 March
2006; (3) Atty. Tolentinos client received a copy of the 8 November 2005 order setting the preliminary hearing on
18 November 2005 only on 7 December 2005; (4) Atty. Tolentinos client received a copy of the 18 November 2005
order setting the formal offer of exhibits in evidence on 28 November 2005 only on 7 December 2005; (5) Atty.
Tolentino-Fuentes received a copy of the 10 March 2006 notice canceling the 28 March 2006 hearing only on 29
March 2006; and (6) Atty. Tolentino-Fuentes received a copy of the 14 March 2006 notice canceling the 29 March
2006 hearing only on 29 March 2006. Because of Galindezs failure to serve court notices properly, Atty. TolentinoFuentes and her client incurred unnecessary expenses and had their time wasted. Also, Atty. Tolentino-Fuentes
other client was unable to participate in the presentation of evidence and cross-examination of witness.
ISSUE:
WOR the respondent was guilty of simple neglect of duty.
HELD:
YES.
The Court held that having a heavy workload is not a compelling reason to justify failure to perform ones duties
properly. "Otherwise, every government employee charged with negligence and dereliction of duty [would] always
proffer a similar excuse to escape punishment, to the great prejudice of public service.
The Court finds Galindez liable for simple neglect of duty. As a process server, Galindez has the duty to ensure that
court notices are properly served to the parties.
The duty of a process server is vital to the machinery of the justice system. His primary duty is "to serve court
notices" which precisely requires utmost care on his part by seeing to it that all notices assigned to him are duly

served upon the parties. Thus, respondent should have carefully examined each of the "voluminous notices"
assigned to him, scanning and reading every page to ensure that every notice to the party concerned will be served
properly.

6.

A.M. No. P-08-2535


June 23, 2010
(Formerly A.M. OCA IPI No. 04- 2022-P and A.M. No. 04-434-RTC)

OFFICE OF THE COURT ADMINISTRATOR, Complainant,


vs.
FLORENCIO M. REYES, Officer-in-Charge, and RENE DE GUZMAN, Clerk, Regional Trial Court, Branch 31, Guimba,
Nueva Ecija, Respondents.

FACTS:
This complaint for gross misconduct against Rene de Guzman, Clerk, Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Guimba, Nueva
Ecija, Branch 31, is an offshoot of the complaint filed by Atty. Hugo B. Sansano, Jr. relative to the alleged
incompetence/inefficiency of the RTC of Guimba, Nueva Ecija, Branch 31, in the transmittal of the records of
Criminal Case No. 1144-G to the Court of Appeals.
In our Resolution dated September 17, 2007, we adopted the findings and recommendation of the Office of the
Court Administrator (OCA) declaring as closed and terminated the administrative matter relative to the delay in
the transmittal of the records of Criminal Case No. 1144-G, and exonerating De Guzman and Florencio M. Reyes,
the Officer-in-Charge of the RTC of Guimba, Nueva Ecija, Branch 31.
However, in the same Resolution, we also required De Guzman to comment on the allegation that he is using
illegal drugs and had been manifesting irrational and queer behavior while at work. According to Reyes, De
Guzmans manifestations of absurd behavior prompted Judge Napoleon R. Sta. Romana to request the Philippine
National Police Crime Laboratory to perform a drug test on De Guzman.
It should be mentioned that this is not the first instance that respondent is ordered to account for his failure to
comply with a court order. Earlier, he was required to explain to the Court his failure to promptly submit a copy of
the affidavit of retired court stenographer Jorge Caoile and to show cause why he should not be administratively
dealt with for his failure to comply with a show cause order.
For failure to overcome the charge of use of prohibited drugs and to satisfactorily explain his failure to submit
promptly his compliance to the Courts show cause order, respondent may be held guilty of two counts of gross
misconduct.
ISSUE:
WOR the respondent guilty of gross misconduct.
HELD:
YES.
As correctly observed by the OCA, De Guzman has shown his propensity to defy the directives of this Court.
However, at this juncture, we are no longer wont to countenance such disrespectful behavior.
A resolution of the Supreme Court should not be construed as a mere request, and should be complied with
promptly and completely. Such failure to comply betrays, not only a recalcitrant streak in character, but also
disrespect for the lawful order and directive of the Court. Furthermore, this contumacious conduct of refusing to
abide by the lawful directives issued by the Court has likewise been considered as an utter lack of interest to
remain with, if not contempt of, the system. Ganzans transgression is highlighted even more by the fact that she is

an employee of the Judiciary, who, more than an ordinary citizen, should be aware of her duty to obey the orders
and processes of the Supreme Court without delay.
Like their counterparts in the private sector, government officials and employees also labor under reasonable
supervision and restrictions imposed by the Civil Service law and other laws on public officers, all enacted to
promote a high standard of ethics in the public service. And if RA 9165 passes the norm of reasonableness for
private employees, the more reason that it should pass the test for civil servants, who, by constitutional demand,
are required to be accountable at all times to the people and to serve them with utmost responsibility and
efficiency.
Likewise, we cannot subscribe to the idea that De Guzmans irrational behavior stems solely from his being a drug
user. Such queer behavior can be attributed to several factors. However, it cannot by any measure be categorically
stated at this point that it can be attributed solely to his being a drug user.
Finally, it must be emphasized at this juncture that De Guzmans dismissal is not grounded only on his being a drug
user. His outright dismissal from the service is likewise anchored on his contumacious and repeated acts of not
heeding the directives of this Court. As we have already stated, such attitude betrays not only a recalcitrant streak
of character, but also disrespect for the lawful orders and directives of the Court.

7.

A.M. No. P-05-2014

June 29, 2010

JUDGE ORLANDO D. BELTRAN, Complainant,


vs.
VILMA C. PAGULAYAN, Interpreter III, RTC, Branch 2, Tuguegarao City, Cagayan, Respondent.
FACTS:
We resolve as an administrative matter the complaint/affidavit dated July 18, 2001 of Acting Presiding Judge
Orlando Beltran, Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 2, Tuguegarao City, charging Vilma C. Pagulayan, Interpreter III
of the same court, with gross misconduct. The complaint alleged that Pagulayan demanded and received
P20,000.00 from the plaintiffs in Civil Case No. 5383 which Judge Beltran decided in the plaintiffs favor. The
demanded sum was allegedly for Judge Beltran. After receiving the demanded sum, Pagulayan personally handed
the plaintiffs an unsigned copy of Judge Bletrans decision.

Judge Beltran and the Branch Clerk of Court, Atty. Maita Grace Deray-Israel, requested the National Bureau of
Investigation (NBI) District Office in Tuguegarao City, to investigate the matter. On August 6, 2001, the NBI
submitted to the Office of the Court Administrator (OCA) a Final Report with the recommendation that Pagulayan
be charged administratively for misconduct. The NBI recommendation was based largely on the affidavits of Judge
Beltran.
The OCA required Pagulayan to comment on the complaint. In her Comment dated September 20, 2001, Pagulayan
denied what she regarded as Judge Beltrans unsubstantiated accusation against her; she claimed that she did not
demand nor receive any amount of money for herself or for anyone from the plaintiffs who did not even come out
with a complaint/affidavit of their own. She maintained that her only involvement took place when she referred
one Apolinario Allam a friend of her husbands and a relative of Baccay and who was following up the case to
Primativa Martirez, the clerk in charge of civil cases. She was therefore surprised when, after one year, she was
charged for having demanded and received money for Judge Beltran. She lamented that Judge Beltran did not
even confront her about the matter, or ask her to face the alleged complainants.
ISSUE:
WOR THE RESPONDENT WAS LIABLE FOR GROSS MISCONDUCT.
HELD:
YES.
At the outset, we emphasize that Pagulayan was given all the opportunity to be heard. In fact, the charge against
her was investigated twice. Notably, the second investigation (by Judge Velasco) was conducted to give her the
chance, after she had pleaded with the Court, to present her evidence. She failed to present evidence in the first
opportunity given to her (in the investigation by Judge Alameda), as she then travelled to the USA while her
counsel of record withdrew his appearance.
Pagulayans misconduct, it must be stressed, brought dishonor to the administration of justice in particular and, to
the public service in general.
Time and again the Honorable Supreme Court had held that the conduct of each employee of a court of justice
must, at all times, not only be characterized with propriety and decorum, but above all else, be above suspicion.
The conduct and behavior required of every court personnel from the presiding judge to the lowliest clerk must
always be beyond reproach and circumscribed with heavy burden of responsibility. Every employee of the judiciary
should be an example of integrity, probity, uprightness, honesty and diligence. We believe that the respondent
failed to observe these very exacting standards. Her acts indeed corrode the dignity and honor of the courts and
shake the peoples faith and trust in the judiciary.
Indeed, Pagulayan failed to live up to the standards of honesty and integrity required in the public service. In the
words of the Constitution, public office is a public trust and Pagulayan betrayed this trust.
Under Civil Service rules, gross misconduct is a grave offense and punishable by dismissal. For the enormity of the
transgression she committed, Pagulayan deserved no less than dismissal. She should not be treated with leniency,
for she committed the worst kind of graft in the judiciary and should not lightly be punished, lest others may be
emboldened to follow her nefarious example. Public service, especially the judiciary, has no place for corrupt
personnel like Pagulayan and she should not be allowed to escape the mandated penalty through the expedient of
retirement that she availed of on April 1, 2006. While Pagulayan may no longer be dismissed because of her
retirement, she can still be sanctioned with a forfeiture of her retirement benefits. Under Section 58(a) of the

Revised Uniform Rules of Administrative Cases, the penalty of dismissal carries with it, among other administrative
disabilities, the forfeiture of retirement benefits.

8.

A.C. No. 8392


June 29, 2010
[ Formerly CBD Case No. 08-2175 ]

ROSARIO T. MECARAL, Complainant,


vs.
ATTY. DANILO S. VELASQUEZ, Respondent.

FACTS:
Complainant was Respondents secretary (in 2002), later she became his lover and common-law wife. Still later,
Respondent brought her to a mountainous part in Biliran where he left her with the Faith Healers Association of
the Philippines, a religious group which Respondent headed. Thereafter, and upon Respondents instruction, his
followers tortured, brainwashed and injected Complainant with drugs. She remained in captivity until her mother
aided by the Provincial Welfare Development and the police, rescued her. Complainant sought Respondents
disbarment alleging as well that Respondent contracted a bigamous marriage in marrying Leny Azur despite the
subsistence of a prior marriage to Ma. Shirley Yunzal.
ISSUE:
WOR THE RESPONDENT GUILTY OF GROSS MISCONDUCT.
HELD:
YES.
Respondent DISBARRED for violating Canon 1 (A lawyer shall uphold the constitution, obey the laws of the land
and promote respect for law and legal processes) and Rule 7 (A lawyer shall not engage in conduct that adversely
reflects on his fitness to practice law, nor shall he, whether in public or private life, behave in a scandalous manner
to the discredit of the legal profession) of the CPR; his name ORDERED STRICKEN from the Roll of Attorneys.
Respondents acts of converting his secretary into a mistress, contracting two marriages with Shirley and Lenyare

grossly immoral which no civilized society in the world can countenance. Complainants subsequent detention and
torture is gross misconduct which only a beast may be able to do. Canon 1of the CPR When a lawyers moral
character is assailed, such that his right to continue practicing his cherished profession is imperiled, it behooves
him to meet the charges squarely and present evidence, to the satisfaction of the investigating body and this
Court, that he is morally fit to keep his name in the Roll of Attorneys. In fine, by engaging himself in acts which are
grossly immoral and acts which constitute gross misconduct, Respondent has ceased to possess the qualifications
of a lawyer.

9.

A.M. No. 09-2-74-RTC

June 29, 2010

Request of Judge NINO A. BATINGANA, Regional Trial Court, Branch 6, Mati City, Davao Oriental, for extension of
time to decide Civil Case No. 2049.
FACTS:
By Resolution of March 30, 2009, the Court, acting on the September 5, 2008 and December 4, 2008 letters of
Judge Nino A. Batingana (respondent), Presiding Judge of Branch 6, Regional Trial Court, Mati City, Davao Oriental,
requesting for extension of time (fourth and fifth) for a total of 180 days to decide Civil Case No. 2049, denied the
request since "the Court did not receive *respondents] requests for first, second and third extension to decide the
case and that there is no more time to extend as the due date to decide ha[d] already elapsed." Respondent was
thereupon directed to immediately furnish the Court with a copy of the decision in the aforementioned case upon
rendition.
By Memorandum of November 27, 2009, the OCA found that while there was no information as to when Civil Case
No. 2049 was submitted for decision, respondent mentioned in his September 5, 2008 letter that the case was due
for resolution on even date, September 5, 2008. Thus, he incurred a delay of more than one year.

ISSUE:
WOR respondent have committed undue delay in deciding the subject case.
HELD:
YES.
The Court finds respondent to have committed undue delay in deciding the subject case. Even granting that his
requests for extension for a total of 180 days were granted, the due date of the decision would have been March
4, 2009, yet he decided the case only on October 16, 2009, or more than seven months later.
The Constitution mandates that cases or matters before the lower courts are to be decided within 90 days. And the
New Code of Judicial Conduct for the Philippine Judiciary, which took effect on June 1, 2004, requires judges to
"perform all judicial duties, including the delivery of reserved decisions, efficiently, fairly and with reasonable
promptness."

Any delay in the administration of justice, no matter how brief, deprives the litigant of his right to a speedy
disposition of his case which can easily undermine the peoples faith and confidence in the judiciary, lower its
standards and bring it to disrepute, since it reinforces in the minds of the litigants the impression that the wheels
of justice grind ever so slowly.
On the whole, judges ought to be mindful of the crucial role they play in keeping the flames of justice alive and
forever burning. Cognizant of this sacred task, judges are duty-bound to vigilantly and conscientiously man the
wheels of justice as it grinds through eternity. In a sense, judges are revered as modern-day sentinels, who, like
their erudite forerunners, must never slumber, so to speak, in the hour of service to their countrymen.
For as lady justice never sleeps, so must the gallant men tasked to guard her domain.
Undue delay in rendering decision is classified under Rule 140 of the Rules of Court as a less serious charge
punishable with suspension of not less than one month but not more than three months or a fine of more than
P10,000 but not exceeding P20,000. The Court had, in some cases, allowed a deviation from the range and did not
thus apply strictly the rules by either imposing fines in the amount less or more than what is prescribed.

LEGAL ETHICS
July 2010

[A.M. No. P-08-2590 : July 05, 2010]


JULIE ANN C. DELA CUEVA, COMPLAINANT,
VS.
SELIMA B. OMAGA, COURT STENOGRAPHER I, MTC-CALAUAN, LAGUNA, RESPONDENT.
FACTS: Complainant Julie Ann C. dela Cueva is the legal wife of P/Supt. Nestor dela Cueva. They were married on
July 29, 1984, and the union bore three children. Due to the philandering ways of her husband, the couple
separated on November 30, 1994. P/Supt. Nestor dela Cueva filed a Petition for Declaration of Nullity of Marriage
alleging as ground his own psychological incapacity. This angered and prompted his wife, the complainant, to file a
criminal complaint against him for bigamy and concubine. Her complaint alleged that he and respondent, Selima
B. Omaga, got married and were living together as husband and wife despite the subsistence of his marriage with
her (the complainant). Complainant also filed an administrative complaint against both her husband and the
respondent.
ISSUE: Whether or not the respondent is guilty of immoral conduct.
HELD: No, Judge Morga recommended that the respondent be absolved from any administrative liability taking
into consideration the following circumstances: (1) respondent and P/Supt. dela Cueva began their relationship
after he was already separated in fact from complainant; (2) complainant is no longer interested in pursuing the
case as she realized that filing it was a mistake since respondent and her husband never lived together as husband
and wife; (3) there is no evidence to contradict respondent's claim that during their relationship she did not know
dela Cueva was married and that they did not cohabit in one house; (4) respondent's performance as court
stenographer was not adversely affected by her situation; and (5) respondent has properly reared her children and
conducted herself in public appropriately.
Well-established is the principle that public office is a public trust. No less than the Constitution requires that:
"Public officers and employees must at all times be accountable to the people, serve them with utmost
responsibility, integrity, loyalty, and efficiency, act with patriotism and justice, and lead modest lives.
There is no doubt that engaging in sexual relations with a married man is not only a violation of the moral
standards expected of employees of the judiciary but is also a desecration of the sanctity of the institution of
marriage which this Court abhors and is, thus, punishable. Respondent claims, however, that she had no
knowledge that P/Supt. dela Cueva was married and that she ended their relationship as soon as she was made
aware of his true civil status. He idea, however, that the respondent never had the slightest notion that P/Supt.
dela Cueva was married and that she did not cohabit with him despite having three children may be quite a stretch
of the imagination. It is fairly inconceivable for a woman to have had a relationship with a married man for more
than a decade without even a tinge of suspicion that he might have been lying about his true civil status. But then
again, there is nothing on record which can refute respondent's allegation. In view of the lack of proof showing
that respondent willingly entered into an immoral sexual liaison with a married man, she cannot be held liable for
immoral and disgraceful conduct. To speculate that she did so would be tantamount to committing a
discrimination against a solo parent, which is prohibited under Section 7 of Republic Act No. 8972, the Solo
Parents' Welfare Act of 2000, to wit:
Section 7. Work Discrimination - No employer shall discriminate against any solo parent employee with respect to
terms and conditions of employment on account of his/her status.
WHEREFORE, the complaint for disgraceful and immoral conduct against respondent Selima B. Omaga is
hereby DISMISSED.

[A.M. No. RTJ-10-2230 : July 28, 2010]


JUANCHO DAACO
VS.
PRESIDING JUDGE SALVADOR Y. APURILLO, REGIONAL TRIAL COURT, BRANCH 8, TACLOBAN CITY
FACTS: On April 12, 2007 Daaco filed a motion to declare defendants in default for failure to file an answer. Judge
Lilagan treated the matter submitted for resolution on January 11, 2008 but, because Daaco filed an administrative
complaint against him for failure to resolve his motion, Judge Lilagan inhibited himself from the case. It was reraffled to Branch 8, presided over by respondent Judge Salvador Y. Apurillo. The records were forwarded to Judge
Apurillo. Daaco filed another motion, a motion for judgment on the pleadings, plus a manifestation that he had an
unresolved motion to declare defendants in default. Since the latter motion remained unresolved, Daaco filed a

verified complaint against Judge Apurillo before the Office of the Court Administrator (OCA) for: (1) malicious delay
in the administration of justice, (2) gross ignorance of the law, and (3) grave abuse of authority. The third charge
stemmed from Judge Apurillo's order for Daaco to furnish the defendant Heirs of Baez copies of his motion for
judgment on the pleadings that they may comment on it despite the default.
ISSUE: Whether or not the respondent is liable for undue delay of motions.
HELD: Yes, Considering the circumstances of the case, the Court adopts the OCA's findings and recommendations.
While the Court understands the incessant problem of clogged dockets, it cannot close its eyes to the complaint
against Judge Apurillo. Here, Judge Apurillo did not bother to ask the Court for such an extension and it took him
some 11 months after receipt of the records of the case to resolve the pending incident.
Undue delay is regarded as a less serious offense but since this is Judge Apurillo's first transgression and since he
had already disposed of Daaco's motion, the Court resolves, consistent with its ruling in Lagamon v. Judge
Paderanga, to impose on him a nominal fine of P2,000.00 as the OCA recommends.
WHEREFORE, the Court finds respondent Judge Salvador Y. Apurillo liable for undue delay in the resolution of a
pending incident and imposes on him a fine of P2,000.00 with a warning that a repetition of the same or similar
acts will be dealt with more severely.

A.M. NO. RTJ-10-2236


(Formerly OCA I.P.I. NO. 09-3083-RTJ)
RUBEN N. SALCEDO, Complainant,
versus JUDGE GIL G. BOLLOZOS, Respondent
FACTS: Complainant, charging the Judge Gil G. Bollogos (respondent), Presiding judge, Regional Trial Court, Branch
21, Cagayan De Oro City, with grave Misconduct and Ignorance of the Law. The complaint arose from a verified
handwritten petition for the Writ of Habeas Corpus and the Writ of Amparo (the petition) filed by Jose Tanmalack,
Jr. against the Police Officers of Police Precinct No. 3, Agora, Lapasan, Cagayan de Oro City, and Inspector Wylen
Rojo. The complainant alleged that he is a co-owner of a parcel of land (disputed property) covered by Original
Certificate of Title No. O-740 and registered in the name of Patricio Salcedo. The disputed property is about
126,112 square meters wide and is situated in Lapasan, Cagayan de Oro City.
ISSUE: Whether or not the respondent Judge is liable with grave Misconduct and Ignorance of the Law.

HELD: In the present case, the Writ of Amparo ought not to have been issued by the respondent judge since
Tanmalacks petition is fatally defective in substance and content, as it does not allege that he is a victim of
extralegal killings and enforced disappearances or the threats thereof. The petition merely states that he is
under threat of deprivation of liberty with the police stating that he is not arrested but merely in custody. We
find that the respondent judges error does not rise to the level of gross ignorance of the law that is defined by
jurisprudence. We take judicial notice of the fact that at the time he issued the Writ of Amparo on January 23,
2008, the Rule on the Writ of Amparo has been effective for barely three months (The Rule on the Writ of Amparo
became effective on October 24, 2007). At that time, the respondent judge cannot be said to have been fully
educated and informed on the novel aspects of the Writ of Amparo. Simply stated, the Rule on the Writ of
Amparo at that time cannot be said to be a simple, elementary, and well-known rule that its patent disregard
would constitute gross ignorance of the law.
We take this occasion, however, to remind the respondent judge that under Canon 1.01 of the Code of Judicial
Conduct, a judge must be "the embodiment of competence, integrity and independence."
We also reiterate that in an administrative proceeding, the complainant has the burden of proving the allegations
in the complaint by substantial evidence. We cannot give credence to charges based on mere suspicion or
speculation. Hence, when the complainant relies on mere conjectures and suppositions, and fails to substantiate
his claim, as in this case, the administrative complaint must be dismissed for lack of merit.
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the Court RESOLVES to DISMISS the administrative complaint against Judge
Gil G. Bollozos, Presiding Judge, Regional Trial Court, Branch 21, Cagayan de Oro City, for lack of merit.

[A.M. No. RTJ-06-1992/,A.M. No. P-10-2745/,A.M. No. RTJ-00-1992/,A.M. No. P-10-2746/,A.M. No. P102747/,A.M. No. P-10-2748/,A.M. No. P-10-2749/,A.M. No. P-10-2750/,A.M. No. P-10-2751/,A.M. No. P-031706/,A.M. No. RTJ-10-2214 : July 6, 2010]
FIRST DIVISION
[A.M. No. RTJ-06-1992 (Formerly OCA I.P.I. No. 98-603-RTJ) : July 06, 2010]
OLIVIA LAUREL, COURT STENOGRAPHER III, DIANA RAMOS, UTILITY WORKER, BOTH OF THE REGIONAL TRIAL
COURT, BRANCH 25, BIAN, LAGUNA AND HERMINIA JAVIER, CLERK III, RTC-OFFICE OF THE CLERK OF COURT,
RD
BIAN, LAGUNA, AND ALBERTO R. NOFUENTE, 3 ASSISTANT PROVINCIAL PROSECUTOR OF LAGUNA,
COMPLAINANTS, VS. JUDGE PABLO B. FRANCISCO, PRESIDING JUDGE, REGIONAL TRIAL COURT, BRANCH 26, STA.
CRUZ, LAGUNA, RESPONDENT.
[A.M. NO. P-10-2745 (FORMERLY OCA I.P.I. NO. 98-511-P)]
JUDGE PABLO B. FRANCISCO, PRESIDING JUDGE, REGIONAL TRIAL COURT, BRANCH 26, STA. CRUZ, LAGUNA,
COMPLAINANT, VS. OLIVIA LAUREL, COURT STENOGRAPHER III, DIANA RAMOS, UTILITY WORKER, BOTH OF THE
REGIONAL TRIAL COURT, BRANCH 25, BIAN, LAGUNA AND HERMINIA JAVIER, CLERK III, RTC-OFFICE OF THE
CLERK OF COURT, BIAN, LAGUNA, RESPONDENTS.
[A.M. NO. RTJ-00-1992 (FORMERLY OCA I.P.I. NO. 00-974-P)]

JUDGE PABLO B. FRANCISCO, PRESIDING JUDGE, REGIONAL TRIAL COURT, BRANCH 26, STA. CRUZ, LAGUNA,
COMPLAINANT, VS. OLIVIA LAUREL, COURT STENOGRAPHER III, AND DIANA RAMOS, UTILITY WORKER, ALL OF
THE REGIONAL TRIAL COURT, BRANCH 25, BIAN, LAGUNA, RESPONDENTS. X
[A.M. NO. P-10-2746 (FORMERLY OCA I.P.I. NO. 00-963-P)]
JUDGE PABLO B. FRANCISCO, PRESIDING JUDGE, REGIONAL TRIAL COURT, BRANCH 26, STA. CRUZ, LAGUNA,
COMPLAINANT, VS. GERARDO P. HERNANDEZ, CLERK OF COURT V, JULIAN R. ORFIANO, JR., COURT LEGAL
RESEARCHER III, MARIA FE L. LOPEZ, COURT STENOGRAPHER III, DIOSALYN N. PEREZ, COURT STENOGRAPHER III,
AND JULIETA M. CHAVES, COURT STENOGRAPHER III, ALL OF THE REGIONAL TRIAL COURT, BRANCH 24, BIAN,
LAGUNA, RESPONDENTS.
[A.M. NO. P-10-2747 (FORMERLY OCA I.P.I. NO. 99-740-P)]
JUDGE PABLO B. FRANCISCO,PRESIDING JUDGE, REGIONAL TRIAL COURT, BRANCH 26, STA. CRUZ, LAGUNA,
COMPLAINANT, VS. NICANOR B. ALFONSO, PROCESS SERVER, ANGELITO A. BATI, UTILITY WORKER I, ARNEL G.
MAGAT, SHERIFF IV, HERMINIA S. JAVIER, CLERK III, ALL OF THE REGIONAL TRIAL COURT-OFFICE OF THE CLERK
OF COURT, BENEDICTO B. PASCUAL, INTERPRETER III, DIANA A. RAMOS, UTILITY WORKER I, OLIVIA M. LAUREL,
COURT STENOGRAPHER III, ANDREW A. SANTOS, CLERK III, RAMON LUIS SEVILLA, PROCESS SERVER, ALL OF THE
REGIONAL TRIAL COURT, BRANCH 25, BIAN, LAGUNA, JULIAN R. ORFIANO, JR., COURT LEGAL RESEARCHER II,
CARIDAD D. CUEVILLAS, CLERK III, CARMELITA D. MORENO, CLERK III, MA. FE L. LOPEZ, COURT STENOGRAPHER
III, DIOSALYN N. PEREZ, COURT STENOGRAPHER III, JULIETA M. CHAVES, COURT STENOGRAPHER III, ALL OF THE
REGIONAL TRIAL COURT, BRANCH 24, BIAN, LAGUNA AND ATTY. MELVIN D.C. MANE, CLERK OF COURT V,
RESPONDENTS.
[A.M. NO. P-10-2748 (FORMERLY OCA I.P.I. NO. 99-573-P)]
JUDGE PABLO B. FRANCISCO, PRESIDING JUDGE, REGIONAL TRIAL COURT, BRANCH 26, STA. CRUZ, LAGUNA,
COMPLAINANT, VS.CARIDAD D. CUEVILLAS, CLERK III, BRANCH 24, REGIONAL TRIAL COURT, BIAN, LAGUNA,
RESPONDENT.
[A.M. NO. P-10-2749 (FORMERLY OCA I.P.I. NO. 02-1338-P)]
JUDGE PABLO B. FRANCISCO, PRESIDING JUDGE, REGIONAL TRIAL COURT, BRANCH 26, STA. CRUZ, LAGUNA,
COMPLAINANT, VS.HERMINIA S. JAVIER, CLERK III, NICANOR B. ALFONSO, PROCESS SERVER, ANGELITO A. BATI,
UTILITY WORKER I, ARNEL G. MAGAT, SHERIFF IV, ALL OF THE REGIONAL TRIAL COURT-OFFICE OF THE CLERK OF
COURT, BIAN, LAGUNA, CARIDAD D. CUEVILLAS, CLERK III, CARMELITA D. MORENO, CLERK III, DIOSALYN N.
PEREZ, COURT STENOGRAPHER III, MARIA FE LOPEZ, COURT STENOGRAPHER III, JULIAN ORFIANO, JR., LEGAL
RESEARCHER III, ALL OF THE REGIONAL TRIAL COURT, BRANCH 24, BIAN, LAGUNA, BENEDICTO PASCUAL,
COURT INTERPRETER III, RAMON LUIS SEVILLA, PROCESS SERVER, ANDREW A. SANTOS, CLERK III AND OLIVIA M.
LAUREL, COURT STENOGRAPHER III, ALL OF THE REGIONAL TRIAL COURT, BRANCH 25, BIAN,
LAGUNA.RESPONDENTS.
[A.M. NO. P-10-2750 (FORMERLY OCA I.P.I. NO. 02-1410-P)]
JUDGE PABLO B. FRANCISCO,PRESIDING JUDGE, REGIONAL TRIAL COURT, BRANCH 26, STA. CRUZ, LAGUNA,
COMPLAINANT, VS. ATTY. ROWENA A. MALABANAN-GALEON, CLERK OF COURT V AND BENEDICTO PASCUAL,
COURT INTERPRETER III, BOTH OF BRANCH 25, REGIONAL TRIAL COURT, BIAN, LAGUNA, RESPONDENTS.
[A.M. NO. P-10-2751 (FORMERLY OCA I.P.I. NO. 02-1411-P)]
JUDGE PABLO B. FRANCISCO, PRESIDING JUDGE, REGIONAL TRIAL COURT, BRANCH 26, STA. CRUZ, LAGUNA,

COMPLAINANT, VS. ATTY. ROWENA A. MALABANAN-GALEON, CLERK OF COURT V, REGIONAL TRIAL COURT,
BRANCH 25, BIAN, LAGUNA, RESPONDENT.
[A.M. NO. P-03-1706 (FORMERLY OCA I.P.I. NO. 02-1409-P)]
JUDGE PABLO B. FRANCISCO, PRESIDING JUDGE, REGIONAL TRIAL COURT, BRANCH 26, STA. CRUZ, LAGUNA,
COMPLAINANT, VS. ATTY. ROWENA A. MALABANAN-GALEON, CLERK OF COURT V AND OLIVIA M. LAUREL,
COURT STENOGRAPHER III, BOTH OF THE REGIONAL TRIAL COURT, BRANCH 25, BIAN, LAGUNA,
RESPONDENTS.
[A.M. NO. RTJ-10-2214 (FORMERLY OCA I.P.I. NO. 02-1592-RTJ)]
JOEL O. ARELLANO AND ARNEL M. MAGAT, BOTH DEPUTY SHERIFF, REGIONAL TRIAL COURT-OFFICE OF THE
CLERK OF COURT, BIAN, LAGUNA, COMPLAINANTS. VS.JUDGE PABLO B. FRANCISCO, PRESIDING JUDGE,
REGIONAL TRIAL COURT, BRANCH 26, STA. CRUZ, LAGUNA,RESPONDENT.

LEONARDO-DE CASTRO, J.:


For our resolution are 11 consolidated administrative cases.
While Judge Pablo B. Francisco (Judge Francisco) was detailed as acting Presiding Judge of Branch 25, and later on,
of Branch 24, of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Bian, Laguna, he instituted nine administrative complaints
(A.M. No. P-10-2745, A.M. No. RTJ-00-1992, A.M. No. P-10-2746, A.M. No. P-10-2747, A.M. No. P-10-2748, A.M.
No. P-10-2749, A.M. No. P-10-2750, A.M. No. P-10-2751, and A.M. No. P-03-1706) against the following officers
and rank and file personnel of the RTC of Bian, Laguna:
NAMES (in alphabetical order)
Nicanor B. Alfonso
Joel O. Arellano
Angelito A. Bati
Julieta M. Chaves
Caridad D. Cuevillas
Atty. Rowena M. Galeon
Atty. Gerardo P. Hernandez
Herminia Javier
Olivia Laurel
Maria Fe L. Lopez
Arnel G. Magat
Atty. Melvin D.C. Mane
Carmelita D. Moreno
Julian R. Orfiano, Jr.
Benedicto B. Pascual
Diosalyn N. Perez
Diana Ramos
Andrew A. Santos
Ramon Luis Sevilla

POSITIONS
Process Server
Sheriff
Utility Worker
Court Stenographer III
Clerk III
Branch Clerk of Court
Clerk of Court V
Clerk III
Court Stenographer III
Court Stenographer III
Sheriff IV
Branch Clerk of Court
Clerk III
Court Legal Researcher II
Interpreter III
Court Stenographer III
Utility Worker
Clerk III
Process Server

The two other administrative cases at bar were filed against Judge Francisco: (1) A.M. No. RTJ-06-1992, by Javier,

Laurel, and Ramos, together with Prosecutor Alberto R. Nofuente (Pros. Nofuente); and (2) A.M. No. RTJ-10-2214,
by Magat and Joel O. Arellano (Arellano).
We consolidated all 11 administrative cases for a more expedient and exhaustive determination, since all said
cases were related to each other and essentially involve the same parties, issues, and causes of action. However,
also considering the insufficiency of the records initially available to us, and our inability to resolve the issues
based only on the pleadings submitted by the parties, we agreed in the recommendation of the Office of the Court
Administrator (OCA) to refer the cases to the Court of Appeals for investigation, report, and recommendation. The
cases were raffled to Associate Justice Roberto A. Barrios of the Court of Appeals.
I
FACTUAL ANTECEDENTS
Judge Francisco was originally assigned as the Presiding Judge of RTC-Branch 26 of Sta. Cruz, Laguna. After
encountering a disconcerting problem in an election case, Judge Francisco requested that he be detailed
elsewhere. He was thereafter detailed as the acting Presiding Judge of RTC-Branch 25 of Binian, Laguna from
January 1996 to January 1998, and then of RTC-Branch 24, also of Binian, Laguna, from February 1998 to
September 1998.
At first, the relations between Judge Francisco and the personnel of the RTC of Binian, Laguna, were friendly and
harmonious, but animosity crept in after some time. Even then Executive Judge Helario Corcuera (Executive Judge
Corcuera) and Judge Rodrigo Cosico of the RTC of Binian, Laguna, were brought into the fray, with Judge Francisco
filing various administrative complaints against the previous two judges, which were eventually dismissed.
In a letter dated August 3, 1998 to Court Administrator Alfredo L. Benipayo (Benipayo), Alfonso, Arellano, Bati,
Cuevillas, Javier, Laurel, Lopez, Magat, Atty. Mane, Moreno, Orfiano, Pascual, Perez, Ramos, Santos, and Sevilla
expressed their sentiments against Judge Francisco, and demanded that said judge be relieved of his detail at the
RTC of Binan, Laguna and be ordered to return to his permanent post at the RTC of Sta. Cruz, Laguna. The court
personnel wrote:
We, the undersigned court personnel of Regional Trial Court, Branches XXIV and XXV and Office of the Clerk of
Court, Binan, Laguna respectfully communicate and convey unto your Honorable Office our sentiments toward
temporary Presiding Judge, HON. PABLO B. FRANCISCO of Branch XXIV, RTC-Binan, Laguna.
It is the wish of the overwhelming court personnel to have a good and harmonious relationship with their judges
so they can have a pleasant working condition to ensure a prompt and efficient performance of their duties and
responsibilities. Unfortunately, this wish is now difficult and probably impossible to achieve in the Regional Trial
Court, Binian, Laguna during the incumbency of HON. PABLO B. FRANCISCO in RTC-Branch XXIV.
It all began when Judge Francisco was ordered by your Office to vacate Branch XXV and assume his temporary
assignment in Branch XXIV. From them on, we never had an occasion to have an ideal mood and nice atmosphere
to perform efficiently our assigned tasks in the judiciary. Four (4) of the staff in Branch XXIV were charged
administratively for inexistent and imaginary reasons solely to show his might to those who go against him even on
personal matters.
Two (2) employees in Branch XXV and one (1) from the Office of the Clerk of Court and even the Assistant
Provincial Public Prosecutor were likewise victims of his suspicious mind when he cited them in direct contempt
based on concocted ideas which could have cost their liberties for a period of nine (9) days if not for the timely
temporary restraining order issued by the Honorable Court of Appeals.
Two (2) deputy sheriffs [of] the Court were obliged by HON. PABLO B. FRANCISCO to contribute Two Thousand
Pesos (P2,000.00) each to defray the "salary" of his personal bodyguard which amount is a big imposition on their
meager salary. Out of fear, the two (2) sheriffs were constrained to shoulder that burden even though it is against
their will.

Court employees had to bear insults even in open Court for slightest mistakes. He always gives bad interpretation
to laughter and smiles. He always interpreted glances to mean making faces to ridicule him. He is also fond of
delivering speeches in open Court and even after court sessions practically accusing all court personnel in RTCBinian, Laguna, are engaged in graft and corruption. Demoralizing remarks to humiliate and downgrade reputation
and morals as public servants of employees are more often than not the order of the day. This uncalled behavior
already caused the untimely resignation of his Branch Clerk of Court and utility aide and probably we will end up
the same if his continued stay in Branch XXIV will be allowed by your Honorable Office.
Lately, he announced that he will prevent any retirement benefits available to those future retirees as he is
decided to file administrative cases against each and every one of the Court personnel.
We, the undersigned Court employees of Branches XXIV and XXV of the Regional Trial Court are now totally
demoralized, scared and afraid of the vindictive mind and future moves of HON. PABLO B. FRANCISCO. Fears now
engulfed our minds as simple glances on him might cost our liberties if not our positions.
Thus, we are respectfully appealing unto your Honorable Office to give due course to this petition of ours to
forestall a total demoralization if not complete destruction of this component part of the judiciary.
Furthermore, we understand that Hon. RTC-Judge Pablo B. Francisco has a pending request to extend his stay as
Presiding Judge in Branch XXIV up to October 1, 1998. As things stand now in our Court, we respectfully appeal to
you that the said request of Hon. Pablo B. Francisco turned down and instead he be ordered to return soonest to
his original and legitimate sala at Branch XXVI RTC-Sta. Cruz, Laguna.
Furthermore, HON. PABLO B. FRANCISCO boasts that he is [a nephew of HON. CHIEF JUSTICE ANDRES V.
NARVAZA], and consequently, he is untouchable. We do hope this to be false.
We earnestly appeal that HON. PABLO B. FRANCISCO be ordered to return to his legitimate station in Branch XXVI
of Regional Trial Court, Sta. Cruz, Laguna, where he belongs or somewhere else but not in Binian, Laguna.
Should you desire, we are willing to have an audience with you to enable us to ventilate our grievances.
Aware of the open animosity exhibited between Judge Francisco and several personnel of the RTC of Binian,
Laguna, and its damaging effect on the administration of justice, some members of the Integrated Bar of the
Philippines (IBP), practicing their profession in Binian, Laguna, sent a letter dated August 19, 1998 to then Court
Administrator Benipayo, likewise requesting the return of Judge Francisco to his original court of assignment at
RTC-Branch 26 of Sta. Cruz, Laguna.
After consideration of the two letters, we issued Administrative Order No. 113-98 on August 27, 1998 revoking the
designation of Judge Francisco as acting Presiding Judge of RTC-Branch 24 of Binian, Laguna.
Despite Judge Francisco's return to the RTC of Sta. Cruz, Laguna, the administrative charges and counter-charges
between Judge Francisco and the personnel of RTC of Binian, Laguna, still subsist and await our resolution.
In a Resolution dated August 19, 2003, the Court En Banc accepted the resignation of Judge Francisco upon the
recommendation of the Office of the Court Administrator without prejudice to the continuation and outcome of
the proceedings of the administrative complaints filed against him.

A.M. No. RTJ-06-1992


As the acting Presiding Judge of RTC-Branch 24 of Binian, Laguna, Judge Francisco issued an Order dated July 14,

1998 holding Javier, Laurel, Ramos, and Pros. Nofuente guilty of Direct Contempt, for supposedly disrupting the
court proceedings in Sp. Proc. No. B-2433 held on July 14, 1998, and sentencing them to nine days' imprisonment
at the Binian Municipal Jail.
Javier, Laurel, Ramos and Pros. Nofuente filed before the Court of Appeals a Petition for Certiorari and Prohibition
with a prayer for the issuance of a Writ of Preliminary Injunction, docketed as CA-G.R. SP. No. 48356. In its
Resolution dated July 23, 1998, the Court of Appeals issued a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) against the
implementation of Judge Francisco's July 14, 1998 Order. Subsequently, the appellate court promulgated its
Decision dated September 9, 1998, setting aside the assailed Direct Contempt Order for having been issued by
Judge Francisco with grave abuse of discretion. Judge Francisco's appeal of the Court of Appeals judgment was
denied by this Court.
Judge Francisco's issuance of the Order dated July 14, 1998 also led to the filing by Javier, Laurel, Ramos, and Pros.
Nofuente of a Complaint for Gross Ignorance of the Law and Incompetence against Judge Francisco. According to
the Complaint, Judge Francisco's Direct Contempt Order was issued in violation of due process and Rule 71,
Section 1 of the Rules of Court. Said Complaint was docketed as A.M. No. RTJ-06-1992.
Pros. Nofuente narrated that around 10:00 a.m. on said date, he was with Zenaida Manansala, a complainant in
one of the cases he was handling at the RTC-Branch 25 of Binian, Laguna, to request Process Server Sevilla to
subpoena the next witness in Manansala's case. Pros. Nofuente maintained that his voice was in the ordinary
conversational volume which could not have disrupted the court proceedings, if there was any at all. He was just
one or two meters away from the courtroom and, at that time, Judge Francisco was not wearing his robe and was
seated at the lawyers' table. Pros. Nofuente denied he was conversing with Laurel and Ramos for the latter two
were inside the staff room, busily doing their assigned tasks. They were all within the sight of Judge Francisco, but
they were not aware that Judge Francisco was already throwing dagger looks at them. When Pros. Nofuente left,
Judge Francisco shouted "Mga tarantado kayo." Three days after the incident, Judge Francisco released the Order
declaring, not only Laurel, Ramos, and Pros. Nofuente, but also Javier, guilty of Direct Contempt.
Laurel and Ramos also denied that they disrupted the court proceedings in Sp. Proc. No. B-2433 on July 14, 1998.
Both of them could not remember talking to each other or to anybody or making noise at that time. Judge
Francisco did not call their attention for the supposed disruption although his sala was just one or two meters
away from their office.
Javier, for her part, argued that she was cited of direct contempt in absencia. She was not within the court
premises at 10:00 a.m. of July 14, 1998, as she was in Landbank, Calamba, Laguna to in cash her check. She
presented her Daily Time Record (DTR) for the month of July, showing that on July 14, 1998, she reported for work
only for half a day, particularly, from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. Javier also asserted that she had not even once disrupted
court proceedings by boisterous conversation or laughter or by making any noise within the court premises.
In his Answer, Judge Francisco explained that his Direct Contempt Order was not the result of a single disrespectful
act, but the culmination of a series of discourteous acts of Javier, Laurel, Ramos, and Pros. Nofuente, which
impeded the administration of justice, particularly, causing the disruption of the court proceedings in Sp. Proc. No.
B-2433 on July 14, 1998. Judge Francisco recounted that:
For several months now, after the undersigned Presiding Judge vacated Branch 25 of this Court, a group of persons
composed of Assistant Public Prosecutor Alberto R. Nofuente of the Department of Justice, and Olivia Laurel, Diana
Ramos and Herminia Javier, court employees, has subjected the undersigned to spite and ridicule. Prosecutor
Nofuente, in more than a dozen times, while within the court premises and upon sensing the presence of the
Presiding Judge anywhere near him, would evidently blurt unsavory remarks aimed at the Presiding Judge
although most of the time he would make them appear to be directed at Mayet, the food caterer of court
employees. At one time, Prosecutor Nofuente even spit on the floor to show his ill will for the Presiding Judge who
was passing by. The group also would frequently engage themselves even during office hours in raucous laughter
within the presence and hearing of the Presiding Judge with nothing funny to laugh about. At one time, the
Presiding Judge caught Diana Ramos acting like a cheerleader, egging on Prosecutor Nofuente, Olivia Laurel and

Herminia Javier to laugh harder simultaneously, which prompted the Presiding Judge to call the attention of Olivia
Laurel about her group's uncanny behavior. Even during court sessions of Branch 24, Olivia Laurel and Herminia
Javier would throw sharp glances and make faces at the Presiding Judge. Almost every member of this group has
an axe to grind against the Presiding Judge for events which transpired during his incumbency in Branch 25. Olivia
Laurel was eased out of [her] position as OIC-Branch Clerk of Court after the undersigned recommended a lawyer,
a qualified one, in her place. Diana Ramos was caught by the undersigned tearing certain pages of case records and
was publicly rebuked for it. The Presiding Judge had refused to drop charges against a relative of Herminia Javier
arising out of the implementation of a search warrant. Of course, Herminia's unwavering loyalty to her group
knows no bounds. Prosecutor Nofuente had on several occasions asked from the undersigned for the dismissal of
certain criminal cases but which request were all refused on the ground that the evidence of guilt was strong. The
prosecutor was also criticized severely by the Presiding Judge in several court decisions for filing about twenty (20)
faulty informations in incestuous rape cases which absolved the accused from the death penalty.
Lately, the group has been disrupting proceedings in Branch 24 by creating noise through boisterous conversations
punctuated by laughters inside the court premises.
In the hearing of Special Proceedings No. B-2433, on July 14, 1998, at about 10:00 o'clock a.m., the session was
disrupted lengthily because Prosecutor Nofuente engaged in a monologue at the top of his voice so near the place
where the proceedings are going on and drowning out in the process the examination being conducted by the
Presiding Judge on William Martinez.
When the Presiding Judge was about to confront him, Prosecutor Nofuente hastily entered his nearby office. At
lunch time, the group of Prosecutor Nofuente was heard by the Presiding Judge laughing heartily over the incident.
The Court expected Prosecutor Nofuente to explain at least why he committed those acts which disrupted the
proceedings in Special Proceedings No. B-2433, but up to now he has not done so, which arrogance led the Court
to conclude that he did disrupt said session deliberately.
Judge Francisco presented as evidence the transcript of stenographic notes (TSN) of the hearing of Sp. Proc. No. B2433 on July 14, 1998, taken down by Lopez, to prove what actually transpired during the proceedings.

COURT
Please place on record that the proceedings was disturbed because of the loud voice coming from Provincial
Prosecutor Alberto Nofuente who was laughing and discussing in a very loud voice a certain matter with the
employees of Branch 25 and the Presiding Judge has called the attention of those concerned, especially employees
of Branch 25 about disturbing the hearing of this case. Let it be recorded further that this is not the first time that
Provincial Prosecutor Alberto Nofuente has caused such disturbance while proceedings at Branch 24 is going on.
Judge Francisco further explained that it took him almost three days to release the Direct Contempt Order because
he first had to confer with Executive Judge Corcuera as two of the respondents, Laurel and Ramos, were the
Executive Judge's subordinates and their work might be disrupted. Judge Francisco also brought up the matter
with Emilina Santos, Javier's mother, who was also an employee at the RTC-Branch 25 of Binian, Laguna. He also
relayed the controversy to Atty. Julita Escueta-Gonzales, a close friend of Laurel, Ramos and Javier, who promised
to work out a peaceful settlement among the parties but Judge Francisco did not received any apology or
expression of regret from Javier, Laurel, Ramos, or Pros. Nofuente. Judge Francisco also averred that after the
Court of Appeals issued a TRO in CA-G.R. SP. No. 48356, enjoining the implementation of the Direct Contempt
Order, Pros. Nofuente roamed around the court premises during office hours, and the loud conversations and
raucous laughter of the prosecutor and his group could be heard all the way inside the judge's chamber. As a
result, Judge Francisco sent a letter to Executive Judge Corcuera stating that if such disrespectful attitude would
continue then he would issue another contempt citation.
Judge Francisco added that Pros. Nofuente's story that he was simply requesting for the issuance of subpoena

from Process Server Sevilla was hypocritical since a process server has no authority to issue a subpoena, a request
for subpoena cannot be made orally, and RTC-Branch 25 of Binian, Laguna was not in session at that time.
A.M. No. P-10-2745
Judge Francisco's Answer in A.M. No. RTJ-06-1992 served as his Complaint for Grave Misconduct against Javier,
Laurel, and Ramos, and was docketed as A.M. No. P-10-2745.
Investigating Officer Justice Barrios summed up Judge Francisco's charges against Javier, Laurel, and Ramos as
follows:
In charging Laurel, Judge Francisco stated that her performance as OIC Branch Clerk of Court was initially
commendable, but her friendship with Ramos and other court employees spoiled it.
Regarding his complaint against Ramos, Judge Francisco averred that she glorifies herself as a clerk in charge of
civil cases when in truth is she is but a utility worker who moonlights as caterer, and which is why she is absent
most of the time. In the month of December 1996 alone, Ramos reported to work for only 2 days. She did not file
her leave of absence but she was able to draw her full month's salary because Laurel approved her falsified daily
time record.
As to Judge Francisco's complaint against Javier, it was alleged that she is a close relative of a certain Alfredo
Artecen. Sometime in August 1997, CIS operatives stationed in Pacita Complex, San Pedro, Laguna, applied for a
search warrant. Due to the irregular service of said search warrant, the Court asked the CIS Operatives and the
wife of Alfredo Artecen to explain why they should not be held for contempt. Javier expressed her displeasure to
the show cause order, and told Judge Francisco that she would not testify for the arrest of Alfredo Artecen. Apart
from this, Laurel, Javier and Ramos converged most of the time during office hours near the table of Laurel which
is just about two (2) meters from the sala of Branch 24. This with their boorish behavior, showed a concerted
design to malign and harass Judge Francisco.
In their Joint Comment, Javier, Laurel, and Ramos claimed that Judge Francisco's accusations against them were
malicious and made to satisfy the judge's personal grudge against them. Justice Barrios, in his Report, provided the
following summary of Javier's, Laurel's, and Ramos's comments:
Laurel denied having signed any falsified daily time record of Ramos when she was the [Officer in Charge (OIC)]
Branch Clerk of Court as Ramos honestly indicated her absences for the month of December 1996. She also
declared that she never felt bad when she was ousted as the OIC Branch Clerk of Court because she knew for a fact
that she is not a lawyer and that the position will be filled up anytime by one who is qualified. Besides the one
who was later on appointed as the Branch Clerk of Court was Atty. Melvin Mane, her cousin, hence there was no
reason for her to feel bad.
Ramos for her part declared that aside from being a utility worker she also works as a record custodian of civil
cases, but strangely this is not known to Judge Francisco. Ramos stated that she acted as the maid of Judge
Francisco for a long time. She was tasked with the cleaning of his chamber and the court premises, including
serving him free snacks, shining his shoes, preparing his bench, stitching his pants, and other errands she never
could say no to, and a dance instructor in his ballroom practices which sometimes starts at 3:00 o'clock p.m. and
lasts until midnight. Ramos denied that she moonlights as caterer, although she admitted having cooked food but
then only for a few relatives and mostly during Christmas season and for free. She stated however that she cooked
on the request of Judge Francisco every time he arranged ballroom parties.
Javier also denied the allegations against her and averred that there was no instance that she showed her
displeasure over the actions taken by Judge Francisco in the case of Alfredo Artecen. She could have easily warned
Alfredo Artecen who happened to be his neighbor about the search warrant, but she did not.
In addition, Javier, Laurel, and Ramos accused Judge Francisco of falsifying the TSN of the proceedings in Sp. Proc.
No. B-2433 on July 14, 1998. They alleged that Judge Francisco coerced and threatened Stenographic Reporter

Lopez to insert and add words, phrases, and situations in the said transcript to make it appear that Pros. Nofuente
disrupted court proceedings. Lopez even executed an Affidavit attesting that she was pressured by Judge
Francisco into entering the said falsities into the TSN, to wit:
1. I am one of the court stenographer assigned at the Regional Trial Court, Branch 24, Binian 2. On July 14, 1998, at
about 10:30 o'clock in the morning, a proceedings for confinement, docketed as SP PROC NO. B-2433 entitled
"William I. Martinez vs. Jose Martinez" was made by the Regional Trial Court presided by the Honorable Pablo B.
Francisco and in such proceedings I was the court stenographer assigned to take the stenographic notes of the
proceedings which I did, copy of the original stenographic notes is hereto attached and made integral part hereof,
as Annex A;
3. A few days after the Honorable Judge Pablo B. Francisco was served a copy of the petition for certiorari in CAG.R. SP No. 48356 entitled "Public Prosecutor Alberto R. Nofuente, Olivia M. Laurel, Diana A. Ramos and Herminia
Javier -versus- Hon. Judge Pablo B. Francisco," I was called in the afternoon by the Honorable Judge Pablo B.
Francisco to transcribe the stenographic notes taken on July 14, 1998 at SP PROC No. B-2433 entitled "William I.
Martinez vs. Jose Martinez" which I complied with;
4. After I have transcribed the stenographic notes before a computer, the Honorable Judge Pablo B. Francisco went
to my place and instructed me to add and insert into the transcript of the stenographic notes the following words
and phrases.
a. appears to be irritated by the loud voice of Fiscal Nofuente - line 18, 19 and 20, page 2, T.S.N. July 14, 1998.
b. stood up to confront the person creating noise - line 9 and 10, page 3, T.S.N. July 14, 1998.
c. (At this juncture, the Presiding Judge was advised by the stenographer to rest because his face was becoming
reddish) line 3, 4 and 5, page 4, T.S.N. July 14, 1998.
5. The truth of the matter is that the afore quoted portions which were required by the Honorable Judge Pablo B.
Francisco to be added and inserted into the transcript do not appear in the original stenographic notes, Annex A
hereto and I complied because of fear that if I would not comply, I might be subjected to some actions against me
similar to those members of the staff of the Clerk of Court of the Regional Trial Court, Binian, Laguna who are
being charged administratively, for one reason or the other, by the Honorable Judge Pablo B. Francisco, aside from
the fact that he was my superior being the Presiding Judge of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 24, Binian, Laguna.
6. I am executing this affidavit for the purpose of setting the records straight and to attest to the truth of the
foregoing.
Javier, Laurel, and Ramos further stated that almost all of the court personnel of the RTC of Binian, Laguna had
fallen victim to Judge Francisco's vindictiveness. Judge Francisco became hostile to everybody. He branded the
court personnel as disrespect, misinterpreting the latter's smiles and glances as making faces or laughter as insult.
It was for this reason that some personnel filed a petition with the Supreme Court requesting for Judge Francisco's
return to his original station at the RTC of Sta. Cruz, Laguna.
A.M. No. RTJ-00-1992
A.M. No. RTJ-00-1992 involves Judge Francisco's Complaint for Falsification of Public Documents against Laurel
and Ramos. He averred that Laurel, as Officer-in-Charge (OIC) Branch Clerk of Court, approved Ramos's allegedly
falsified DTR. A similar case was also filed by Judge Francisco before the Office of the Ombudsman but it was
ordered closed and terminated in a Joint Resolution dated July 28, 2000.
Justice Barrios culled the following antecedent facts in A.M. No. RTJ-00-1992 from the pleadings submitted by the
parties:

Judge Francisco averred that when he was still the detailed presiding judge of Branch 25, he noticed that Ramos
did not report to work and that she did not perform her duties of cleaning the courtroom and surrounding areas.
He confronted Ramos about this but she reasoned out that she was always tasked by the then Branch Clerk of
Court to bring certain documents to the Supreme Court and that whenever she is absent, she filed her leave of
absence. When the Branch Clerk of Court resigned, Laurel was designated as the OIC Branch Clerk of Court and
Ramos' absences continued. A person named "Kulot" was seen cleaning the court room and adjoining areas and
later it came to his knowledge that Ramos was engaged in the food catering business and "Kulot" was one of her
waiters. Judge Francisco stated that Ramos never actually performed her tasks as utility worker and on the days
that she was present in the office, she positioned herself in one of the office tables and gloried herself as clerk in
charge of civil cases. Apart from this Ramos also engaged in the processing of EASCO surety bonds and typing
marriage contracts officiated by him or that of Judge Rodrigo Cosico, now Justice of the Court of Appeals. It was
because of his heavy work load that Judge Francisco failed to check Ramos' application for leave of absence until
December 1997 when he found out that her approved leave of absence were far less than her actual
absences. Despite her absences Ramos was able to draw her salary because she made it appear in her daily time
record that she reported for work every working day from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 o'clock p.m. and Laurel knowing fully
well of her absences approved the daily time record. It was from March 1996 to January 1998 when Ramos did not
report to work everyday.
Ramos in addition to her reputations and assertions in [A.M No. P-10-2745], declared that "Kulot" never cleaned
the courtroom in her sake but he frequented their office because she recommended him to Judge Francisco upon
the judge's request to be taught of other variations in ballroom dancing. It was "Kulot" who helped her clear the
area of the courtroom before ballroom practices thus they pulled and pushed tables and chairs and sometimes it
was he who swept the floor and put back the tables and chairs for the next day's hearing. Ramos denied too that
she had some participation in the processing of EASCO surety bonds and typing marriage licenses.
Laurel on the other hand admitted that she signed and approved the daily time records of Ramos when she was
still the Acting Branch Clerk of Court, but denied that they were falsified.
According to Ramos and Laurel, this case is only one of the several cases filed by Judge Francisco against all the
court personnel of Branches 24 and 25 who petitioned for his ouster from the said courts and he filed
administrative and criminal cases though unfounded and baseless just to get even with them.
In his Reply-Affidavit, Judge Francisco averred that contrary to the assertions that Ramos was her dance instructor,
he stated that he received his dancing lessons from one Vinia Bulfaney of Jun Encarnacion Dance Studio from
September to December 1996 and that he took dance lessons at home from one Jennifer Monte. In his attack
against Ramos, Judge Francisco stated that speaking of intestinal fortitude, respondent Diana Ramos indeed
possesses an abundance of this debasing quality as she now reports for work heavy with a child, without any
qualm as to how the public might react to this "interesting stage" of her life, considering that her marriage to her
husband, has been recently annulled and she is not known to have contracted a second marriage or reconciled
with her husband; that [Judge Francisco] is quite thankful that he has been away from Binian for the past one year
and a half otherwise, given the moral depravity of [Ramos] in claiming abuse of respondent Diana Ramos by [Judge
Francisco], a claim by [Laurel and Ramos] of filial relation between [Judge Francisco] and the baby within
respondent Diana Ramos' womb might not have been a distinct possibility.
A.M. No. P-10-2746
A.M. No. P-10-2746 is another Complaint for Falsification of Public Documents filed by Judge Francisco against
Branch Clerk of Court Atty. Hernandez, Legal Researcher Orfiano, and Stenographers Chaves, Lopez, and Perez, all
of RTC-Branch 24 of Bian, Laguna. Judge Francisco instituted a similar case against the same court personnel
before the Office of the Ombudsman but it was ordered closed and terminated by the said office. Justice Barrios's
Report presented a gist of Judge Francisco's Complaint:
Judge Francisco averred in his affidavit that when he was detailed as the Presiding Judge of Branch 25 he noticed
that some personnel of Branch 24, particularly the stenographers Perez, Lopez, Dilay (deceased) and Chaves were

not reporting for work everyday. Since he frequented the library which is near the working tables of the
stenographers, he noticed that only the stenographer on duty reported to work. Branch 24 was still then being
presided by Justice Rodrigo Cosico. Chaves disappeared sometime in July 1997 and surfaced only in November or
December of the same year and that according to her she went on vacation to the United States. When Justice
Cosico was promoted to the Court of Appeals, Judge Francisco then presided over the hearing of motions in cases
pending in Branch 24. That was when he was able to observe closely the work attitude of the employees
therein. On the thought that these stenographers were not filing their leaves of absence Judge Francisco went to
the Office of the Court Administrator and he was surprised to learn that the approved leaves of absence were too
minimal to cover their actual absences from work. Also upon his verification from the Finance Division, he learned
that these stenographers were receiving their full salary every month despite their unauthorized absences. In
order to correct the alleged rampant practice of falsifying the daily time records, Judge Francisco issued
Memorandum Circulars but the stenographers paid no attention to these and continued to absent themselves
from work and to falsify their daily time records. Judge Francisco sent a letter to the Court Administrator Alfredo
Benipayo regarding these alleged absences. Responding to this complaint Justice Benipayo informed him that
though authorized to act on this but then court operations would be paralyzed if he were to impose disciplinary
action against them. Hence through the intercession of Judge Corcuera, he compromised with these
stenographers that they will not be meted out preventive suspension provided they mend their work
behavior. Judge Francisco alleged that their promise was however just to trick him for later these stenographers
joined in the petition that he be returned to Branch 26 of Sta. Cruz, Laguna. Again on July 1998, he caught Lopez
and Perez making false attendance entries in their daily time records and in the logbook. These stenographers
falsified their daily time records from April 1996 to July 1998 and the then OIC Branch Clerk of Court Orfiano as
well as the Branch Clerk of Court Hernandez approved their daily time records knowing fully well that these were
falsified.
The concerned court personnel all denied Justice Francisco's allegations that they were involved in the falsification
of DTRs, arguing that these were merely uncorroborated and false accusations which should be dismissed.
Chaves contradicted Justice Francisco's claim that she disappeared in July 1997 and resurfaced only in November
or December of the same year. She averred that for the days she was absent from work, she had filed the
corresponding leave of absence. She admitted being on leave from July 21 to September 15, 1997 but it was a
vacation leave with pay. She went to the United States of America, and she secured the proper clearance and
travel authority from Court Administrator Benipayo before the trip. She reported back to work on September 15,
1997 and was present since then. Chaves asserted that Judge Francisco filed the complaint against her out of
personal revenge because Chaves's husband was among the IBP members who signed a petition seeking the
judge's return to his permanent station at the RTC of Sta. Cruz, Laguna.
Lopez and Perez pointed out that Judge Francisco only made a general allegation that they falsified their DTRs from
April 1996 to July 1998, without specifying the particular dates when they were purportedly absent without
leave. They countered that it was Judge Francisco who was not filing his leave of absence and falsified his monthly
certificates of service because he did not conduct hearings on Wednesdays during the same time period. They also
contested Judge Francisco's claim that he went to the library to research almost everyday because said judge was
only sending somebody else to borrow books or reading materials for him. Perez explained that it was impossible
for her to have reported for work only twice a week because she was rendering services as stenographer to
Branches 24 and 25 of the RTC of Binian, Laguna. Lopez asserted that she dutifully reflected in the attendance
logbook the exact time of her arrival and departure, and she filed the corresponding leave of absence whenever
she was unable to report to work. However, at one instance, Judge Francisco called her, Moreno, and Perez,
together with the late Dilay, to the judge's chamber where he told them to change some entries in their
DTRs. Although the four of them were reluctant, they complied in fear because Judge Francisco was very angry
and persistent at that time.
Orfiano could not recall having signed the allegedly falsified DTRs of the stenographers Chaves, Lopez, and Perez
for April 1996 to July 1998. Orfiano further explicated that it was not only he who approved the DTRs, but also the
two Branch Clerks of Court, who have since resigned, and even Judge Francisco himself from the months of May to

July 1998, when he (Orfiano) was the OIC Branch Clerk of Court.
Atty. Hernandez, in his Comment, stated that he served as the Branch Clerk of Court of RTC-Branch 24 of Binian,
Laguna from July 17, 1997 until his resignation on June 30, 1998. At the time he assumed his position, no bounty
clock was available for the employees of RTC-Branch 24. As there was no way to verify the employees' actual time
of arrival and departure, Atty. Hernandez, in signing the DTRs, just relied on the employees' representation that
the entries therein were true and correct. Use of an attendance logbook was implemented beginning only on
February 20, 1998, pursuant to Judge Francisco's Memorandum Circular No. 08-98. Judge Francisco subsequently
issued Memorandum No. 01 on May 20, 1998 transferring the authority to sign the employees' DTRs from Atty.
Hernandez to himself. From February 20 to May 28, 1998, when Atty. Hernandez was still allowed to sign the
DTRs, he made sure that his co-employees faithfully reflected therein their absences by comparing the entries in
their respective DTRs with those in the attendance logbook.
A.M. No. P-10-2747
Judge Francisco was not yet through with filing administrative charges against the personnel of the RTC of Binian,
Laguna. In his Letter-Complaint dated August 21, 1998, docketed as A.M. No. P-10-2747, he accused several court
personnel with different administrative offenses, viz:
a. NICANOR B. ALFONSO is a process server in the Office of the Clerk of Court. But I came to know that he is a
court employee only in December 1997 because, in the almost two (2) years then of my detail in Binian, I seldom
saw him in the court premises. I knew him more as the driver-bodyguard of Mayor Bayani "Arthur" Alonte of
Binian.
When I interviewed Mr. Alfonso, he told me that he was already rendering service exclusively for Mayor Alonte
and his family for about five (5) years. He admitted though that all the while he was drawing his salary from the
Supreme Court. I then directed him to return to work, but he refused reasoning out that his stint with Mayor
Alonte "had been the arrangement" with the other executive judges of the RTC before me.
b. BENEDICTO B. PASCUAL is the Court Interpreter in Branch 25. He manages to hold on to his position despite his
lack of civil service eligibility. A perennial bar candidate, Mr. Pascual took his last examination in October 1996.
To prepare for the bar exams, Mr. Pascual managed to obtain leave with pay on the following dates:
"81 days sick leave with pay from April 1 to July 31, 1996, and 43 days vacation leave with pay from August 1 to
September 30, 1996."
There was almost no leave credits left for Mr. Pascual as he began attending his review classes.
The bar examination was given in October 1996 and, understandably, Mr. Pascual was absent the whole
month. He reported for work only in the middle of November 1996 as a matter of fact. So that his absence for one
and a half (1 ) months from October 1, 1996 was no longer covered by the leave granted to him. But he was still
able to draw his salaries in full for the months of October and November as he even earned leave credits during his
unauthorized absence.
c. ANGELITO BATI is a Utility Worker in the Office of the Clerk of Court. Sometime in May 1998, I came to know
that he was the person serving summons upon the defendants in civil cases assigned in Branch 24. When
confronted by the undersigned, Mr. Bati admitted doing so supposedly with "proper authorization" from Sheriff IV
Arnel Magat. On October July (sic) 28, 1998, I issued a memorandum, calling for an investigation of the
anomaly. So far, at least two (2) defendants in those civil cases have come up and identified Mr. Bati as the person
who served the summons upon them.
d. ARNEL G. MAGAT is Sheriff IV under the Office of the Clerk of Court. He was the one who "deputized" Angelito
Bati to do the service of summons aforesaid. Yet, he prepared and signed the Sheriff's Return certifying that said

service of summons were done by him personally on the dates given.


Mr. Magat also has a pending administrative case wherein Elizabeth Tiongco, a plaintiff in an unlawful detainer
case, accuses him of diverting to his personal use the amount of about P40,000.00 collected by him from the
defendant. When I called the parties to a conference to settle the dispute, Mr. Magat promised to turn over said
sum of P40,000.00 to Ms. Tiongco in installments. Ms. Tiongco has been complaining to me that Mr. Magat has
not remitted to her any installment payment under his promise.
e. JULIAN ORFIANO, JR. is the Legal Researcher and former OIC Branch Clerk of Court in Branch 24. While
conducting an inventory of the cases in Branch 24, soon after my detail therein, I noticed that the number of the
expediente of active cases far exceeded by more than a hundred number pending cases reported to the Supreme
Court monthly.
Mr. Orfiano was the first court personnel to raise his voice in protest when appraised of my move to request the
OCAD for a physical audit of said cases. Later on, I came to know that Mr. Orfiano was the one personally
responsible for the preparation of said monthly reports.
In April 1998, certain OCAD personnel, accompanied by Justice Molina, did conduct said physical audit, the result
of which despite my follow-up, has not yet been released.
Mr. Orfiano was also the OIC Branch Clerk of Court who during his tenure of office approved the falsified Daily
Time Records (DTR) of Branch 24 court personnel.
f. CARIDAD CUEVILLAS AND LITA MORENO are the clerks in charge of criminal and civil cases, respectively, in
Branch 24. Both of them detested being required to report for work everyday and being reprimanded for not
doing their work properly. So many hearings of cases have been postponed due to their failure to prepare either
the notices to the parties or the subpoena to witness.
Lately, Ms. Moreno concealed from me certain motions which required my immediate attention.
g. MARIA FE LOPEZ AND [DIOSALYN] PEREZ are Stenographers in Branch 24. During the time that Judge (now
Justice) Cosico was presiding in Branch 24, all four (4) stenographers in the branch reported for work, at most, two
(2) times a week. Yet, they were drawing their full monthly salary by falsifying their DTRs which were approved by
Mr. Julian Orfiano and later by Atty. Gerardo Hernandez, resigned Branch Clerk of Court.
h. DIANA RAMOS, OLIVIA LAUREL, ANDREW SANTOS, [RAMON] LUIS SEVILLA AND HERMINIA JAVIER are court
employees closely identified with a group headed by Third Public Prosecutor Alberto R. Nofuente, the prosecutor
who filed about twenty (20) Informations for simple rapes before Branch 25, notwithstanding the private
complainants' statements that those who ravished them were either their fathers, step fathers, uncles etc., thus
allowing all the accused to escape from the death penalty. For severely criticizing Prosecutor Nofuente for his
ignorance of criminal procedure, I was subjected by this group to spite and ridicule for several months until I finally
cited them, except Luis Sevilla and Andrew Santos, for direct contempt.
Some members of this group are also known as brokers for EASCO bail bonds and for fast tracked wedding
ceremonies in court. They felt bad when I worked for the banning of EASCO as surety due to unpaid liabilities
under its bonds.
Of course, some members of this group do not report for work everyday and yet are able to draw their full months
salary, especially DIANA RAMOS who moonlights as a food caterer.
i. ATTY. MELVIN D.C. MANE resigned recently as Deputy Clerk of Court in Branch 25. He dreams of becoming a
judge so he acted like one during his tenure. He asked me to assign to him several cases for drafting of the

decisions. He failed to accomplish his task before my imposed limit of sixty (60) days, so I was constrained to work
on these cases double time to catch the deadline. I chastised him severely for his indolence.
In a letter dated March 9, 1999, addressed to the then Chief Justice Hilario G. Davide, Jr., Judge Francisco
requested immediate action on A.M. No. P-10-2747.
In their Joint Comment dated January 6, 2000, all the charged court personnel contended that Judge Francisco's
Letter-Complaint should be considered a mere scrap of paper because it was not verified nor corroborated.
Nevertheless, they also voiced their denial of the charges against them. They accused Judge Francisco of falsifying
his certificates of service by not reflecting therein that he was not holding session every Wednesday from
December 4, 1995 to January 5, 1997. In fact, there was one Wednesday when then Deputy Court Administrator
Zenaida N. Elepano (DCA Elepano) called by long distance to inquire about a case handled by Judge Francisco, but
the judge was not around. Judge Francisco did not file his leave of absence yet still received in full his monthly
salary for the period.
Judge Francisco filed a Reply dated January 25, 2000, in which he insisted on the validity of his unverified LetterComplaint against the court employees, reasoning that the Rules of Court does not require that such a complaint
be under oath since he, the complainant, is a judge. Judge Francisco also denied that he was not conducting trials
on Wednesdays and, as proof, he attached photocopies of the calendar of cases falling on Wednesdays.
A.M. No. P-10-2748
In A.M. No. P-10-2748, Judge Francisco filed a Complaint for Grave Misconduct against Cuevillas.
Judge Francisco's Complaint stemmed from Civil Case No. B-5217, entitled Edward Potenciano v. Rogelio "Ogie"
Almoro, an ejectment case which originated from the Municipal Trial Court (MTC) of Binian, Laguna. As soon as
the complete records of said case were elevated to the RTC on appeal, Judge Francisco issued an order directing
the counsels of both parties to submit their respective memoranda, after which, the case would be deemed
submitted for decision. However, Cuevillas never informed Judge Francisco that the parties have already
submitted their memoranda and, as a result, Judge Francisco was not able to render a decision within the
prescribed period. Judge Francisco asserted that this was not the first time such an incident happened. On
previous occasions, Cuevillas hid pleadings and other important documents from Judge Francisco, thus, the latter
was not able to act promptly on said communications.
Cuevillas admitted in her Commence that she received the memoranda of the parties in Civil Case No. B-5217 but
she did not hide said pleadings from Judge Francisco. Cuevillas clarified that she was in charge of the records in
criminal cases. She only received the memoranda of the parties in Civil Case No. B-5217 because Moreno, the one
in charge of the records in civil cases, was not around at that time. Cuevillas averred that she turned over the
memoranda to Moreno for processing as soon as the latter arrived.
In his Reply, Judge Francisco reiterated that Cuevillas intentionally concealed the memoranda. Cuevillas's story
was unlikely as the parties filed their memoranda on separate dates in April 1998 and Moreno was present for the
whole month.
Cuevillas, in her Rejoinder, laid the blame for the delay in the resolution of Civil Case No. B-5217 on Judge
Francisco. Judge Francisco was aware that the case would be deemed submitted for decision in April 1998
whether or not the parties filed their memoranda, and the judge should have already demanded the case records
from Moreno by that time. Cuevillas further denied that she intentionally failed to bring to Judge Francisco's
attention several urgent matters.

A.M. No. P-10-2749

Judge Francisco filed a Letter-Complaint for Dishonesty and Misconduct against Alfonso, Bati, Cuevillas, Javier,
Laurel, Lopez, Magat, Moreno, Orfiano, Pascual, Perez, Santos, and Sevilla, who accused the judge of falsifying his
certificates of service because he was not reporting for work on Wednesdays, and yet was receiving his full
monthly salary. The Complaint was docketed as A.M. No. P-10-2749.
In his Letter-Complaint, Judge Francisco denied the court personnel's accusation against him, averring that he
always conducted hearings on Wednesdays during his detail at the RTC of Binian, Laguna. As evidence, he
presented some of the court calendar that fell on Wednesdays between January 17 to December 18, 1996. Aside
from conducting hearings in Binian, Judge Francisco was also tasked to preside over Election Contest Nos. SC-10
and SC-11 in Sta. Cruz, which were heard every Wednesday afternoon from March 1996 until September 1997. On
such days, Judge Francisco had to travel from Binian to Sta. Cruz, with a distance of about 50 kilometers, to fulfill
his assignments. Judge Francisco likewise contradicted the allegation that he was absent the day DCA Elepano
called his office, and he was actually able to talk to DCA Elepano. Lastly, Judge Francisco claimed that Laurel was
even one of the stenographers in one of the Wednesday hearings and Santos sometimes participated in the
preparation of the calendar of cases for Wednesday.
In their Comment, the concerned court personnel pointed out that Judge Francisco's charges against them were
not corroborated by material witnesses and that the purported court calendar of cases presented by the judge
were uncertified photocopies, hence, inadmissible as evidence. They insisted that Judge Francisco did not talk to
DCA Elepano when the latter called the judge's office. The truth was DCA Elepao was able to talk to Justice
Cosico who politely suggested to her that she talk personally with Judge Francisco. The court personnel reiterated
their charge against Judge Francisco for falsification of his certificates of service, based on the certifications issued
by Branch Clerk of Court Atty. Galeon. According to Atty. Galeon's certifications: (1) except for December 14, 1995,
no other session was held every Wednesday between December 4, 1995 and January 5, 1996; and (2) no setting of
cases was made between February 7, 1996 and August 27, 1997. During these periods, Judge Francisco was still
detailed at the RTC of Binian. Laguna. When the court personnel verified with the OCA, they found that no
application for leave was filed by Judge Francisco for the above stated periods except for October 16, November
20 and 27, 1996. They additionally alleged that Judge Francisco made a trip abroad without approval from the
Supreme Court. Finally, they accused Judge Francisco of extortion and corruption in relation to an election case he
was handling in Binian, Laguna.
Judge Francisco maintained in his Reply that he was present and conducting hearings from January to November
1996, except April 8, 1996. According to Judge Francisco, he had already discussed his trip abroad with Chancellor
Ameurfina Melencio-Herrera of the Philippine Judicial Academy and then Court Administrator Benipayo, who were
both satisfied with his explanation. Judge Francisco also asserted that the evidence introduced by the court
personnel in their Comment, specifically, Atty. Galeon's certifications, were falsified documents. Consequently,
Judge Francisco expressed his intention to file another administrative complaint against Atty. Galeon, Laurel, and
Pascual.
A.M. No. P-10-2750
A.M. No. P-10-2751
A.M. No. P-03-1706
True enough, Judge Francisco filed three more administrative cases for Falsification of Public Documents docketed
as: (1) A.M. No. P-10-2750, against Atty. Galeon and Pascual; (2) A.M. No. P-10-2751, against Atty. Galeon alone;
and (3) A.M. No. P-03-1706 against Atty. Galeon and Laurel.
Judge Francisco charged Atty. Galeon and Pascual in A.M. No. P-10-2750 with Falsification of Public Documents in
relation to the photocopies of two supposed pages of the court calendar book of RTC-Branch 25 of Binian, Laguna,
which were in the handwriting of Pascual and certified by Atty. Galeon, showing that no case was set for hearing
on June 11 and 18, 1997. Judge Francisco alleged that the certified photocopies in question contained untruthful
narration of facts because so many cases were set for hearing and actually tried on June 11 and 18, 1997, and
these could be corroborated by the minutes and TSNs of the proceedings

Judge Francisco again accused Atty. Galeon in A.M. No. P-10-2751 of for issuing a certification stating that per the
court calendar book, no court session was held under Presiding Judge Francisco every Wednesday for the period of
December 4, 1995 to January 5, 1996, except December 14, 1995.
In A.M. No. P-03-1706, Judge Francisco took Atty. Galeon and Laurel to task for conspiring with each other and
making untruthful narration of facts in the certified photocopies of ten alleged pages of the court calendar book
which showed that no case was set for hearing on August 1, 4-8, 11-15, 18-22, and 25-28 of the year 1997. The
false entries in the court calendar book were written by Laurel and the photocopies of the book pages bearing said
false entries were certified by Atty. Galeon. Judge Francisco insisted there were so many cases set for hearing and
actually tried on the given dates, and it was only on August 22, 1997 that no hearing was conducted because he
was then on leave.
The certified photocopies of the court calendar book were presented as evidence against Judge Francisco in A.M.
No. P-10-2749. The said documents caused Judge Francisco damage and prejudice for they made it appear that
the judge falsified his certificates of service. Judge Francisco attributed malice on the parts of Laurel and Pascual,
for making false entries into the court calendar book; and on the part of Atty. Galeon, for certifying the
photocopies of the falsified book pages. Pascual, as Court Interpreter, was present during the hearings held on
June 11 and 18, 1997, and even prepared the minutes of the proceedings. Laurel likewise knew of the hearings
held in August 1997 as she was the one who took stenographic notes in some of these proceedings. Atty. Galeon,
having no personal knowledge of the schedule of hearing of cases, could not have issued certifications
thereon. She was not yet even the Branch Clerk of Court in June 1997.
Expectedly, Atty. Galeon, Laurel, and Pascual denied the charges against them.
Atty. Galeon pointed out that it was her ministerial duty to issue the certifications. Moreover, she did not make
any false narration of facts in her certifications. She merely certified that the photocopies were the faithful
reproduction of the original pages of the court calendar book after careful comparison. Her certifications also did
not contain any derogatory or malicious remarks against Judge Francisco. Atty. Galeon maintained that there was
no malice or ill will on her part when she issued the certifications and she was not aware that these would be used
by her co-employees in support of their accusations against Judge Francisco.
Laurel asserted that the charge against her is but another retaliatory act of Judge Francisco against those who
petitioned his ouster from RTC- Branch 24 of Binian, Laguna. Laurel admitted that she was the OIC Clerk of Court
from June 25, 1996 to August 1997. She detailed that the court calendar book was prepared during the last
quarter of 1996 because, as a matter of practice, the schedule of hearing of cases were prepared in advance and
Judge Francisco was aware of such practice. Hence, Judge Francisco cannot claim that the court calendar book was
manufactured and the entries therein were falsified.
Pascual acknowledged that the entries in the court calendar book were in his handwriting, but this was easily done
because it was his duty to maintain and keep custody of the court calendar books.
On March 26, 2003, we issued a Resolution adopting the Report and Recommendation of the OCA and dismissing
A.M. No. P-10-2750 for lack of merit. Said Resolution reads:
Considering the Office of the Court Administrator's Report dated March 3, 2003, on the sworn complaint charging
respondents with falsification of public documents, reporting as follows:
In the instant case, respondents did not make any statement in a narration of facts. What respondent Galeon did
was just to certify that Annexes "A" and "B" are certified Xerox copies. Respondent cannot also be held liable for
falsification of public documents under paragraph 7 of Article 171 of the Revised Penal Code because what she
certified were Xerox copies of pages of the calendar book in the Office of the Branch Clerk of Court. Complainant
was not able to prove that the originals from where the certified Xerox copies were taken did not exist, or that
RTC, Branch 25 of Binian, Laguna had no calendar book when the certifications were issued.

The Court Resolved to ADOPT the recommendation to DISMISS the case for lack of merit.
Not long thereafter, we issued another Resolution on April 9, 2003 dismissing A.M. No. P-10-2751 for lack of merit,
to wit:
Considering the complaint dated May 24, 2002 filed by Judge Pablo B. Francisco charging Atty. Rowena A.
Malabanan-Galeon with falsification of public documents for issuing a certification dated July 2, 2001 which has
relevance to [A.M. No. P-10-2749], the Court Resolves to:
(a) NOTE the said complaint; and
(b) DISMISS the case for lack of merit.
We subsequently denied Judge Francisco's Motions for Reconsideration of the dismissal of A.M. No. P-10-2750 and
A.M. No. P-10-2751 on the ground that the motions merely reiterated the same arguments earlier raised and did
not present any substantial reason not previously invoked or any matter not considered and passed upon by the
Court.
A.M. No. RTJ-10-2214
During the investigation of A.M. No. RTJ-06-1992 and A.M. No. P-10-2745 by Justice Barrios, Arellano and Magat,
both Deputy Sheriffs of the of the RTC of Binian, Laguna, testified that Judge Francisco exerted undue influence
upon them to shell out P1,000.00 and P3,000.00, respectively, to defray the salary of the judge's bodyguard
Joselito Nuestro (Nuestro). Because of the said testimonies, Judge Francisco filed before the OCA an
administrative complaint for Gross Misconduct against Arellano and Magat, docketed as OCA I.P.I. No. 02-3331P. This case, however, was not among those assigned to Justice Barrios for investigation.
Arellano and Magat countered with a Complaint for Grave Misconduct against Judge Francisco, docketed as A.M.
No. RTJ-10-2214. Justice Barrios presented the allegations of the opposing parties in his Report, thus:
Arellano and Magat averred that Judge Francisco personally handpicked Joselito Nuestro from Indang, Cavite to act
and perform as his own security officer against the threats he was then receiving from friends and supporters of
Mayor Dennis Panganiban whose electoral case was pending before him. They alleged that Judge Francisco
extorted from them P4,000.00 for Joselito Nuestro's monthly compensation. Because he was their superior, they
were obliged to accede with Arellano contributing P1,500.00 and Magat P2,000.00. This matter has been brought
to the attention of the Binian police where they both gave their statements on July 17, 1998 but these were not
subscribed because at that time the Prosecutors and Clerks of Court refused to take part for fear of the wrath of
Judge Francisco. These were only subscribed on December 16, 2002 when Arellano and Magat were called to
testify.
In his Comment, Judge Francisco denied that Joselito Nuestro became his bodyguard. Rather he was his personal
utility worker from September 1997 to February 8, 1998, and he was constrained to hire him because Ramos was
not doing the chores assigned to her. He added that he employed him also because the man needed money for his
ailing father. It was PO3 Melchor Dionisio who was assigned by the Philippine National Police as his security from
October 1995 to May 1999. Judge Francisco claimed that their statements were not only unsubscribed but were
also inconsistent. These two sheriffs allowed themselves to become the tools of Justice Rodrigo Cosico who
harbored a grudge against him because he initiated the judicial audit for Branch 24 of which he was the Presiding
Judge before his promotion to the Court of Appeals. Arellano was Justice Cosico's full time driver while drawing
salary from the government. As for Magat, he was the subject of a complaint filed by a certain Elizabeth Tiongco
who reported to him that Magat asked for P2,500.00 in exchange for the implementation of the writ of execution
in an ejectment case. Nothing happened to the writ but Magat failed to return the check issued to him which
prompted Judge Francisco to advise Elizabeth Tiongco to file the necessary administrative complaint.
In their reply, Arellano admitted that he served as driver of Justice Rodrigo Cosico when he was still the utility
worker of Branch 24, but he did not let this interfere with his duties. He drove for Justice Cosico only early in the

morning in going to the court and then back to his residence in the afternoon. Magat and Arellano argued that if
there were inconsistencies in the sworn statements executed in 1998 these were minor only and should not
negate the fact that Judge Francisco extorted money from them.
As a result of his investigation of the 11 administrative cases, Justice Barrios made the following recommendations:
WHEREFORE, it is respectfully recommended that (a) the charges/complaints docketed as OCA-I.P.I. No. 98-511P [A.M. No. P-10-2745], OCA-I.P.I. No. 00-974-P [A.M. No. RTJ-00-1992], OCA-I.P.I. No. 00-963-P [A.M. No. P-102746], OCA-I.P.I. No. 99-740-P [A.M. No. P-10-2747], OCA-I.PI. No. 02-1338-P [A.M. No. P-10-2749], OCA-I.P.I. No.
99-573-P [A.M. No. P-10-2748], OCA-I.P.I. No. 02-1410-P [A.M. No. P-10-2750], OCA-I.P.I. No. 02-1411-P [A.M.
No. P-10-2751], OCA-I.P.I. No. P-03-1706 (formerly OCA I.P.I. No. 02-1409-P) [A.M. No. P-03-1706], and OCA-I.P.I.
No. 02-1592-RTJ [A.M. No. RTJ-10-2214], be DISMISSED, and that (b) in OCA-I.P.I. No. 98-603-RTJ [A.M. No. RTJ06-1992] Judge Pablo Francisco be found GUILTY of Gross Ignorance of the Law and FINED the amount of
P30,000.00, taking into account that he has since resigned.
II
DISCUSSION AND RESOLUTION
After a careful review of Justice Barrios's Recommendation and Report, we now render judgment on the 11
administrative cases.
At the outset, we take note of the previous dismissal for lack of merit of Judge Francisco's Complaints for
Falsification of Public Document in A.M. No. P-10-2750 (against Atty. Galeon and Pascual)and A.M. No. P-10-2751
(against Atty. Galeon), through our Resolutions dated March 26, 2003 and April 9, 2003, respectively. With the
denial of Judge Francisco's Motion for Reconsideration, the dismissal of A.M. No. P-10-2750 and A.M. No. P-102751 had already become final and executory, and already beyond our power to review, modify, or set aside.
Given also that Atty. Hernandez and Atty. Mane had already resigned from their posts as Branch Clerks of Court
long before Justice Francisco filed his complaints against them, then we deem the charges against Atty. Hernandez
in A.M. No. P-10-2746 and Atty. Mane in A.M. No. P-10-2747 dismissed.
We further dismiss Judge Francisco's complaints against Santos in A.M. No. P-10-2747 and A.M. No. P-10-2749,
since Judge Francisco himself denied having charged Santos.
Having settled the foregoing, we now turn our attention to the remaining administrative matters.
Judge Francisco's Issuance of the Direct Contempt
Order (A.M. No. RTJ-06-1992)
At the crux of the case is the issuance by Judge Francisco of the Order dated July 14, 1998 finding Javier, Laurel,
Ramos, and Pros. Nofuente guilty of direct contempt of court for allegedly disrupting the proceedings in Sp. Proc.
No. B-2433 at the RTC-Branch 24 of Binian, Laguna, on July 14, 1998, and sentencing them to a penalty of nine days
imprisonment.
Contempt of court is defined as "some act or conduct which tends to interfere with the business of the court, by a
refusal to obey some lawful order of the court, or some act of disrespect to the dignity of the court which in some
way tends to interfere with or hamper the orderly proceedings of the court and thus lessens the general efficiency
of the same." It has also been described as "a defiance of the authority, justice or dignity of the court; such
conduct as tends to bring the authority and administration of the law into disrespect or to interfere with or
prejudice parties litigants or their witnesses during litigation." Simply put, it is despising of the authority, justice,
or dignity of the court.
Direct contempt is one done "in the presence of or so near the court or judge as to obstruct the administration of

justice." It is a contumacious act done facie curiae and may be punished summarily without hearing. In other
words, one may be summarily adjudged in direct contempt at the very moment or at the very instance of the
commission of the act of contumely.It is governed by Rule 71, Section 1 of the Rules of Court, as amended by
Administrative Circular No. 22-95, which reads:
Section1. Direct contempt punished summarily. - A person guilty of misbehavior in the presence of or so near a
court or judge as to obstruct or interrupt the proceedings before the same, including disrespect toward the court
or judge, offensive personalities toward others, or refusal to be sworn or to answer as witness, or to subscribe an
affidavit or deposition when lawfully required to do so, may be summarily adjudged in contempt by such court or
judge and punished by a fine not exceeding two thousand pesos or imprisonment not exceeding ten (10) days, or
both, if it be a superior court, or a judge thereof, or by a fine not exceeding two hundred pesos or imprisonment
not exceeding one (1) day, or both, if it be an inferior court.
As previously mentioned herein, the Court of Appeals, in CA-G.R. SP No. 48356, granted the Petition
for Certiorari of Javier, Laurel, Ramos, and Pros. Nofuente, and set aside Judge Francisco's Direct Contempt Order
for having been issued in grave abuse of discretion. The Court of Appeals adjudged that:
Considering that the acts alluded to as the basis by which the Respondent [Judge Francisco] declared the
petitioners [Javier, Laurel, Ramos, and Pros. Nofuente] in contempt of court, are neither constitutive of direct or
indirect contempt, this Court is of the opinion that the Order of Respondent declaring petitioners in contempt and
imposing a penalty of nine (9) days imprisonment is a GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION.
WHEREFORE, the assailed order dated July 14, 1998 is SET ASIDE for having been issued in grave abuse of
discretion.
The Court of Appeals already settled in the aforementioned certiorari proceedings that Judge Francisco's issuance
of the Direct Contempt Order was in grave abuse of his discretion. We are now called upon to determine in the
present administrative proceedings whether the same act constitutes an administrative offense by Judge
Francisco. A review of the records of the case leads us to rule affirmatively.
Judge Francisco's issuance of the Direct Contempt Order is completely baseless and unjustified. There is utter lack
of evidence that Javier, Laurel, Ramos, and Pros. Nofuente committed any contemptuous act.
Other than his own allegations, Judge Francisco's only evidence to prove that Pros. Nofuente disrupted the hearing
of Sp. Proc. No. B-2433 on July 14, 1998 was the TSN for said proceedings, taken down by Lopez. However, serious
doubts as to the truthfulness of the said TSN arose after Lopez herself assailed the transcript. According to Lopez,
she included the lines alluding to the disruption of the proceedings by Pros. Nofuente into the TSN upon Judge
Francisco's order. Lopez explained that she complied out of fear that she might be subjected to a suit just as the
other employees of the RTC of Binian, Laguna.
The testimonies of Lopez and Sevilla prove that although distracted by the outside noise, Judge Francisco was still
able to proceed with and finish the hearing of Spec. Proc. No. B-2433 on July 14, 1998. Moreover, during and
immediately after said hearing, Judge Francisco was unaware of who made the noise, so he could not have
summarily cited anyone for direct contempt.
The lack of basis for the issuance by Judge Francisco of the Direct Contempt Order is even more evident when it
comes to Javier, Laurel, and Ramos, who were not mentioned at all in the TSN of the hearing of Spec. Proc. No. B2433 on July 14, 1988. By Judge Francisco's own allegations in his Complaint, the purportedly contemptuous acts
of the three court personnel were not particularly committed on July 14, 1998 nor the cause of the disruption of
the proceedings at RTC-Branch 24 of Binian, Laguna, on said date. Furthermore, Judge Francisco's averments that
Pros. Nofuente's group, which included Javier, Laurel, and Ramos, engaged in raucous laughter in the judge's
presence even "with nothing funny to laugh about," threw sharp glances and made faces at Judge Francisco, and
engaged in boisterous conversation punctuated by laughter inside the court premises, are insufficient to constitute
contumacious behavior. Contempt of court presupposes a contumacious attitude, a flouting or arrogant
belligerence, a defiance of the court, something that is not evident in this case. There is absolute lack of proof that

the laughter, conversations, and glances of Pros. Nofuente's group were about or directed at Judge Francisco and
they disrupted or obstructed proceedings before the judge.
We believe that in issuing this baseless and erroneous contempt order, Judge Francisco was prevailed upon by his
personal animosity against Pros. Nofuente and his group. This can be easily fathomed from Judge Francisco's
inclusion of Javier, who is Pros. Nofuente's friend, in the Direct Contempt Order when Javier was not even within
court premises at the time of the hearing of Spec. Proc. No. B-2433 on July 14, 1998.
It is well-settled that the power to punish a person in contempt of court is inherent in all courts to preserve order
in judicial proceedings and to uphold the orderly administration of justice. However, judges are enjoined to
exercise the power judiciously and sparingly, with utmost restraint, and with the end in view of utilizing the same
for correction and preservation of the dignity of the court, and not for retaliation or vindictiveness. It bears
stressing that the power to declare for contempt must be exercised on the preservative, not vindictive principle,
and on the corrective and not retaliatory idea of punishment. This was aptly expressed in the case of Nazareno v.
Barnes
A judge, as a public servant, should not be thin-skinned or sensitive as to feel hurt or offended if a citizen expresses
an honest opinion about him which may not altogether be flattering to him. After all, what matters is that a judge
performs his duties in accordance with the dictates of his conscience and the light that God has given him. A judge
should never allow himself to be moved by pride, prejudice, passion, or pettiness in the performance of his duties.
He should always bear in mind that the power of the court to punish for contempt should be exercised for
purposes that are impersonal, because that power is intended as a safeguard not for the judges as persons but for
the functions that they exercise.
Nevertheless, we find that in issuing the Direct Contempt Order without legal basis, Judge Francisco is more
appropriately guilty of the administrative offense of grave abuse of authority, rather than gross ignorance of the
law and incompetence. In point is the case of Panaligan v. Ibay, where Judge Francisco Ibay improperly cited John
Panaligan for contempt.
We ruled:
The integrity of the judiciary rests not only upon the fact that it is able to administer justice but also upon the
perception and confidence of the community that the people who run the system have done justice. The
assumption of office by a judge places upon him duties and restrictions peculiar to his exalted position. He is the
visible representation of law and justice. He must be perceived, not as a repository of arbitrary power, but as one
who dispenses justice under the sanction of the rule of law. The behavior and conduct of judges must reaffirm the
people's faith in the integrity of the judiciary. Justice must not merely be done but must also be seen to be
done. In the present case, respondent Judge may not have been urged by ulterior motives in citing complainant in
th
contempt and in subsequently sending him to jail for putting off the lights in the 12 floor including his sala;
nevertheless, his actuation can easily be perceived as being a repository of arbitrary power. His actuation must
never serve to fuel suspicion over a misuse of the prestige of his office to enhance his personal interest.
We cannot simply shrug off respondent Judge's failure to exercise that degree of care and temperance required
of a judge in the correct and prompt administration of justice; more so in this case where the exercise of the
power of contempt resulted in complainant's detention and deprivation of liberty. Respondent Judge's conduct
amounts to grave abuse of authority.
We have repeatedly reminded members of the judiciary to be irreproachable in conduct and to be free from any
appearance of impropriety in their personal behavior, not only in the discharge of their official duties, but also in
their daily life. For no position exacts a greater demand for moral righteousness and uprightness of an individual
than a seat in the judiciary. The imperative and sacred duty of each and everyone in the judiciary is to maintain its
good name and standing as a temple of justice. The Court condemns and would never countenance any conduct,
act or omission on the part of all those involved in the administration of justice which would violate the norm of
public accountability or tend to diminish the faith of the people in the judiciary, like in the case at bar.
Squarely applicable is the case of Teodora A. Ruiz v. Judge Rolando G. How. In this case, respondent Judge Rolando

G. How cited complainant Ruiz who was an employee of the court, in direct contempt of court for alleged willful
display of abusive and disrespectful language hurled by the latter. This Court disagreed with the respondent Judge
in finding that the actuations of Ruiz constitute direct contempt inasmuch as when the derogatory words were
uttered by complainant no proceedings were being held nor was it shown that respondent Judge was performing
judicial function. Thus, respondent Judge was declared guilty of grave abuse of authority for injudiciously ordering
the detention of complainant without sufficient legal ground, and was fined in the amount of P5,000.00 with a
stern warning that the same or similar act shall be dealt with more severely.
WHEREFORE, for improperly citing complainant Panaligan for contempt and ordering his detention without
sufficient legal basis, a fine of P5,000.00 is hereby IMPOSED upon the respondent Judge, with a STERN WARNING
that a repetition of the same or similar acts in the future will be dealt with more severely.
In three more succeeding cases, we sanctioned Judge Ibay for repeatedly citing people in contempt of court even
without legal basis. In Macrohon v. Ibay, Judge Ibay was again found liable for grave abuse of authority for which
he was fined P25,000.00. For committing the same offense once more, he was penalized in Nuez v. Ibay with a
fine of P40,000.00. When we found Judge Ibay guilty of grave abuse of authority for the fourth time in Inonog v.
Ibay, we ordered him to pay another fine of P40,000.00.
We note that in the matter before us that Judge Francisco was previously found guilty in Gragera v. Francisco of
violating the Code of Judicial Conduct for the unauthorized practice of law, for which he was fined P12,000.00 with
a warning that the commission of a similar or other infractions shall be dealt with severely. Despite this warning,
we yet again find Judge Francisco committing another administrative offense, i.e., grave abuse of authority.
Disrespecful behavior of Pros. Nofuente's group
(A.M. No. P-10-2745)
Judge Francisco charged Javier, Laurel, and Ramos with grave misconduct. He averred that the three court
personnel were close to Pros. Nofuente, and referred to them as Pros. Nofuente's group, who exhibited
disrespectful behavior towards him.
We note that Judge Francisco's charge for grave misconduct against the three court employees is essentially based
on the same allegation of facts as his Direct Contempt Order. Consequently, for the same reasons we held that
Judge Francisco wrongfully issued his Direct Contempt Order against Pros. Nofuente's group, we exculpate Javier,
Laurel, and Ramos from the judge's charge for Grave Misconduct.
Misconduct is "a transgression of some established and definite rule of action, more particularly, unlawful
behavior or gross negligence by a public officer." The misconduct is grave if it involves any of the additional
elements of corruption, willful intent to violate the law or to disregard established rules, which must be
established by substantial evidence.
Judge Francisco was unable to present any evidence at all to support his accusations against Javier, Laurel, and
Ramos. There is no one to corroborate Judge Francisco's narration of the instances when the three court
personnel purportedly disrespected him or of the supposed motives which prompted said personnel to behave
so. It is difficult for us to conclude that Judge Francisco was the subject of the boisterous conversations, raucous
laughter, and sharp glances of Javier, Laurel, and Ramos in the absence of substantial evidence. We are hard put
to rule that they were guilty of behavior amounting to misconduct, much more, grave misconduct, there being no
showing of any established and definite rule of action transgressed or disregarded by the charged court personnel.
Falsification of DTRs by the court personnel
(A.M. Nos. P-10-2745, RTJ-00-1992, P-10-2746,
and P-10-2747)
In A.M. Nos. P-10-2745, RTJ-00-1992, P-10-2746, and P-10-2747, Judge Francisco charged several employees of the

RTC of Binian, Laguna, with the falsification of DTRs, among other administrative offenses. We shall jointly discuss
these administrative cases in so far as they concern the charges for falsification.
It is well-settled that in administrative proceedings, the complainant has the burden of proving the allegations in
the complaint with substantial evidence, i.e., that amount of relevant evidence which a reasonable mind might
accept as adequate to justify a conclusion. It must be remembered that while this Court has the duty to ensure
that judges and other court personnel perform their duties with utmost efficiency, propriety and fidelity, it is also
our obligation to see to it that they are protected from unfounded suits that serve to disrupt rather than promote
the orderly administration of justice. Judge Francisco miserably failed in this regard.
Other than Judge Francisco's allegations, the records are bereft of any evidence establishing that the charged court
employees did indeed falsify their DTRs. Judge Francisco's very own testimony before Justice Barrios during the
investigation exhibits the weakness of his case against the court employees for falsification of their DTR. From
Judge Francisco's testimony alone, his cause of action is bound to fail. His own testimony wrote finis to his
administrative cases against the court personnel for falsification of DTRs. Judge Francisco cannot depend on mere
assumptions, suspicions, and speculations. His charges must be based on his own personal knowledge of facts,
backed up by competent evidence. As correctly observed by Justice Barrios, "Judge Francisco failed to substantiate
by convincing evidence that these employees committed falsification especially so as he has no personal
knowledge of such act." Judge Francisco was in no position to have kept tabs on the daily attendance of all the
court personnel he charged, especially those who worked at another branch or office and were not under the
judge's administrative supervision.
Alfonso, one of the court personnel charged for falsification of DTR by Judge Francisco, was assigned at the Office
of the Clerk of Court. We can not imagine how Judge Francisco monitored Alfonso's presence in or absence from
said office. While Alfonso admitted that he was on leave for a long time, he duly filed his leave of absence.
Bati testified very candidly, providing details (i.e., the electoral case in which Judge Francisco ordered him to serve
a copy of the decision, the parties, where he served the copy of the decision, who was his companion) which Judge
Francisco was not able to refute. Bati's testimony certainly deserves more evidentiary weight than that of Judge
Francisco's general allegations.
Necessarily, we also absolve Magat from any wrongdoing as there is no evidence that he unlawfully authorized
Bati to serve summons and other court processes upon the parties in civil cases, and that Magat falsified the
returns to make it appear that he affected personal service. As Bati testified, he did not serve summons and other
court processes on party-litigants by himself. Service of summons and court processes were still personally done
by Magat who only asked Bati to accompany him since the latter had a vehicle. It even appears that the only time
Bati served a copy of a decision on party by himself, it was not pursuant to Magat's authorization, but upon Judge
Francisco's order.
Pleadings in the ejectment case
(A.M. No. P-10-2748)
Judge Francisco asserted that he was unable to decide Civil Case No. B-5217, an ejectment case, within the
prescribed period, because Cuevillas hid the fact that the parties in said case had already filed their
memoranda. Cuevillas was also allegedly remiss in the performance of her duties, failing to send necessary notices
to the parties, consequently, hampering court proceedings. Hence, he charged Cuevillas with Grave Misconduct.
Once more, Judge Francisco made an accusation which he did not substantiate with evidence. There is no dispute
that Cuevillas received the memoranda of the parties in Civil Case No. B-5217. But, as Cuevillas clarified, she is in
charge of the records for criminal cases, and it is Moreno who is responsible for the records of civil cases. Cuevillas
only received the memoranda of the parties in Civil Case No. B-5217, an ejectment case, because Moreno was not
around when the said pleadings were filed. It had not been established that it was still up to Cuevillas to attach
the said memoranda to the records of the case, which, to emphasize, was a civil case, and to notify Judge Francisco

that the said pleading had already been filed. According to Judge Francisco himself, Moreno was present at the
court on the days when the memoranda were filed - an allegation which is not necessarily inconsistent with
Cuevillas' narration, it being possible that Moreno was only momentarily out of the office when the parties filed
their memoranda. We are perplexed as to why Judge Francisco is bent on holding Cuevillas solely liable for the
omission, i.e., failure to inform the judge that the parties to Civil Case No. B-5217 already filed their memoranda,
and absolving Moreno who is primarily in-charge of the records for civil cases.
Furthermore, the omission, by itself, does not constitute grave misconduct on the part of Cuevillas. The records
are bereft of any proof that Cuevillas intentionally hid the fact of the filing of the memoranda by the parties in Civil
Case No. B-5217 from Judge Francisco.
Also, Judge Francisco cannot put the entire blame for his failure to render a decision in Civil Case No. B-5217 within
the prescribed period on the lack of notice from his staff that the parties had filed their memoranda and the case
was already submitted for decision. He must remember that as a trial judge, he was expected to adopt a system of
record management and organize his docket in order to bolster the prompt and effective dispatch of
business. Proper and efficient court management is the responsibility of the judge. It is incumbent upon judges to
devise an efficient recording and filing system in their courts so that no disorderliness can affect the flow of cases
and their speedy disposition.
While Cuevillas herself acknowledged being remiss in the performance of her duties for a time, we deem the same
to be excusable given the circumstances. She was obviously overburdened with work. An inventory of cases was
being conducted in their sala during the months of February, March, and April of 1998. In addition, she was
participating in the revision of ballots in the election case Judge Francisco was handling in the RTC of Sta. Cruz. It is
not difficult to understand how Cuevillas could have missed sending notices of hearings for May 1998 to the
parties in some cases, thus, resulting in the cancellation of said hearings. Nevertheless, we must remind Cuevillas
that she must capably perform her duties despite the heavy workload, and we shall not be as tolerant in the future
should she be remiss again. All employees in the judiciary should be examples of responsibility, competence and
efficiency. As officers of the court and agents of the law, they must discharge their duties with due care and
utmost diligence. Any conduct they exhibit tending to diminish the faith of the people in the judiciary will not be
condoned.
Certifications issued by Atty. Galeon
(A.M. Nos. P-10-2749 and P-03-1706)
In A.M. No. P-10-2749 Judge Francisco charged Alfonso, Bati, Cuevillas, Javier, Lopez, Magat, Moreno, Orfiano,
Pascual, Perez, Santos, and Sevilla with Dishonesty and Gross Misconduct after said court personnel accused the
judge, in their Comment in A. M. No. P-10-2747, of falsifying his certificates of service by making it appear that he
was present and conducted hearings on days when he was actually absent.
We dismiss A.M. No. P-10-2749 as there is no basis to hold the concerned court personnel administratively liable
for dishonesty and gross misconduct. Although we are not making a categorical finding herein that Judge Francisco
falsified his certificates of service as the court personnel merely alleged the same in their Comment to Judge
Francisco's Letter-Complaint in A.M. No. P-10-2747, and did not formally charge the judge for the supposed
offense, we find that the court personnel's claims against Judge Francisco were not completely fabricated and
purely motivated by malice. They did have in their possession Certifications issued by Atty. Galeon stating that: (1)
except for December 14, 1995, no other session was held every Wednesday between December 4, 1995 and
January 5, 1996; and (2) no setting of cases was made between February 7, 1996 and August 27, 1997.
The court personnel merely relied on the Certifications issued by Atty. Galeon, who, as Clerk of Court, is mandated
to "prepare, for any person demanding the same, a copy certified under the seal of the court of any paper, record,
order, judgment, or entry in his office, proper to be certified." And the reliance by the court personnel on Atty.
Galleon's Certifications does not constitute dishonesty or gross misconduct.

In A.M. No. P. 03-1706, Judge Francisco accused Atty. Galeon and Laurel of Falsification of Public Document for
making untruthful narration of facts in another Certification which stated that the judge did not hold hearings in
August 1997. According to Judge Francisco, Atty. Galeon and Laurel conspired with each other, with the former
issuing a Certification based on the false entries in the calendar book made by the latter. A careful review of the
records does not yield any reasonable basis for disciplinary action against Atty. Galeon and Laurel.
In falsification by false narration of facts, (1) the offender makes untruthful statements in a narration of facts; (2)
he has a legal obligation to disclose the truth of the facts narrated by him; (3) the facts narrated are absolutely
false; and (4) it was made with a wrongful intent to injure a third person.None of these elements exists in this case.
When Atty. Galeon certified the photocopies of the 10 pages of the court calendar book, she was not making a
narration of facts. She was just certifying that the photocopies were faithful reproductions of the original pages of
the court calendar book. As Atty. Galeon pointed out, she affixed her signature on the photocopies only after she
had compared them with the original copies and was satisfied that they were exact copies.
Also unsubstantiated is Judge Francisco's assertion of conspiracy between Atty. Galeon and Laurel. As we held in
the preceding paragraph, Atty. Galeon only made her Certification based on the court calendar book presented to
her. That Laurel tampered with the entries in the court calendar book was not even proven. Enlightening is the
following testimony of Laurel on how the court calendar book is prepared, which renders it highly improbable for
him to falsify the entries therein:
Consequently, we are likewise dismissing A.M. No. P. 03-1706.
The salary of Judge Francisco's personal
security (A.M. No. RTJ-10-2214)
In their Complaint in A.M. No. RTJ-10-2214, Magat and Arellano alleged that Judge Francisco committed Grave
Misconduct for compelling them to pay for the salary of the judge's personal bodyguard, Nuestro. Similar to most
of the administrative charges herein, we are dismissing A.M. No. RTJ-10-2214 for lack of merit.
In Magat's Sinumpaang Salaysay, he disclosed the following:
Na noong Pebrero 1998, ako ay kinausap ni Hukom Francisco at hiniling niya sa akin na kung maari ay kunin ko si
Joselito Nuestro, dating alalay ni Judge Francisco bilang katulong ko sa aking nga gawain bilang Sheriff sa bayad na
P100.00 bawat araw ng trabaho;
Na ayon kay Judge Francisco, ipinagkakatiwala na niya sa akin si Joselito Nuestro sapagkat wala na siyang pondo
para sa suweldo nito;
Na wala akong malinaw na katugunan sa alok ni Judge Francisco ngunit sa paglipas ng araw ay naging katulong ko
rin sa aking pagtupad sa tungkulin si Lito Nuestro at siya ay aking naatasan maglagay ng mga "Notices of Sale",
magsilbi at magpadala ng aking nga liham at samahan ako sa aking mga lakad sa humigit kumulang na dalawang (2)
buwan, at biniyayaan ko naman siya ng P3,000.00, humigit-kumulang.

Again, in their letter to the Supreme Court, Magat and Arellano wrote:
But the charge made to us by Joselito Nuestro that he was made to work with us in three days period is true
because at that time, there was no available process server, and, we gave Joselito Nuestro to conduct the posting
of notice of extrajudicial foreclosure of real estate mortgage filed in our office by various banks and financial
entities.
As admitted by Magat and Arellano, they had actually availed themselves of Nuestro's services several times, for

which, apparently, they had to pay Nuestro. While Nuestro should not have been allowed to perform the duties
and functions of a court employee, there was no clear showing that Magat and Arellano were allowed or coerced
by Judge Francisco to use Nuestro's services and paying Nuestro for the same.
WHEREFORE, premises considered, we DISMISS all charges in A.M. Nos. P-10-2745, RTJ-00-1992, P-10-2746, P-102747, P-10-2748, P-10-2749, P-10-2750, P-10-2751, P-03-1706, and RTJ-10-2214; while we DECLARE Judge Pablo B.
Francisco GUILTY in A.M. No. RTJ-06-1992 for Abuse of Authority in issuing the Direct Contempt Order dated July
14, 1998 and IMPOSE upon him a FINE in the total amount for P25,000.00, to be deducted from whatever benefits
may be due him in view of his resignation as Presiding Judge of Regional Trial Court, Branch 26, Sta. Cruz, Laguna.
SO ORDERED.

[A.M. No. 2008-19-SC : July 27, 2010]


RE: COMPLAINTS OF MRS. MILAGROS LEE AND SAMANTHA LEE AGAINST ATTY. GIL LUISITO R. CAPITO.
FACTS: Mrs. Milagros Lee alleged that sometime in March 2008, Atty. Capito was introduced to her by neighbors
Ma. Cecilia and Ferdinand De Guzman as she needs a lawyer to file a claim for financial support for her and her
children against her husband who is in Hawaii. Atty. Capito is a friend of Ferdinand De Guzman. On June 27,
2008, Atty. Capito went to Mrs. Lee's house to borrow money. She told him that she does not have any, and that
his (Atty. Capito['s]) friends, the De Guzman spouses, induced her to invest money that would earn a lot, but the
money was not returned anymore. She was in short, scammed. She mentioned, however, that she has an existing
bracelet which Atty. Capito asked her to pawn and give him the money so he could redeem his cell phone from the
casino. The bracelet was pawned for P7,000.00 and the P4,000.00 was allegedly lent to Atty. Capito. On July 7,

2008, Respondent, again borrowed money to the Complainant, his debts reached to Php. 16,000.00. And have
been stay in the house of Complainant.
ISSUE: Whether or not the respondent charge with grave Misconduct and willful failure to pay just debts.
HELD: In the investigations conducted by this Office, Atty. Capito denied having stayed in the house of Mrs. Lee. He
claimed that he is not indebted to Mrs. Lee, and stated that he had already explained everything in his Affidavit of
Explanation and Rejoinder. The accusations though not true, caused the recurrence of his asthma [rendering] him
unable to report for work for several days.
Jose Torres, testifying for complainant, related that he one time drove Milagros and respondent to Pampanga; and
that also at one time, while he was buying something at the store of Milagros, he saw respondent seated in her
sala wearing a t-shirt. Still testifying for Milagros, Toribio S. Balicot, Computer Operator IV, Records Division, OCAT,
declared that respondent's cell phone number -- 09282037934 -- which is registered in his (Balicot's) cell phone, is
the same number claimed by Milagros to be respondent's cell phone number. . . . Mr. Balicot who works in the
same office, confirmed in his testimony that cellphone number 09282037934 belongs to Atty. Capito as the same
number is registered in his cellphone in the name of Atty. Capito.
The Court finds that respondent is indeed guilty of gross discourtesy amounting to conduct unbecoming of a court
employee. By such violation, respondent failed to live up to his oath of office as member of the Integrated Bar of
the Philippines and violated Rule 7.03 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. It appearing that aside from
violating Rule 7.03 of the Code of Professional Responsibility, respondent appears to have also violated Rule 8.01
of the same Code, the recommendation to refer the case to the Office of the Bar Confidant for appropriate action
is in order.
WHEREFORE, Atty. Gil Luisito R. Capito, Court Attorney IV, Office of the Chief Attorney, is, for Gross
Discourtesy, SUSPENDED for Three Months without pay, with a WARNING that a repetition of the same or similar
acts shall be dealt with more severely.

[A.M. No. MTJ-09-1728 (FORMERLY OCA I.P.I. NO. 04-1623-MTJ) : July 21, 2010]
ATTY. JOSE A. BERNAS, COMPLAINANT, VS. JUDGE JULIA A. REYES, METROPOLITAN TRIAL COURT, BRANCH 69,
PASIG CITY, RESPONDENT.
FACTS: Complainant was the counsel for Oakridge Properties, Inc. (Oakridge) in an eviction suit filed by the latter
against Atty. Joseph M. Alejandro, a tenant in one of its condominium units, who had refused to pay rentals and
common expenses since August 15, 2001. For his part, Atty. Alejandro explained that his failure to pay rentals was
justified since the air-conditioning unit which Oakridge provided in the leased premises was allegedly defective.
Defendant [Atty. Alejandro] having complied with the Order dated June 11, 2004, by filing in Court the necessary
injunctive bond in the amount of Php. 2,594,556.00, the same is hereby approved. In this regard, Plaintiff Oakridge
Properties, Inc., through its Sales and Marketing Manager, Deborah Singson, who signed the instant complaint and
its counsel Atty. Jose A. Bernas are hereby ordered to explain in writing within 48 hours from receipt of this Order
why they should not both be cited in contempt for failure to comply with the lawful Order of this Court dated June
11, 2004 directing the plaintiff to remove the padlock of the leased premises not later than 5:00 o'clock of the
same day. The Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) issued by the court on June 18, 2004 was an ultimatum on

plaintiff to remove the padlock within a period of twenty (20) days from date of said Order. Certainly, the lapse of
said 20-day period did not, in any way, change the order of this court dated June 11, 2004 for plaintiff not to
padlock the subject premises. Without waiting for the explanations from Oakridge, respondent Judge rendered a
Decision dated August 17, 2004, which effectively disposed of the matter covered by the show cause order, as well
as the merits of the case itself, notwithstanding the fact that there was still a pre-scheduled hearing on September
21, 2004 and several motions pending action from respondent Judge.
ISSUE: Whether or not the Respondent Judge is guilty of manifest bias, partiality and grave abuse of the authority.
HELD: In this regard, Plaintiff Oakridge Properties, Inc., through its Sales and Marketing Manager, Deborah
Singson, who signed the instant complaint and its counsel Atty. Jose A. Bernas are hereby ordered to explain in
writing within 48 hours from receipt of this Order why they should not both be cited in contempt for failure to
comply with the lawful Order of this Court dated June 11, 2004 directing the plaintiff to remove the padlock of the
leased premises not later than 5:00 o'clock of the same day. The Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) issued by the
court on June 18, 2004 was an ultimatum on plaintiff to remove the padlock within a period of twenty (20) days
from date of said Order. Certainly, the lapse of said 20-day period did not, in any way, change the order of this
court dated June 11, 2004 for plaintiff not to padlock the subject premises.
Less than 48 hours thereafter, and without waiting for the explanations from Oakridge, respondent Judge
rendered a Decision dated August 17, 2004, which effectively disposed of the matter covered by the show cause
order, as well as the merits of the case itself, notwithstanding the fact that there was still a pre-scheduled hearing
on September 21, 2004 and several motions pending action from respondent Judge. Hence, the instant complaint
alleging that respondent Judge displayed gross ignorance of the law and manifest partiality. Complainant alleged
that respondent Judge committed a flagrant violation of the rules when she unduly extended the 20-day lifetime of
a TRO. Likewise, complainant maintained that respondent Judge erroneously granted a relief which was not prayed
for and even awarded damages which were way beyond the jurisdiction of a first-level court. Complainant
thereafter requested that an investigation be conducted and that appropriate penalties be imposed on respondent
Judge. In its report and recommendation dated April 6, 2006, the OCA, through then Senior Deputy Court
Administrator and Officer-in-Charge Zenaida N. Elepao and then Assistant Court Administrator Antonio H. Dujua,
found respondent Judge guilty of manifest bias, partiality, and grave abuse of authority and recommended that
she be dismissed from the service with forfeiture of all benefits, except accrued leave credits, if any, and with
prejudice to reemployment in the Government or any subdivision, agency or instrumentality thereof, including
government-owned and -controlled corporations and government financial institutions.
WHEREFORE, respondent Judge Julia A. Reyes of the Metropolitan Trial Court (MeTC) of Pasig City, Branch 69, is
found guilty of manifest bias, partiality and grave abuse of authority and ordered to pay a fine in the amount of
Forty Thousand Pesos (P40,000.00) to be deducted from her accrued leave credits, if sufficient; if not, then she
should pay the said amount directly to this Court.

[A.M. No. RTJ-09-2180 [Formerly OCA I.P.I. No. 08-2817-RTJ] : July 27, 2010]
ROLANDO E. MARCOS, COMPLAINANT,
VS.
JUDGE OFELIA T. PINTO, REGIONAL TRIAL COURT, BRANCH 60, ANGELES CITY, RESPONDENT.
FACTS: On February 2, 2007, private complainant filed a motion seeking the reconsideration of the order of
dismissal but was denied. On April 15, 2008, Secretary Gonzales denied private complainant's motion for
reconsideration.
Thus, feeling aggrieved, Marcos, one of the witnesses in the subject criminal case, filed the instant administrative
complaint against respondent Judge Pinto.
Marcos alleged that respondent judge did not even exert any effort to assess whether there was a valid ground to
dismiss the case. He claimed that respondent judge cannot validly dismiss the case based on the failure of the
private prosecutor to file any comment or opposition to the motion to withdraw information. More so since as of
November 17, 2006, the private prosecutor already withdrew himself from handling the subject case. Complainant
also pointed out that respondent judge did not even set a time frame within which to file the comment or
opposition.
Moreover, complainant alleged that respondent judge manifested bias and partiality in favor of accused Leyco
which he attributed to a special relationship between respondent judge and the Spouses Leyco. Complainant
claimed that respondent judge even acted as the solemnizing officer at the marriage of Paul F. Leyco, son of
accused Leyco. He, thus, questioned the integrity of respondent judge, considering that the marriage ceremony
was held on January 19, 2007 during the period when respondent judge issued the assailed order of dismissal. To
support his claim, complainant presented a certified true copy of the marriage certificate issued by the National
Statistics Office showing that respondent judge was indeed the one who solemnized the marriage at the Leyco's

residence.
Judge Pinto likewise argued that complainant's allegation that she had been biased and partial to the accused was
unsupported by evidence. She, however, admitted that she was indeed the solemnizing officer in the marriage of
the accused' son, Paul Leyco, but stressed that it was her duty after all to solemnize marriages under the Family
Code. She likewise pointed out that she did not know that the parties were related to the accused. She claimed
that she came to know of such fact only when she was already in the residence of the marrying parties. Judge
Pinto insisted that said act cannot be equated as giving favor to a party in a criminal case contrary to what the
complainant claims.
ISSUE: Whether or not the Respondent Judge is guilty of simple Misconduct.
HELD: While we agree that respondent judge should be administratively held liable for her acts, we, however,
disagree with the findings and recommendation of the Investigating Justice.
To be held liable for gross ignorance of the law, the judge must be shown to have committed an error that was
"gross or patent, deliberate or malicious." Also administratively liable for gross ignorance of the law is a judge who
- shown to have been motivated by bad faith, fraud, dishonesty or corruption - ignored, contradicted or failed to
apply settled law and jurisprudence. Such is not the case presently before this Court.
In the instant case, it was apparent that the assailed Order of dismissal was solely anchored on the private
prosecutor's failure to file his comment and/or objection to the Motion to Withdraw the Information. Indeed,
respondent judge did not perform her duty of making an independent evaluation or assessment of the merits of
the case when she dismissed Criminal Case No. 04-775. The disputed Order does not contain the facts of the case
and the law upon which the dismissal was based. However, there was also no evidence showing that in issuing
said Order, respondent judge was motivated by bad faith, fraud, dishonesty or corruption.
In administrative proceedings like the one at bench, it goes without saying that it is the complainant who has the
burden of proving by substantial evidence the allegations in their complaint. We do not find any evidence to
support complainant's accusations. Here, it appears that respondent judge has failed to live up to those rigorous
standards. Her act of solemnizing the marriage of accused's son in the residence of the accused speaks for itself. It
is improper and highly unethical for a judge to actively participate in such social affairs, considering that the
accused is a party in a case pending before her own sala. What she should have done was courteously deny the
parties' request. Her claim that she was unaware that the parties were related to the accused fails to convince.
Under Rule 140 of the Rules of Court, as amended by A.M. No. 01-8-10-SC, simple misconduct is considered a less
serious offense, sanctioned with suspension without pay for not less than one month, but not more than three
months, or a fine of not less than Ten Thousand Pesos (P10,000.00) but not exceeding Twenty Thousand Pesos
(P20,000.00).
WHEREFORE, the Court finds Judge Ofelia T. Pinto of the Regional Trial Court of Angeles City, Branch
60, GUILTY of SIMPLE MISCONDUCT for which she is FINED in the amount of P10,000.00. She is, likewise, STERNLY
WARNED that a repetition of the same or similar acts shall be dealt with more severely.

A.C. No. 8390


[Formerly CBD 06-1641]
A-1 FINANCIAL SERVICES, INC.,
Complainant,
VS.
ATTY. LAARNI N. VALERIO, Respondent.

FACTS: On November 13, 2001, A-1 Financial Services, Inc., a financing corporation, granted the loan application of
Atty. Valerio amounting to P50,000.00. To secure the payment of the loan obligation, Atty. Valerio issued a
postdated check, to wit: Check No. 0000012725; dated April 1, 2002, in the amount: P50,000.00. However, upon
presentation at the bank for payment on its maturity date, the check was dishonored due to insufficient funds. As
of the filing of the instant case, despite repeated demands to pay her obligation, Atty. Valerio failed to pay the
whole amount of her obligation.
Thus, on November 10, 2003, complainant filed a B.P. 22 case against Atty. Valerio, docketed as Criminal Case No.
124779. Atty. Valerios arraignment was scheduled for August 31, 2004; however, she failed to appear despite due
notice. Subsequently, a Warrant of Arrest was issued but Atty. Valerio posted no bail. Despite court orders and
notices, Atty. Valerio refused to abide.
Commission on Bar Discipline (IBP-CBD) required Atty. Valerio to file an answer, but she did not file any responsive
pleading at all. However, in a letter dated March 16, 2006, respondents mother, Gorgonia N. Valerio (Mrs.
Valerio), explained that her daughter had been diagnosed with schizophrenia; thus, could not properly respond to
the complaint against her. Futhermore, Mrs. Valerio undertook to personally settle her daughters obligation. On
September 13, 2007, the IBP-CBD directed Atty. Valerio to appear before the mandatory conference. Atty. Valerio,
again, failed to attend the conference. Subsequently, in an Order dated November 15, 2007, the IBP ordered the
parties to submit their position papers. No position paper was submitted by Atty. Valerio.
The IBP-CBD gave no credence to the medical certificate submitted by Atty. Valerios mother, in view of the latters
failure to appear before the IBP-CBD hearings to affirm the truthfulness thereof or present the physician who
issued the same. The IBP-CBD, further, pointed out that Atty. Valerios failure to obey court processes, more
particularly her failure to appear at her arraignment despite due notice and to surrender to the Court despite the
issuance of a warrant of arrest, showed her lack of respect for authority and, thus, rendered her morally unfit to be
a member of the bar.
Nevertheless, to provide Atty. Valerio further opportunity to explain her side, the Court, in a Resolution dated
December 15, 2010, directed Atty. Valerio and/or her mother, to submit a duly notarized medical certificate issued
by a duly licensed physician and/or certified copies of medical records to support the claim of schizophrenia on the

part of Atty. Valerio within a non-extendible period of ten (10) days from receipt hereof but they failed to submit
Medical Records or Certificate.
ISSUE: Whether or not the respondent found guilty of gross misconduct and violation of the Code of Professional
Responsibility.
HELD: Deliberate failure to pay just debts and the issuance of worthless checks constitute gross misconduct, for
which a lawyer may be sanctioned with suspension from the practice of law. Lawyers are instruments for the
administration of justice and vanguards of our legal system. They are expected to maintain not only legal
proficiency but also a high standard of morality, honesty, integrity and fair dealing so that the peoples faith and
confidence in the judicial system is ensured. They must at all times faithfully perform their duties to society, to the
bar, the courts and to their clients, which include prompt payment of financial obligations. They must conduct
themselves in a manner that reflects the values and norms of the legal profession as embodied in the Code of
Professional Responsibility. Canon 1 and Rule 1.01 explicitly states that:
Canon 1 A lawyer shall uphold the constitution, obey the laws of the land and promote respect for law and for
legal processes.
Rule 1.01A lawyer shall not engage in unlawful, dishonest, immoral or deceitful conduct.
Atty. Valerios conduct in the course of the IBP and court proceedings is also a matter of serious concern. She failed
to answer the complaint against her. Despite due notice, she failed to attend the disciplinary hearings set by the
IBP. She also ignored the proceedings before the court as she likewise failed to both answer the complaint against
her and appear during her arraignment, despite orders and notices from the court. Clearly, this conduct runs
counter to the precepts of the Code of Professional Responsibility and violates the lawyers oath which imposes
upon every member of the Bar the duty to delay no man for money or malice. Atty. Valerio has failed to live up to
the values and norms of the legal profession as embodied in the Code of Professional Responsibility.
WHEREFORE, Resolution No. XVIII-2008-647 dated December 11, 2008 of the IBP, which found respondent Atty.
Laarni N. Valerio guilty of gross misconduct and violation of the Code of Professional Responsibility, is AFFIRMED
with MODIFICATION. She is hereby SUSPENDED for two (2) years from the practice of law, effective upon the
receipt of this Decision. She is warned that a repetition of the same or a similar act will be dealt with more
severely.

[A.C. No. 8096


July 5, 2010]
REY J. VARGAS AND EDUARDO A. PANES, JR., Complainants,
vs.
ATTY. MICHAEL A. IGNES, ATTY. LEONARD BUENTIPO MANN, ATTY. RODOLFO U. VIAJAR, JR., AND ATTY. JOHN
RANGAL D. NADUA, Respondents.
FACTS: Koronadal Water District (KWD), a government-owned and controlled corporation (GOCC), hired
respondent Atty. Michael A. Ignes as private legal counsel for one (1) year effective April 17, 2006. The Office of
the Government Corporate Counsel (OGCC) and the Commission on Audit (COA) gave their consent to the
employment of Atty. Ignes. On December 28, 2006, the members of the Dela Pea board filed Civil Case No.
4
1793 for Injunction and Damages, seeking to annul the appointment of two (2) directors, Joselito T. Reyes and
Carlito Y. Uy, who will allegedly connive with Director Allan D. Yaphockun whose hostility to the "present" Board of
Directors, the Dela Pea board, is supposedly of public knowledge.
On January 18, 2007, the Dela Pea board also adopted Resolution No. 009 appointing respondents Atty. Rodolfo
U. Viajar, Jr. and Atty. Leonard Buentipo Mann as private collaborating counsels for all cases of KWD and its Board
of Directors, under the direct supervision and control of Atty. Ignes. In its letter dated March 2, 2007, the OGCC
also addressed Eleanor P. Gombas insistence that the retainership contract of Atty. Ignes will expire on April 17,
2007. Alleging that respondents acted as counsel for KWD without legal authority, complainants filed a disbarment
11
complaint against the respondents before the IBP Commission on Bar Discipline (CBD), docketed as CBD Case No.
07-1953. Complainants alleged that respondents filed SCA Case No. 50-24 and Civil Case No. 1799 as counsels of
KWD without legal authority.
ISSUE: Whether or not the Respondents will be disbar.
HELD: At the outset, we note that the parties do not dispute the need for OGCC and COA conformity if a GOCC
hires private lawyers. Nonetheless, we shall briefly recall the legal basis of this rule. Under Section 10, Chapter 3,
Title III, Book IV of the Administrative Code of 1987, it is the OGCC which shall act as the principal law office of all
GOCCs. And Section 3 of Memorandum Circular No. 9 issued by President Estrada on August 27, 1998, enjoins
GOCCs to refrain from hiring private lawyers or law firms to handle their cases and legal matters.
Capitol Steel Corporation, we listed three (3) indispensable conditions before a GOCC can hire a private lawyer: (1)
private counsel can only be hired in exceptional cases; (2) the GOCC must first secure the written conformity and
acquiescence of the Solicitor General or the Government Corporate Counsel, as the case may be; and (3) the
written concurrence of the COA must also be secured.
We find that Attys. Nadua, Viajar, Jr. and Mann had no valid authority to appear as collaborating counsels of KWD
in SCA Case No. 50-24 and Civil Case No. 1799. Nothing in the records shows that Atty. Nadua was engaged by
KWD as collaborating counsel. While the 4th Whereas Clause of Resolution No. 009 partly states that he and Atty.
Ignes "presently stand as KWD legal counsels," there is no proof that the OGCC and COA approved Atty. Naduas
engagement as legal counsel or collaborating counsel. Insofar as Attys. Viajar, Jr. and Mann are concerned, their
appointment as collaborating counsels of KWD under Resolution No. 009 has no approval from the OGCC and COA.

In the case of Atty. Ignes, he also appeared as counsel of KWD without authority, after his authority as its counsel
had expired. True, the OGCC and COA approved his retainership contract for one (1) year effective April 17, 2006.
But even if we assume as true that he was not notified of the pre-termination of his contract, the records still
disprove his claim that he stopped representing KWD after April 17, 2007.
Consequently, for respondents willful appearance as counsels of KWD without authority to do so, there is a valid
ground to impose disciplinary action against them. Under Section 27, Rule 138 of the Rules of Court, a member of
the bar may be disbarred or suspended from his office as attorney by the Supreme Court for any deceit,
malpractice, or other gross misconduct in such office, grossly immoral conduct, or by reason of his conviction of a
crime involving moral turpitude, or for any violation of the oath which he is required to take before admission to
practice, or for a willful disobedience of any lawful order of a superior court, or for corruptly or willfully appearing
as an attorney for a party to a case without authority to do so.
Disbarment, however, is the most severe form of disciplinary sanction, and, as such, the power to disbar must
always be exercised with great caution, and should be imposed only for the most imperative reasons and in clear
cases of misconduct affecting the standing and moral character of the lawyer as an officer of the court and
member of the bar. Accordingly, disbarment should not be decreed where any punishment less severe such as a
reprimand, suspension or fine, would accomplish the end desired. In Santayana, we imposed a fine of P5,000 on
the respondent for willfully appearing as an attorney for a party to a case without authority to do so. The
respondent therein also appeared as private counsel of the National Electrification Administration, a GOCC,
without any approval from the OGCC and COA.
Conformably with Santayana, we impose a fine of P5,000 on each respondent.
WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The assailed Resolution No. XVIII-2008-335 passed on July 17, 2008 by the
IBP Board of Governors in CBD Case No. 07-1953 is REVERSED and SET ASIDE.
Respondents Attys. Michael A. Ignes, Leonard Buentipo Mann, Rodolfo U. Viajar, Jr., and John Rangal D. Nadua are
found GUILTY of willfully appearing as attorneys for a party to a case without authority to do so and FINEDP5,000
each, payable to this Court within ten (10) days from notice of this Resolution. They are STERNLY WARNED that a
similar offense in the future will be dealt with more severely.

1) A.M. No. P-10-2837 August 25, 2010


(Formerly OCA I.P.I No. 07-2613-P)
PO2
PATRICK
MEJIA
GABRIEL,Complainant,
vs.
WILLIAM JOSE R. RAMOS, SHERIFF IV, REGIONAL TRIAL COURT, BRANCH 166, PASIG CITY,Respondents.

Facts:
According to the complainant on 10 May 2007 at around 4:00 oclock in the afternoon at Barangay Calsapa,
Municipality of San Teodoro, Oriental Mindoro said respondent together with several persons, in conspiracy and
on agreement with former Municipal Mayor Manuel Roxas Bae, entered the house of Ms. Adelaida Caeg Hael.
Soon thereafter, two (2) pieces of Five Hundred (P500.00) bills were handed to Adelaida and Ariel Hael to vote for
Mayoralty Candidate Homer Roxas Alumisin and other candidates listed in the yellow pages. The said vote
buyingincident was reported by Adelaida and Ariel Hael to San Teodoro Municipal Police Station, who both
executed their respective Sworn Statements enclosed as Annexes "A" and "B" hereof. A case for Violation of Article
22, Section 261 (a) of the Omnibus Election Code of the Philippines was also filed against respondent together with
his co-conspirators docketed as I.S. No. 07-12386 before the Prosecutors Office of Oriental Mindoro attached as
Annex "C".
9 August 2007, respondent alleges that the charges in the complaint are utterly false, malicious and intended to
intimidate him from prosecuting cases of robbery as well as administrative charges against several policemen,
including herein complainant for openly campaigning for a certain candidate during the election period.
Respondent admits that on the date stated in the complaint he was indeed at Barangay Calsapa, San
Teodoro,Oriental Mindoro to buy charcoal which he sells for a profit to augment his income. Respondent adds that
he was with Manuel Roxas Bae and that he was able to talk with Ariel [Caeg] Hael but their discussion has nothing
to do with politics. He insists that he was not financially capable to buy two (2) votes at P500.00 each. He is aware
that as a government employee he cannot campaign, much less take part in partisan politics. He points out that
buying votes several days before election is incongruous because the voters could change their mind on election
day.

ISSUE: Whether or not Mr. Ramos may be held liable for grave misconduct.
Held: Respectfully submitted for the consideration of the Honorable Court recommending that the instant case be
REFERRED to the Executive Judge of RTC, Pasig City, for investigation, report and recommendation within sixty (60)
days from receipt of the records.
The Court took note of the OCA report and referred the case to the Executive Judge of the RTC, Pasig City, for
investigation.4 Accordingly, the OCA forwarded the case record to Executive Judge Amelia C. Manalastas, RTC, Pasig
City.5
In a report submitted on January 26, 2009,6 Judge Manalastas recommended the dismissal of the complaint for
lack of evidence. The report states:
1) On November 24, 2008, this Office notified all the parties for conference/hearing with directive to
submit their respective sworn statements on December 8 and 15, 2008, both at 10:00 oclock in the
morning;
2) On both dates, only respondent and his counsel appeared while respondent who was notified via LBC
failed to appear despite due notice;
3) In the conduct of the investigation, respondent vehemently denied all the charges against
him.1wphi1 The evidence submitted to this Office reveals that the filing of the instant administrative case
appears to be a mere leverage and stemmed from a case filed by herein respondent against the
complainant for Robbery. (Formal Offer; Exhibits "A" and "B"; TSN dated December 15, 2008);

4) From the evidence adduced, complainant failed to establish the allegations of grave misconduct against
herein respondent. "In administrative proceedings, the burden of proof that respondent committed the
act complained of rests on the complainant" (Gotgotao versus Millora, 459 SCRA 340).
5) With no hard evidence except unconfirmed self serving assertions to back up the complaint, this Office
has no choice but to recommend dismissal of the present complaint.
We find Judge Manalastas recommendation to be in order. Indeed, PO2 Gabriel failed to prove his complaint
against Sheriff Ramos.
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Complaint for Grave Misconduct filed by PO2 Patrick Mejia Gabriel against
Sheriff IV William Jose R. Ramos, RTC, Branch 166, Pasig City, is hereby DISMISSED for lack of evidence.

2) A.M. No. P-06-2132 August 25, 2010


PRESENTATION V. ANOTA, Complainant,
vs.
AGERICO P. BALLES, CLERK OF COURT IV, OFFICE OF THE CLERK OF COURT, MTCC, TACLOBAN CITY,
LEYTE, Respondent.

Facts:
In her letter, Mrs. Anota stated that her husband, Felicisimo G. Anota, Municipal Trial Court in Cities (MTCC)Branch I Clerk of Court, Tacloban City, died without enjoying his retirement benefits because Atty. Agerico P.
Balles, Clerk of Court IV of the Tacloban City MTCC, unjustly refused to issue the clearance necessary for the
release of her husbands retirement benefits. She alleged that her husband was forced to retire from the
government at 63 years of age because of kidney problems traceable to diabetes; that he had to undergo
amputation and had dialysis twice a week for 19 months, before he died on June 21, 2004; and that he filed all the
necessary documents for his retirement, and the only missing document was the clearance from Atty. Balles. Atty.
Balles refused to issue the clearance despite his knowledge that Mr. Anota had been cleared of money and
property accountability and had no administrative case pending against him.
In his comment to the 1st Endorsement of Mrs. Anotas complaint, Atty. Balles asserted that he could not issue the
clearance because Presiding Judge Marino Buban believed that Mr. Anota still had to answer for some missing
court records, among others.
We referred the matter to the Tacloban City Regional Trial Court executive judge for investigation, report and
recommendation, upon the recommendation of the Office of the Court Administrator (OCA).3 The investigating
judge conducted several hearings, and based on his conclusion, the OCA, in its Memorandum,4 ruled that Atty.
Balles acts amounted to oppression. There was no missing court record in Tacloban City MTCC-Branch 1 according
to the Court Management Office-OCAs judicial audits in June 2000 and August 2003, and the incumbent MTCC
Clerk of Court testified that Mr. Anota had fully accounted for all the money and property under his custody. Thus,
the OCA found Atty. Balles refusal to issue the clearance grossly unjust because Mr. Anota could have used his
retirement benefits for his medicine and hospital expenses during his confinement.

ISSUE: Whether or not Balles is hereby found guilty of gross neglect of duty.

Held: OCAs findings, and would have fully concurred with its recommended sanctions against Atty. Balles, except
that:

First, on March 28, 2006, Atty. Balles submitted to us a certification that Felicisimo Anota had
been cleared ofmoney and property accountabilities;5 and
Second, in 2009, we dismissed Atty. Balles from the service in A.M. No. P-05-2065, entitled "Report on theFinancial
Audit Conducted on the Books of Accounts of Mr. Agerico P. Balles, MTCC-OCC, Tacloban City."6 OurDecision in
this administrative matter partly reads:
Hence, for the delay in the remittance of cash collections in violation of Supreme Court Circulars No. 5-93 and No.
13-92 and for his failure to keep proper records of all collections and remittances, Balles is found guilty of Gross
Neglect of Duty punishable, even for the first offense, by dismissal.
Agerico P. Balles is hereby found GUILTY of gross neglect of duty and is ordered DISMISSED from the service.
Except for leave credits already earned, his retirement benefits are FORFEITED, with prejudice to reemployment in
any government agency, including government-owned and controlled corporations. The Civil Service Commission
is ordered to cancel his civil service eligibility, if any, in accordance with Section 9, Rule XIV of the Omnibus Rules
Implementing Book V of Executive Order No. 292.
Atty. Balles dismissal from the service has now been implemented, thus rendering the adjudication of the present
administrative matter an exercise in futility; no administrative penalty can be imposed after his dismissal from the
service, the forfeiture of all his employment benefits except for accrued leave credits, and his disqualification from
future employment with any government agency. We thus have no option left but to dismiss the present
administrative matter for being moot and academic.
WHEREFORE, we hereby ORDER the dismissal of the present administrative matter for being moot and academic.

4) [A.M. No. 07-1-05-RTC : August 23, 2010]


RE: REQUEST OF JUDGE SALVADOR M. IBARRETA, JR., REGIONAL TRIAL COURT, BRANCH 8,DAVAO CITY, FOR
EXTENSION OF TIME TO DECIDE CIVIL CASE NOS. 30,410-04, 30,998-05, 7286-03 AND 8278-5.

Facts:
For failure to render decision in at least three cases within the reglementary period, as extended, theOffice of the
Court Administrator (OCA) recommends that Judge Salvador M. Ibarreta, Jr. (respondent), Presiding Judge of
Branch 8 of the Davao City Regional Trial Court, be fined in the amount of P15,000.
By letter-request of October 26, 2006,[1] respondent requested for a 90-day extension of time to resolve four
cases Civil Case No. 30, 410-04 which was due on November 2, 2006; Civil Case No. 30,998-05 which was due
on November 5, 2006; Civil Case No. 7286-03 which was due on November 8, 2006; and Civil Case No. 827805 which was due on November 8, 2006. Theground given in his request was "heavy caseload."
Pending resolution of his October 26, 2006 letter-request, respondent, by another letter-request of December 22,
2006,[2] requested a 90-day extension, due to "heavy case load," to resolve the therein listed 24 cases which
included Civil Case Nos. 30,998-05 and 30,410-04, the first two of the four cases subject of his October 26, 2006
letter-request.
By another letter-request of January 2, 2007,[3] respondent sought another extension of 90 days within which to
decide Civil Case Nos. 7286-03 and 8278-05, the last two of four cases subject of his October 26, 2006 letterrequest.
By Resolution of February 12, 2007,[4] the Court granted respondent's October 26, 2006 letter-request.

By letter-request of April 23, 2007,[5] respondent requested an extension of 90 days within which to decide 13
cases including Civil Case Nos. 30,410-04, 7286-03, and 8278-05, the first, third and fourth of the four
cases subject of his October 26, 2006 letter-request.
On May 2, 2007, the OCA received a copy of respondent's decision in Civil Case No. 30, 998-05, the second of the
four cases subject of his October 26, 2006 letter-request, which was promulgated on January 2, 2007.
Again, by letter-request of June 8, 2007, respondent requested, due to "heavy case load" and "considering further
that [respondent was] on sick leave since January 15, 2007 up to the present," another 90-day extension to decide
16 cases including Civil Case No. 30,410-4, the first of the four cases subject of his October 26, 2006 letter-request.
Before the Court could act on respondent's June 8, 2007 letter-request, respondent, by anotherletter-request of
July 4, 2007,[6] requested for another extension of 90 days within which to decide 11 cases including Civil Case No.
7286-03, the third of the four cases subject of his October 26, 2006 letter-request (fourth extension) and Civil Case
No. 8278-05, the fourth of the four cases subject of his October 26, 2006 letter-request (fourth extension).

ISSUE: Whether or not the respondent Judge Salvador is undue delay in rendering decisions.
Held: By Resolution of July 11, 2007,[7] the Court noted respondent's submission of a copy of his decision in Civil
Case No. 30, 998-2005 (the second of the four cases subject of his October 26, 2006 letter-request) which, as
earlier stated, was received by the OCA on May 2, 2007, as "partial compliance." By the same Resolution, the Court
granted respondent's request for extension of 90 days within which to decide Civil Cases Nos. 30,410-04, 7286-03
and 8278-05, the first, third and fourth cases subject of his October 26, 2006 letter-request, reckoned from their
respective due dates, per respondent's letter-requests of December 22, 2006 and January 2, 2007. Respondent
was, however, reminded to indicate in his "future requests . . . the number of times such requests have been
made."
By Resolution of September 26, 2007,[8] the Court noted and granted respondent's letter-requests dated April 23,
2007, June 8, 2007 and July 4, 2007, again with a reminder to indicate "in his future request ... the number of times
such request has been made." Respondent was further directed to furnish the Court, through the OCA, a copy of
each of his decisions in Civil Case Nos. 30,410-04, 7286-03, and 8278-05, the first, third and fourth of the four cases
subject of his letter-request of October 26, 2006, within ten days from rendition of the decision.
By MEMORANDUM of January 27, 2010,[9] the OCA informed the Court that despite the lapse of more than two
years, respondent had not yet furnished the Court copies of his decisions in the three cases subject of his October
26, 2006 letter-request.[10] The OCA thus recommended that respondent be fined in the amount of P15,000 for
failure to decide these three cases, and that he be directed to decide them within 15 days from
notice, cum warning that a repetition of the same or similar act shall be dealt with more severely.
By failing to submit a copy of each of the decisions on the three cases which respondent was expected to decide
within the period, as extended, the presumption is that he failed to decide them. In any event, he failed to heed
this Court's Resolutions bearing on them.
To ensure the strict observance of the constitutional mandate for all lower courts to decide or resolve cases or
matters within the reglementary period, the Court issued Administrative Circular No. 13-87 which reads:
3. Judges shall observe scrupulously the periods prescribed by Article VIII, Section 15 of the Constitution for the
adjudication and resolution of all cases or matters submitted in their courts. Thus, all cases or matters must be
decided or resolved within twelve months from date of submission by all lower collegiate courts while all other
lower courts are given a period of three months to do so. x x x (underscoring supplied)
And the New Code of Judicial Conduct for the Philippine Judiciary which took effect on June 1, 2004 expressly
requires judges to perform all judicial duties, "including the delivery of reserved decisions, efficiently, fairly

and with reasonable promptness."[11]


Rule 3.05 of the Code of Judicial Conduct[12] also echoes the mandate to decide or resolve cases or matters within
the reglementary period by requiring judges to dispose of the court's business promptly and decide or resolve
cases or matters within the required periods.
Heavy workload per se is not an excuse in not observing the reglementary period of deciding cases. An
appointment to the Judiciary is an honor burdened with a heavy responsibility. When respondent accepted the
appointment, he also accepted the heavy workload that comes with it.
In Buenaflor v. Judge Ibaretta, Jr.,[13] the Court found respondent liable for inefficiency and failure to decide the
therein complainant's case on time and imposed on him a fine of P3,000, the same having occurred before the
amendment of Rule 140 of the Rules of Court by A.M. No. 01-8-10-SC which took effect on October 1, 2001.
Under Sections 9 and 11 (B) of the Rule 140 of the Rules of Court, as amended, undue delay in rendering decision is
classified as a less serious charge penalized by (1) suspension from office without salary and other benefits for not
less than one month nor more than three months; or (2) a fine of more than P10,000 but not exceeding P20,000.
Under the facts of the case, the recommended penalty should be increased to P20,000.
WHEREFORE, Judge Salvador M. Ibarreta, Jr. is, for undue delay in rendering decisions, FINED in the amount of
Twenty Thousand (P20,000) Pesos. He is directed to decide Civil Cases Nos. 30,410-04; 7286-03 and 8278-05 within
fifteen days from notice, and to immediately furnish the Court, through the Office of the Court Administrator, a
copy of each of the decisions therein.
He is further WARNED that a repetition of the same or similar act shall be dealt with more severely.

5) A.M. No. RTJ-09-2211


August 12, 2010
(Formerly OCA I.P.I. No. 07-2752-RTJ)
EVANGELINE VERA CRUZ, Complainant,
vs.
JUDGE WINSTON M. VILLEGAS, Respondent.

Facts:
Evangeline alleged that on September 11, 2007, she went to Dumaguete City to verify the status of theannulment
of marriage case she had filed; she wanted to know the reason why it had not moved for more than a year. She
went to the court to look at the case folder, but Atty. Jaime Jasmin, the clerk of court, could not find it. After a
while, he said that the case record is in the house of Judge Villegas and he is willing to accompany her to the place.
When they reached the judges residence, she got the shock of her life when she discovered that Judge Villegas
and Dra. Carmelita Vera Cruz, co-defendant in the civil case, are practically neighbors, living in the samebarangay.
She explained that only the
Archbishops palace separates Judge Villegas house and that of Carmelita; Carmelitas house is situated in a
compound across the street fronting the Archbishops palace; whereas, Judge Villegas residence is at the back of
the palace.

Evangeline further alleged that although she did not want to speculate on the relationship between the judge and
Carmelita, she hated to think that something fishy was going on; the delay in the disposition of the case was to
Carmelitas benefit and at her expense, a situation too much for her to bear.
On January 31, 2008, Evangeline filed a petition for change of venue of the case2 from the sala of Judge Villegas
in Dumaguete City to Manila claiming that she is a stranger to Dumaguete City as she works and lives inMakati
City. She expressed apprehension on the outcome of Civil Case No. 192, uncertain that she would receive a fair
hearing from Judge Villegas after she filed an administrative complaint against him. She lamented the slow pace
the case was taking, pointing out that she filed it on March 6, 2003, and for almost five (5) years since, it was still
on pre-trial; it had not moved for more than a year, the last hearing having been held on July 6, 2006.
As required by the Office of the Court Administrator (OCA), Judge Villegas submitted, on March 14, 2008, his
comment (dated January 31, 2008)4 on the complaint. Judge Villegas explained that Evangeline did not disclose in
the administrative complaint, as well as in Civil Case No. 192, that her marriage with Lorenzo Vera Cruz on June 17,
1981 was
declared null and void, in a decision dated March 24, 1986, by the RTC, Branch 94, Quezon City,5and it became
final and executory on June 19, 1986.6 Lorenzo, the defendant in Civil Case No. 192, moved to dismiss the case on
the ground that Evangeline did not present a cause of action in view of the final and executory decision of the
Quezon City RTC, Branch 94. Nonetheless, he had already denied Lorenzos motion to dismiss as a prohibited
pleading.
Judge Villegas denied that he and Carmelita are neighbors or that he is fraternizing with her; his house is about 250
meters from Carmelitas house.8 On the charge of delay in the disposition of the case, Judge Villegas reasoned out
that he has to hear no fewer than ten (10) to twelve (12) cases a day with very little time and energy for him to
attend to pending incidents, not to mention that the performance of his duties was adversely affected when the
power service in the court was cut off due to nonpayment of electric bills. He expressed the commitment to
dispose of the case after the hearing scheduled in his order dated December 27, 2007.9
In her reply filed on January 28, 2008,10 Evangeline insisted that the houses of Judge Villegas and Carmelita are
proximate to each other, their residences being a few minutes walking distance from one to the other. She
bewailed being kept in the dark on the reasons for the delay in the disposition of her case; despite her long
distance calls from Makati to inquire about the case, she only got negative answers from the clerk of court. She
denied that her marriage with Lorenzo had been annulled, as certified by the Civil Registry of Manila11 and the
National Statistics Office (NSO).12 The purported annulment had been fabricated and this was the reason why no
annulment was registered with the Civil Registry of Manila and with the NSO. She claimed that she had not been
given a fair treatment by Judge Villegas. She pleaded that her case be released from the sala of Judge Villegas and
be transferred to Manila.
On April 28, 2008, Evangeline filed a Manifestation13 claiming that in February 2008, when she asked for a copy of
her marriage contract from the NSO, she discovered to her surprise that the declaration of nullity of her marriage
with Lorenzo, pursuant to the decision of Judge Filemon H. Mendoza, RTC, National Capital Region, Branch XCIV,
Quezon City, rendered on March 24, 1986, had been annotated on the copy she obtained.14 With the declaration
of nullity having been registered only on November 15, 2006, or twenty (20) years after the fact, Evangeline could
not help but speculate that there had been connivance in the belated submission to the NSO, which happened
while Civil Case No. 192 was pending and hardly moving in the sala of Judge Villegas. She pointed to Judge Villegas
himself, Lorenzo and his lawyer, Atty. Ramon Orfanel, and her former counsel, Atty. Richard Enojo, as the possible
actors in the connivance.

The OCA Report


In a Memorandum dated October 1, 2009,15 the OCA advised the Court that it found Judge Villegas guilty of undue
delay in resolving Lorenzos Motion to Dismiss and failing to make progress in the case beyond the pre-trial stage,
after almost five (5) years since it was filed in 2003. It recommended that Judge Villegas be finedP5,000.00, the
offense charged being his first.
The OCA, however, recommended that the charges of violation of the Code of Judicial Conduct and fraternizing

with a litigant be dismissed for lack of evidence.


The OCA further recommended that Evangelines petition for change of venue be denied; the reasons she
advanced were not sufficiently compelling and weighty to justify a change of venue.
On November 23, 2009, at the OCAs suggestion, the Court resolved to:
1. re-docket the present administrative complaint as a regular administrative matter against Judge Villegas;
2. require the parties to manifest whether they were willing to submit the matter for resolution on the
basis of the pleadings and the records; and
3. deny the request for change of venue for lack of merit.16
Evangeline and Judge Villegas submitted the case for resolution on February 4, 201017 and March 16, 2010,
respectively.

ISSUE: Whether or not Judge Winston Villegas is guilty of undue delay rendering a decision in Civil case No. 192.

Held: First. The charges of violation of the Code of Judicial Conduct and fraternizing with litigants must
fail.1avvphi1 As the OCA correctly concluded, Evangeline failed to adduce substantial evidence to support Judge
Villegas guilt. Charges based on mere suspicion and speculation cannot be given credence.19
Second. Judge Villegas is liable for undue delay in rendering a decision or order. The following discussion from the
OCA report20 clearly establishes the judges guilt:
Records show that Civil Case No. 192 was filed on March 6, 2003. The complainant alleges that their last hearing
was held on July 6, 2006 as evidenced by the Order issued by the respondent judge granting, among other things,
her request to secure the services of another lawyer and to file the corresponding opposition to the Motion to
Dismiss filed by Lorenzo Vera Cruz. It was only on December 27, 2007, or after more than one (1) year, that the
respondent judge issued another Order denying the Motion to Dismiss and setting the case for pre-trial on
February 7, 2008. Hence, it is clear that the respondent judge was guilty of undue delay in resolving the Motion to
Dismiss filed by Lorenzo Vera Cruz. The said motion was resolved beyond the 90-day period required by law.
Further, it was not refuted that the case was filed in 2003, and after almost five (5) years*,+ it remains in the pretrial stage. Respondents contentions that he had to hear 10 to 12 cases a day and that the electricity of the court
was cut off in September 2007 are untenable to justify delay in the trial and resolution of pending incidents filed
before him.
Indeed, Judge Villegas had fallen short of the standards of efficiency and promptness of action required of an
administrator of justice. He had become deaf, in this particular case, to the age-old maxim "justice delayed is
justice denied." As we stressed in an earlier administrative matter,21 "Failure to decide a case or resolve a motion
within the reglementary period constitutes gross inefficiency and warrants the imposition of administrative
sanction against the erring magistrate. The delay in resolving motions and incidents pending before a judge within
the reglementary period of ninety (90) days fixed by the Constitution and the law is not excusable."22
Undue delay in rendering a decision or order, or in transmitting the records of a case is classified as a less serious
charge.23 If the respondent is found guilty of a less serious charge, any of the following sanctions may be imposed:
(1) suspension from office without salary and other benefits for not less than one (1) month nor more than three
(3) months; or (2) a fine of more than P10,000.00 but not exceeding P20,000.00.24
In determining the penalty to be imposed, we take into account the surrounding circumstances of the case. In this
case, we have to consider that this is Judge Villegas first offense of this nature. Thus, a fine, rather than the
heavier penalty of suspension, is more appropriate. The amount of the fine, on the other hand, has to take into
account the extent of the delay. The complainants case Civil Case No. 192 was still on pre-trial as of February
7, 2008, or almost five years since it was filed on March 6, 2003. This delay cannot but be substantial delay given

the time that has passed and the status of the case. Thus, a fine in the midrange of the imposable penalty, or
P15,000.00 is in order.
WHEREFORE, premises considered, Judge Winston M. Villegas is found GUILTY of undue delay in rendering a
decision in Civil Case No. 192. Accordingly, he is fined P15,000.00, with a STERN WARNING against the commission
of a similar offense. The charges of violating the Code of Judicial Conduct and of fraternizing with a litigant
are DISMISSED for lack of evidence.

6) A.M. No. RTJ-08-2139 August 9, 2010


MICHAEL B. BELEN, Complainant,
vs.
JUDGE MEDEL ARNALDO B. BELEN, Regional Trial Court, Calamba City, Branch 36, Respondent.

Facts:
Complainant Michael B. Belen filed a Verified Complaint dated 7 March 2001 with the Office of
the CourtAdministrator (OCA) of the Supreme Court, charging Judge Medel Arnaldo B. Belen with grave abuse of
authority and conduct unbecoming a judge. According to complainant,1 sometime in March 2004, respondent
judge filed a case for Estafa against complainants father, Nezer D. Belen, but the same was dismissed for lack
of probable cause by Assistant City Prosecutor Ma. Victoria Sunega-Lagman in a Resolution dated 28 July 2004.
Respondent judge filed an Omnibus Motion (For Reconsideration and Disqualif[ication]) before the Office of the
City Prosecutor of San Pablo City, alleging, inter alia, that Sunega-Lagman was always absent during the hearings in
the preliminary investigation in the estafa case. Respondent judge likewise filed a complaint for disciplinary
actionagainst Sunega-Lagman before the Integrated Bar of the Philippines Commission on Bar Discipline, docketed
as CBD Case No. 06-1700. To refute the allegations of respondent judge against Sunega-Lagman, complainant
executed an Affidavit dated 19 May 2006, which was submitted by Sunega-Lagman as evidence in the CBD case.
Complainants Affidavit stated that the allegations of respondent judge against Sunega-Lagman were "false"; that
Sunega-Lagman was present during the preliminary investigation hearings dated 14, 21 and 29 April 2004, and that
she was absent only once, on 6 May 2004, when she was already on maternity leave; and that it was respondent
judge who was absent during the hearings.
respondent judge allegedly started harassing and threatening complainant with the filing of several cases against
the latter. On 11 January 2007, at 10:00 in the morning, complainant received a mobile phone text message from
the caretaker of his piggery, informing him that respondent judge arrived and was taking pictures of the piggery.
Complainant rushed to the area and saw respondent judge, accompanied by the Municipal Agriculturist and
Sanitary Inspector and the Barangay Chairman, inspecting complainants piggery.
Respondent judge also wrote several letters addressed to certain local government authorities and employees,
requesting information on complainants piggery and poultry business; advising them of the alleged violations by
the complainant of the National Building Code and certain environmental laws; and reminding the local
government authorities of their duty to forestall the issuance of municipal clearance and license to complainants
business establishment.

Respondent judge also filed a criminal case against complainant for violations of Section 8 of Presidential Decree
No. 984 and Section 3 of Presidential Decree No. 953, docketed as I.S. No. 07-246/07-247, before the Office of the
Provincial Prosecutor of Laguna.
respondent judge to have violated Section 4 of Canon 1 and Section 1 of Canon 4 of the New Code of Judicial

Conduct for the Philippine Judiciary when he used a letterhead indicating his position as the Presiding Judge of the
RTC of Calamba City, Branch 36. According to Justice Garcia, while the computer-printed letterhead of respondent
judge is not the official letterhead of the RTC of Calamba City, Branch 36, the use of the same reflects respondent
judges designation and position in the judiciary, and indicates that the letters came from the "chambers" of the
presiding judge of Branch 36. Undoubtedly, respondent judge was trying to use the prestige of his judicial office for
his own personal interest.
Justice Garcia agreed with the OCA in recommending the imposition of the administrative penalty of fine in the
amount of P11,000 with a stern warning that a repetition of the same or similar act shall be dealt with more
severely.

ISSUE: Whether or not Judge Arnaldo Belen is guilty of violation of sec. 4 of canon 1 & sec. 1 canon 4 of the new
code of judicial conduct for the Phil Judiciary.

Held: Respondent judge wrote letters to government authorities and employees to secure public information
regarding complainants piggery and poultry business; to inform addressees of the laws allegedly being violated by
complainant; and to remind the addressees of their duties as government officials or employees and warn them of
the possible legal effects of neglect of public duties. In writing these letters, respondent judges use of his personal
stationery with letterhead indicating that he is the Presiding Judge of RTC of Calamba City, Branch 36, and stating
that the letter was "from *his+ chambers," clearly manifests that respondent judge was trying to use the prestige of
his office to influence said government officials and employees, and to achieve with prompt and ease the purpose
for which those letters were written. In other words, respondent judge used said letterhead to promote his
personal interest. This is violative of Section 4 of Canon 1 and Section 1 of Canon 4 of the New Code of Judicial
Conduct for the Philippine Judiciary. We quote these sections below:
CANON 1
INDEPENDENCE
xxx
SECTION. 4. Judges shall not allow family, social, or other relationships to influence judicial conduct or judgment.
The prestige of judicial office shall not be used or lent to advance the private interests of others, nor convey or
permit others to convey the impression that they are in a special position to influence the judge.
CANON 4
PROPRIETY
Propriety and the appearance of propriety are essential to the performance of all the activities of a judge.
SECTION 1. Judges shall avoid impropriety and the appearance of impropriety in all of their activities.
Report that what is involved here is the rule that "Judges shall avoid impropriety and the appearance of
impropriety in all of their activities". (Canon 4, Section 1, New Code of Judicial Conduct) Indeed, members of the
Judiciary should be beyond reproach and suspicion in their conduct, and should be free from any appearance of
impropriety in the discharge of their official duties as well as in their personal behavior and everyday life. No
position exacts a greater demand for moral righteousness and uprightness on the individual than a seat in the
Judiciary.
In view of the foregoing, we find respondent judge guilty of violation of Section 4 of Canon 1 and Section 1 of
Canon 4 of the New Code of Judicial Conduct for the Philippine Judiciary.
We agree with the recommendation of the investigating justice and the OCA that respondent judge, for his
transgression, be meted a penalty of fine amounting to P11,000, with a stern warning that a repetition of the same
or similar act shall be dealt with more severely.

WHEREFORE, we find Judge Medel Arnaldo B. Belen, Presiding Judge of the Regional Trial Court of Calamba City,
Branch 36, GUILTY of violation of Section 4 of Canon 1 and Section 1 of Canon 4 of the New Code of Judicial
Conduct for the Philippine Judiciary, and FINE him P11,000, with a stern warning that a repetition of the same or
similar act shall be dealt with more severely.

7) A.M. No. RTJ-10-2242


August 6, 2010
*Formerly OCA IPI No. 09-3149-RTJ+
ATTY. RAUL L. CORREA, Complainant,
vs.
JUDGE MEDEL ARNALDO B. BELEN, REGIONAL TRIAL COURT, BRANCH 36, CALAMBA CITY, LAGUNA,Respondent.

Facts:
Before us is a Verified-Complaint dated February 20, 2009 filed by complainant Atty. Raul L. Correa charging
respondent Judge Medel Arnaldo B. Belen of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 36, Calamba City, Laguna of
Misconduct.
Before us is a Verified-Complaint dated February 20, 2009 filed by complainant Atty. Raul L. Correa charging
respondent Judge Medel Arnaldo B. Belen of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 36, Calamba City, Laguna of
Misconduct.
Complainant further claimed that, in the course of the proceedings, he was asked by respondent Judge Belen to
stand up while the latter dictated his order on their Administrators Report. Respondent Judge Belen even rebuked
him for some mistakes in managing the affairs of the estate, adding that it is regrettable "because Atty. Raul
Correa is a U.P. Law Graduate
and a Bar Topnotcher at that." Complainant regrets the actuations and statements of respondent Judge Belen,
especially because the remark was uncalled for, a left-handed compliment, and a grave insult to his Alma Mater.
Worse, respondent Judge Belen ousted complainant as co-administrator of the estate of Hector Tan.
On June 18, 2008, respondent Judge Belen issued an Order citing complainant for indirect contempt, allegedly with
administrator Rose Ang Tee, for surreptitiously and unlawfully withdrawing from and emptying the account of the
estate of Hector Tan. The June 18, 2008 Order contained snide remarks, viz
x x x. The action of Rose Tee and Atty. Raul Correa is contumacious and direct challenge to lawful orders, and
judicial process of this [c]ourt and malicious assault to the orderly administration of justice, more specifically
abhorrent the act and deed of Atty. Raul Correa, a U.P. Law alumnus and Bar Topnotcher, who as a lawyer knows
very well and fully understands that such action violates his oath of office which the Court cannot countenance. x x
x
Lastly, complainant insisted that he should not have been cited for indirect contempt because he had fully
explained to the court that he had done his part as co-administrator in good faith, and that, through his efforts, the
estate was able to meet the deadline for the latest Tax Amnesty Program of the government, consequently saving
the estate the amount of no less than P35 Million.
In his Comment dated August 18, 2009, respondent Judge Belen argued that a judge, having the heavy burden to
always conduct himself in accordance with the ethical tenets of honesty, probity and integrity, is duty bound to
remind counsel of their duties to the court, to their clients, to the adverse party, and to the opposing counsel.
Respondent Judge Belen claimed that the conduct of complainant in handling the settlement of the estate of
Hector Tan violated and breached the tenets and standards of the legal profession and of the Lawyers Oath. He
alleged that, despite the clear tenor of a lawyer-client relationship, complainant associated himself as
corresponding counsel and member of the Ongkiko Law Office, the counsel of the opposing party in the settlement
proceedings.
Respondent Judge Belen further alleged that complainant, in connivance with Rose Ang Tee, surreptitiously
released millions of pesos for the now deceased Purification Tee Tan and to themselves, in clear violation of

complainants legal and fiduciary relationship and responsibilities as court-appointed co-administrator.


Both the Verified-Complaint and the Comment were referred to the Office of the Court Administrator (OCA) for
evaluation, report, and recommendation.

ISSUES: Whether or not Judge Mendel Arnaldo Belen is guilty of conduct Unbecoming of a judge.

Held: the OCA found respondent Judge Belen guilty of conduct unbecoming of a judge for his use of intemperate
language and inappropriate actions in dealing with counsels, such as complainant, appearing in his sala. The OCA
said that respondent Judge Belen should have just ruled on the motion filed by complainant instead of opting for a
conceited display of arrogance. The OCA also noted that the incidents subject of this administrative matter were
not the first time that respondent Judge Belen had uttered intemperate remarks towards lawyers appearing before
him. It noted that in Mane v. Belen,1 the Court found respondent Judge Belen guilty of conduct unbecoming of a
judge and was reprimanded for engaging in a supercilious legal and personal discourse.
Based on its evaluation, the OCA recommended that (a) the administrative case against respondent Judge Belen be
re-docketed as a regular administrative matter; and (b) respondent Judge Belen be fined in the amount
ofP10,000.00 for conduct unbecoming of a judge, with a stern warning that a repetition of the same or similar act
shall be dealt with more severely.
The findings and the recommendations of the OCA are well taken and, thus, should be upheld.
Indeed, the New Code of Judicial Conduct for the Philippine Judiciary exhorts members of the judiciary, in the
discharge of their duties, to be models of propriety at all times. Canon 4 mandates
CANON 4
PROPRIETY
Propriety and the appearance of propriety are essential to the performance of all the activities of a judge.
SECTION 1. Judges shall avoid impropriety and the appearance of impropriety in all of their activities.
xxx
SEC. 6. Judges, like any other citizen, are entitled to freedom of expression, belief, association and assembly, but in
exercising such rights, they shall always conduct themselves in such a manner as to preserve the dignity of the
judicial office and the impartiality and independence of the judiciary.
The Code also calls upon judges to ensure equality of treatment to all before the courts. More specifically, Section
3, Canon 5 on Equality provides
SEC. 3. Judges shall carry out judicial duties with appropriate consideration for all persons, such as the parties,
witnesses, lawyers, court staff and judicial colleagues, without differentiation on any irrelevant ground, immaterial
to the proper performance of such duties.
We join the OCA in noting that the incidents narrated by complainant were never denied by respondent Judge
Belen, who merely offered his justification and asserted counter accusations against complainant.
Verily, we hold that respondent Judge Belen should be more circumspect in his language in the discharge of his
duties. A judge is the visible representation of the law. Thus, he must behave, at all times, in such a manner that his
conduct, official or otherwise, can withstand the most searching public scrutiny. The ethical principles and sense of
propriety of a judge are essential to the preservation of the peoples faith in the judicial system.2
A judge must consistently be temperate in words and in actions. Respondent Judge Belens insulting statements,
tending to project complainants ignorance of the laws and procedure, coming from his inconsiderate belief that
the latter mishandled the cause of his client is obviously and clearly insensitive, distasteful, and inexcusable. Such
abuse of power and authority could only invite disrespect from counsels and from the public. Patience is one virtue
that members of the bench should practice at all times, and courtesy to everyone is always called for.

Conduct unbecoming of a judge is classified as a light offense under Section 10, Rule 140 of the Revised Rules of
Court, penalized under Section 11 (c) thereof by any of the following: (1) a Fine of not less than P1,000.00 but not
exceeding P10,000.00; (2) Censure; (3) Reprimand; and (4) Admonition with warning. Inasmuch as this is not
respondent Judge Belens first offense, the penalty of fine of P10,000.00 is deemed appropriate.
WHEREFORE, we find Judge Medel Arnaldo B. Belen, Presiding Judge of the Regional Trial Court of Calamba City,
Branch 36, GUILTY of Conduct Unbecoming of a Judge, and FINE him P10,000.00, with a stern warning that a
repetition of the same or similar act shall be dealt with more severely.

8) A.M. No. P-02-1625 August 4, 2010


(Formerly A.M. No. 02-6-144-MCTC)
OFFICE OF THE COURT ADMINISTRATOR, Complainant,
vs.
MARINA GARCIA PACHECO, Clerk of Court, Municipal Circuit Trial Court, Paete, Laguna, Respondent.

Facts:
This administrative case stems from an audit conducted by the Financial Audit Team, Office of the Court
Administrator (FAT-OCA) in the Municipal Circuit Trial Court (MCTC) of Paete-Pakil-Pangil, Laguna on April 4, 2002
during the incumbency of respondent Marina Garcia Pacheco, Clerk of Court II therein.
The audit was prompted by a letter1 from Christopher M. Aguilar, Utility Worker I of the court, alleging, among
others, that Pacheco tampered with the duplicate and triplicate copies of court receipts; and that she failed to
issue receipts for collected fines and forfeited bonds.
The report further revealed that Pacheco deposited court collections with the Rural Bank of Paete, Inc. instead of
the Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP). It was also discovered that there was a discrepancy between the amount
of bank deposits (P611,816.01) and withdrawals made (P581,816.01).
Adopting the OCAs recommendations in its Memorandum3 dated June 7, 2002, the Court resolved to place
respondent Pacheco on preventive suspension, and direct her to comment on the FAT-OCA report.
In her Comment/Compliance5 dated September 30, 2002, Pacheco explained that she deposited court collections
with the Rural Bank of Paete because it is the bank nearest to the MCTC, and she was informed that LBP is the
authorized depository bank of courts only on January 2002. She declared that she was able to transfer the court
funds to LBP only on May 25, 2002 due to heavy workload.
Respondent blamed the bank for the inconsistency between the total amount of deposits and total amount of
withdrawals. Respondent admitted that she tampered with the duplicate and triplicate copies of the receipts she
issued. However, she alleged that the money derived from the tampered receipts was spent for the courts
renovation. She stressed that she did not use court funds for her personal gain, and that she even used
herpersonal money to pay for the renovation.
Lastly, respondent maintained that she issued receipts for forfeited cash bonds and fines.1wphi1 In support
thereof, she appended photocopies of the said receipts.
Due to the insufficiency of necessary documents to establish Pachecos exact financial accountabilities, the Fiscal
Management Division, Court Management Office, OCA (FMD-CMO-OCA) conducted a re-examination of the cash
and the accounts of MCTC, Paete, Laguna on April 21-25, 2008.
On June 12, 2008, the FMD-CMO-OCA submitted its report8 disclosing that during her term, respondent Pacheco
incurred cash shortages amounting to P169, 878.58, computed and detailed in this manner:
"Judiciary Development Fund (JDF)

Total Collections for the period from April 1985


to August 31, 2002

396,495.65

Less: Total Remittances for the same period

378,226.65

Balance of Accountability/Under-remittance

18,269.00

Clerk of Court General Fund (COGF)


Total Collections for the period from
October 1995 to August 31, 2002

70,241.14

Less: Total Remittances for the same period

70,161.14

Balance of Accountability/Under-remittance

80.00

Due to the unavailability of Ms. Pachecos financial documents for the period April 1985 to December 2000, her
accountability for the Judiciary Development Fund and Clerk of Court General Fund for the same period was
arrived at based the entries/postings in the Subsidiary Ledger (SL) of the Revenue Section, Accounting Division,
Office of the Court Administrator.
Of the total of P18,269.00 financial accountability in the JDF, P10,780.00 came from the tampered Official Receipts.
Except for the "date*,+" all other entries in the original receipt issued by Ms. Pacheco were not truthfully reflected
in the duplicate and the triplicate copies in violation of OCA Circular No. 22-94 which provides that the DUPLICATE
and TRIPLICATE copies of the receipt will be carbon reproductions in all respects of whatever may have been
written in the ORIGINAL. Ms. Pacheco resorted to this practice to conceal whatever collections she had
misappropriated.
Fiduciary Fund (FF)
Total Collections for the period from
April 1994 to August 31, 2002

P1,205,985.62

Less: Total Withdrawals for the same period

934,395.62

Balance of Unwithdrawn FF as of 8/31/02

271,590.00

Deduct: Adjusted bank balance as of 8/31/02:


Bank Balance as of 8/31/02

89,126.74

Less: Unwithdrawn Interests as of 8/31/02 24,066.32

65,060.42

Balance of Accountability/Cash Shortage

206,529.58

Deduct: Deposits made by Ms. Pacheco on


May 30, 2003

55,000.00

Final Accountability/Cash Shortage

151,529.58

As of August 31, 2002, a cash shortage of P206,529.58 was uncovered in Ms. Pachecos FF account. However, this
was reduced to P151,529.58 when Ms. Pacheco deposited P55,000.00 to the courts FF account in the Land Bank of
the Philippines, Siniloan, Laguna Branch on May 30, 2003."
On October 20, 2008, based on a Memorandum9 submitted by the OCA, the Court issued a Resolution10 directing
respondent Pacheco to restitute the cash shortages she incurred during her term by depositing the following
amounts in their respective accounts:

Amount

Funds/Account

P18, 269.00

Judiciary Development Fund

80.00

Clerk of Court General Fund

151,529.58

Fiduciary Fund

P169, 878.58

TOTAL

Respondent was likewise ordered to account for the missing official receipts with serial numbers 7989468,
7989478, 7989479, 7989482, 7989491, 7989492, 7989497, 10514053, 10514055, 10514056, 10514060, 10514062,
10514063, 10514064, 10514067 and 10514070.
The OCA was directed to file the appropriate criminal charges against Ms. Pacheco. To prevent her from leaving the
country without settling the shortages, a Hold Departure Order was issued by the Court.11
On November 28, 2008, Pacheco filed a Motion for Reconsideration as to the Computation of Shortages/Missing
Official Receipts12 claiming that her final accountability should only be P95,529.28. She averred that the FMDCMO-OCAs computation failed to deduct the withdrawals made by Acting Clerk of Court Carmen Regalado on
September 24, 2002, March 18,
2003, February 18, 2003, October 4, 2003 and January 7, 2003 amounting to P57,000.00. She also asked for a
period of six (6) months within which to restitute her cash shortages and to locate the missing receipts.13
The motion was referred to the OCA for evaluation, report and recommendation. In its report14 dated March 20,
2009, the FMD-CMO-OCA maintained its original finding on the amount of respondents cash shortages.
In a Memorandum15 for Associate Justice Leonardo A. Quisumbing dated May 11, 2009, then Court Administrator
Jose P. Perez16 recommended the denial of respondents motion for recomputation, as well as her plea for
additional time.
In the same memorandum, Court Administrator Perez found respondent guilty of gross neglect of duty for her
failure to ensure that all documents were properly filed, and all funds entrusted to her were well accounted for.
Thus, the OCA recommended respondents dismissal from service.
On June 10, 2009, the Court issued a Resolution17 denying respondents motion for recomputation and plea for
additional time. The parties were asked to manifest if they were willing to submit the matter for resolution based
on pleadings and documents on record. On June 17, 2009, respondent submitted her Manifestation18 expressing
her willingness to submit the matter for resolution based on pleadings filed.

ISSUES: Whether or not Marina Garcia Pacheco is guilty of dishonesty, grave misconduct and gross neglect of duty.

Held: The Court agrees with the OCA that respondent should be dismissed from the service.
No position demands greater moral righteousness and uprightness from its holder than a judicial office.19 Those
connected with the dispensation of justice, from the highest official to the lowliest clerk, carry a heavy burden of
responsibility.20 As front liners in the administration of justice, they should live up to the strictest standards of
honesty and integrity.21 The Court has been tireless in reminding employees involved in the administration of
justice to faithfully adhere to their mandated duties and responsibilities. Whether committed by the highest
judicial official or by the lowest member of the workforce, any act of impropriety can seriously erode the peoples
confidence in the Judiciary. As such, failure to live up to their avowed duty constitutes a transgression of the trust
reposed on them as court officers and inevitably leads to the exercise of disciplinary authority.
By these standards, respondent was found wanting, and her admission to tampering the duplicate and triplicate
copies of the courts official receipts shows her blatant disregard for her responsibilities as an officer of the court.

She violated OCA Circular No. 22-94, which provides that the DUPLICATE and TRIPLICATE copies of court receipt
must be carbon reproductions in all respects of whatever may have been written in the ORIGINAL
The fact that respondent is willing to pay her shortages does not free her from the consequences of her
wrongdoing. As Clerk of Court, respondent is entrusted with delicate functions in the collection of legal fees.28 She
acts as cashier and disbursement officer of the court; and is tasked to collect and receive all monies paid as legal
fees, deposits, fines and dues, and controls the disbursement of the same.29 She is designated as custodian of the
courts funds and revenues, records, properties and premises, and shall be liable for any loss or shortage
thereof. Hence, even when there is restitution of funds, unwarranted failure to fulfill these responsibilities deserves
administrative sanction, and not even the full payment of the collection shortages will exempt the accountable
officer from liability.
Her failure to account for the shortage in the funds she was handling, to turn over money deposited with her, and
to explain and present evidence thereon constitute gross neglect of duty, dishonesty and grave
misconduct.32These grave offenses are punishable by dismissal under Rule IV, Section 52 of the Uniform Rules on
Administrative Cases in the Civil Service. Her acts may, moreover, subject her to criminal liability.
As custodian of court funds and revenues, it was also her duty to immediately deposit the funds received by her
with the authorized government depositories and not to keep the same in her custody.33 Supreme Court Circular
Nos. 13-92 and 5-93 provide the guidelines for the proper administration of court funds. SC Circular No. 13-92
directs that all fiduciary collections be deposited immediately by the Clerk of Court, upon receipt thereof, with an
authorized depository bank. Per SC Circular No. 5-93, LBP is designated as the authorized government depository.
The records show, however, that respondent deposited the courts collections from 1998 to 2002 with the Rural
Bank of Paete instead of the LBP. Respondent cannot claim that she was informed of the foregoing rules on deposit
only in 2002. SC Circular Nos. 5-93 and 13-92 were issued on April 30, 1993 and July 9, 1993, respectively. When
she assumed her post as Clerk of Court II of the MCTC in 1998, it was her duty to know the rules and regulations
relative to her official tasks.
Her explanation that the transfer of the courts collections to the LBP only on May 5, 2002 was due to
heavyworkload, is unsatisfactory. As the chief administrative officer of the MCTC, respondent clerk of court is
expected to develop a system to efficiently attend to all her tasks. It is the duty of clerks of court to perform their
responsibilities faithfully, so that they can fully comply with circulars on deposits of collections.35 Respondents
continuous violation of the aforesaid circulars only shows that she was grossly negligent in the performance of her
duties. This negligence is further compounded by her failure to locate and present the 16 missing official receipts
allocated for the Fiduciary Fund. Clearly, she has been remiss in her duties as a custodian of court records.
Verily, respondents grave misdemeanors justify her severance from the service,36 with forfeiture of all retirement
benefits, except accrued leave credits, pursuant to current jurisprudence.
We also agree with the OCA that the monetary value of Pachecos accrued leave benefits can be applied to cover
her cash shortages. Based on the records of the OCAs Leave Division, respondent has a total of 353.584 days leave
credits. Its monetary value, in the amount of Three Hundred Ten Thousand Five Hundred Fifty Pesos and fifty
seven centavos (P310, 550.57), can be used to restitute the shortages she incurred.
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, respondent Marina Garcia Pacheco, Clerk of Court II of the Municipal Circuit
Trial Court of Paete-Pakil-Pangil, Laguna is hereby found GUILTY of DISHONESTY, GRAVE MISCONDUCT and GROSS
NEGLECT OF DUTY. She is DISMISSED from the service with forfeiture of all retirement benefits, except accrued
leave credits, and with prejudice to reemployment in the Government or any subdivision, agency, or
instrumentality thereof, including government-owned or controlled corporations.
The Financial Management Office, Office of the Court Administrator is DIRECTED to process the cash value of the
accrued leave benefits of respondent, dispensing with the documentary requirements, and to remit the amount of
One Hundred Sixty Nine Thousand Eight Hundred Seventy Eight Pesos and fifty eight centavos (P169,878.58) to
the Metropolitan Circuit Trial Court of Paete-Pakil-Pangil, Laguna to be apportioned as follows:

Judiciary Development Fund

P 18,269.00

Clerk of Court General Fund

80.00

Fiduciary Fund

151,529.58

As to the remainder of respondents accrued leave benefits, the release of the same must be subjected to the
submission of the usual documentary requirements.
The Office of the Court Administrator is ORDERED to coordinate with the prosecution arm of the government to
ensure the expeditious prosecution of respondent Pacheco for her criminal liability.

9) A.M. No. MTJ-09-1743 August 3, 2010


*Formerly A.M. No. OCA IPI No. 08-1954-MTJ+
JOSEPHINE SARMIENTO and MARY JANE MANSANILLA, Complainants,
vs.
HON. AZNAR D. LINDAYAG, ASSISTING JUDGE, MUNICIPAL TRIAL COURT IN CITIES, CITY OF SAN JOSE DEL MONTE,
BULACAN, Respondent.

Facts:
The Spouses Eliseto Panchito Burlas and Carmelita Burlas filed on April 20, 1990 a complaint for ejectment against
herein complainants before the then Municipal Trial Court, now the MTCC, San Jose del Monte presided by
respondent.
Respondent dismissed the ejectment complaint by Decision of March 14, 20002 in this wise:
Whereas here, the only definite ultimate fact averred is "that on or about October 20, 1998, due to the urgentneed
of the plaintiffs for the said property the defendants were notified and given by the plaintiffs a period of thirty (30)
days from said date within which to vacate the said property to enable the plaintiffs to occupy the same.
A year and eight months later or on February 2, 2002, the Burlas spouses filed another complaint (second
complaint) for ejectment against the same defendants-herein complainants involving the same property and the
same cause of action before the same MTCC presided by respondent.
The second complaint was submitted for decision on June 16, 2002. Close to four years later or on May 31, 2006,
respondent decided the case, this time against herein complainants.
In their present administrative complaint, complainants charge that by respondents delay in deciding the second
complaint, he is liable for malicious delay in the administration of justice.
Complainants add that respondents decision in the second complaint was tainted with bad faith and grave abuse
of authority and rendered in gross ignorance of the law as he favored the Burlas spouses, their non-submission of
substantial evidence of possession notwithstanding.
In his February 20, 2008 Comment,3 respondent maintains that the second complaint was not barred by res
judicata as his decision in the first case was not on the merits.
While respondent assumes responsibility for the delay in rendering the decision, he posits that the "administrative
lapse was not malicious considering the peculiar situation" he was in which he details as follows:

The undersigned is the Presiding Judge of MTC-Pandi, Bulacan since 1992 and the Assisting Judge of MTCCSan Jose del Monte City since 1995 up to the present. In this station, I conduct trials every Tuesdays and Thursdays
of the week. In this additional station, I do not have the luxury of having a chamber. I only share a room and a table
with another office staff because of the very acute space problem. Here, party litigants wait for the call of their
cases in the adjacent public market or in a nearby plaza.
the OCA gives the following Evaluation:
The mere fact that the respondent judge was serving as acting presiding judge in another sala does not constitute
sufficient reason to exonerate him from liability for delay in rendering decisions and resolving motions. This is not
to prescind from his situation as a judge handling two courts. It has been stressed in several decisions that if it
becomes unavoidable for a judge to render a decision or resolve a matter beyond the mandatory period, he may
seek additional time by simply filing a request for such time extension seasonably and supported by valid reasons.
The respondent did not avail himself of this action.
Section 5, Canon 6 (Competence and Diligence) of the New Code of Judicial Conduct for the Philippine Judiciary
directs judges to "perform all judicial duties, including the delivery of reserved decisions, efficiently, fairly and with
reasonable promptness." The heavy load in the respondents sala, though unfortunate, cannot exempt him from
due observance of the provisions of the Code.

The OCA thus recommends that respondent be fined in the amount of P15,000

ISSUES: Whether or not Judge Aznar Lindayag is guilty for undue delay in resolving Civil case No. 11-2002-SJ

Held: The Court finds the evaluation and recommendation of the OCA well-taken. It bears stressing that ejectment
cases must be resolved with great dispatch.8 Their nature calls for it. As Five Star Marketing Co., Inc. v. Booc9 holds:
Forcible entry and unlawful detainer cases are summary proceedings designed to provide an expeditious means of
protecting actual possession or the right to the possession of the property involved. It does not admit of a delay in
the determination thereof. It is a "time procedure" designed to remedy the situation. Stated in another way, the
avowed objective of actions for forcible entry and unlawful detainer, which have purposely been made summary in
nature, is to provide a peaceful, speedy and expeditious means of preventing an alleged illegal possessor of
property from unjustly continuing his possession for a long time, thereby ensuring the maintenance of peace and
order in the community; otherwise, the party illegally deprived of possession might feel the despair of long waiting
and decide as a measure of self-protection to take the law into his hands and seize the same by force and violence.
And since the law discourages continued wrangling over possession of property for it involves perturbation of
social order which must be restored as promptly as possible, technicalities or details of procedure which may cause
unnecessary delays should accordingly and carefully be avoided.
In accordance with the above objective, the Revised Rules on Summary Procedure set forth the steps to
expeditiously dispose of the cases covered by the rules, as in ejectment10 (emphasis supplied)
That explains why Section 10 of the Revised Rules on Summary Procedure11 which applies to an ejectment
complaint, among others, directs that within 30 days after the receipt of the last affidavits and position papers, or
the expiration of the period for filing the same, the trial court should render judgment on the case. Without any
order of extension granted by this Court, the failure to decide even a single case within the required period
constitutes gross inefficiency.121avvph!1
That it took respondent almost four years to decide the second complaint unmistakably shows his inefficiency. His
above-quoted explanation-justification therefor does not indeed convince. Just as his statement about records
getting misplaced or misfiled does not. The New Code of Judicial Conduct for the Philippine Judiciary requires
judges to "devote their professional activity to judicial duties, which include not only the performance of judicial

functions and responsibilities in court and the making of decisions, but also other tasks relevant to the judicial
office or the courts operations."
Rule 3.08 of the Code of Judicial Conduct13 requires that a judge should be diligent in discharging administrative
responsibilities and should maintain professional competence in court management, hence, it is incumbent upon
him to devise an efficient recording and filing system so that no disorderliness can affect the flow of cases and their
speedy disposition.14
Under Rule 140 of the Rules of Court, undue delay in rendering a decision is a less serious charge in which any of
the following sanctions may be imposed: (a) suspension from the service without salary and other benefits for not
less than one month nor more than three months; or (b) a fine of more than P10,000 but not more than P20,000.
Respondent having been previously admonished in A.M. OCA IPI No. 07-1885-MTJ to be more circumspect in
observing the reglementary periods for resolving motions and rendering decisions, not to mention that he was
again charged for undue delay in resolving a motion in OCA IPI No. 08-2009-MTJ which is pending evaluation, the
recommended fine of P15,000 is in order.

WHEREFORE, Judge Aznar D. Lindayag, Presiding Judge, Municipal Trial Court in Cities, San Jose Del Monte City,
Bulacan, is, for undue delay in resolving Civil case No. 11-2002-SJ, FINED in the amount of Fifteen Thousand
(P15,000) Pesos.

3) HERNANDEZ, and RODOLFO A.


PONFERRADA, SANDIGANBAYAN.
Respondents.

Facts:
Rohermia J. Jamsani-Rodriguez, an Assistant Special Prosecutor III in the Office of the Special Prosecutor, Office of
the Ombudsman initiated this administrative matter by filing an affidavit-complaint dated October 23, 2008 to
charge Sandiganbayan Justices Gregory S. Ong (Justice Ong); Jose R. Hernandez (Justice Hernandez); and Rodolfo
A. Ponferrada (Justice Ponferrada), who composed the Fourth Division of the Sandiganbayan (Fourth Division),
with Justice Ong as Chairman, at the time material to the complaint, with (1) grave misconduct, conduct
unbecoming a Justice, and conduct grossly prejudicial to the interest of the service; (2) falsification of public
documents; (3) improprieties in the hearing of cases; and (4) manifest partiality and gross ignorance of the law.
Before anything more, the Court clarifies that this decision is limited to the determination of the administrative
culpability of the respondent Justices, and does not extend to the ascertainment of whatever might be the effects

of any irregularity they committed as members of the Fourth Division on the trial proceedings. This clarification
stresses that the proceedings, if procedurally infirm, resulted from the acts of the Sandiganbayan as a collegial
body, not from their acts as individual Justices. The remedy against any procedural infirmity is not administrative
but judicial.
Grave Misconduct, Conduct Grossly Prejudicial to the Interest
of the Service, and Falsification of Public Documents

Under Section 1, Rule IV of the Revised Internal Rules of the Sandiganbayan, cases originating from Luzon, Visayas
and Mindanao shall be heard in the region of origin, except only when the greater convenience of the parties and
of the witnesses or other compelling considerations require
the contrary. Thus, for the period from April 24 to April 28, 2006, the
Fourth Division scheduled sessions for the trial of several cases in the Hall of Justice in Davao City.
Improprieties During Hearings Amounting to Gross Abuse of Judicial Authority and Grave
Misconduct

Allegedly, Justice Ong and Justice Hernandez made the following intemperate and discriminatory utterances
during hearings.

Firstly, the complainant alleged that Justice Ong uttered towards the complainant during the hearing held
in Cebu City in September 2006 the following:
We are playing Gods here, we will do what we want to do, your contempt is already out, we fined
you eighteen thousand pesos, even if you will appeal, by that time I will be there, Justice of the
Supreme Court.

Secondly, Justice Ong often asked lawyers from which law schools they had graduated, and frequently inquired
whether the law school in which Justice Hernandez had studied and from which he had graduated was better than
his (Justice Ongs) own alma mater. The complainant opined that the query was manifestly intended to emphasize
that the San Beda College of Law, the alma mater of Justice Ong, and the UP College of Law, that of Justice
Hernandez, were the best law schools.

Thirdly, on another occasion in that hearing in Cebu City in September 2006, Justice Hernandez
discourteously shouted at Prosecutor Hazelina Tujan-Militante, who was then observing trial from the gallery: You

are better than Director Somido? Are you better than Director Chua? Are you here to supervise Somido? Your office
is wasting funds for one prosecutor who is doing nothing.

Finally, Justice Hernandez berated Atty. Pangalangan, the father of former UP Law Dean Raul Pangalangan, thus:

Just because your son is always nominated by the JBC to Malacaang, you are acting like that! Do not forget that
the brain of the child follows that of their (sic) mother.
Justices Ong, Hernandez, and Ponferradas Gross Ignorance of the Law Amounting to Manifest
Partiality for Dismissing Criminal Case No. 25801,
Entitled People v. Puno, upon a Demurrer to Evidence

In imputing manifest partiality to respondent Justices, the complainant cited the Fourth
Divisions resolution granting accused Ronaldo V. Punos demurrer to evidence in Criminal Case No. 25801, and
dismissing the case upon a finding that the assailed contracts had never been perfected, which finding was
contrary to the evidence of the Prosecution.

The complainant insisted that the conclusion that the assailed contracts had never been perfected was based on a
National Police Commission (NAPOLCOM) resolution, which the Fourth Division appreciated in the guise of taking
judicial notice. She contended that taking judicial notice of the NAPOLCOM resolution upon a demurrer to
evidence was highly erroneous, and constituted gross ignorance of the law.

ISSUE: Whether or not the Respondents guilty for 1)grave misconduct, conduct unbecoming a justice & conduct
grossly prejudicial to the interest of the service; 2)falsification of public documents; 3)improprieties case &
4)manifest partiality & gross ignorance of law.

Held: The Court partly adopts the findings and recommendations of the Court Administrator.
A.
Respondents Violation of the provisions of PD 1606
and Revised Internal Rules of the Sandiganbayan

Respondent Justices contend that they preserved the collegiality of the Fourth Division despite their having
separately conducted hearings, considering that the three of them were in the same venue and were acting within
hearing and communicating distance of one another.

The contention is not well-taken.

Section 3 of PD 1606, the law establishing the Sandiganbayan, provides:


Section 3. Division of the Courts; Quorum. - The Sandiganbayan shall sit in three divisions of
three Justices each. The three divisions may sit at the same time.
Three Justices shall constitute a quorum for sessions in division; Provided, that when the
required quorum for the particular division cannot be had due to the legal disqualification or
temporary disability of a Justice or of a vacancy occurring therein, the Presiding Justice may
designate an Associate Justice of the Court, to be determined by strict rotation on the basis of
the reverse order of precedence, to sit as a special member of said division with all the rights and
prerogatives of a regular member of said division in the trial and determination of a case or cases
assigned thereto, unless the operation of the court will be prejudiced thereby, in which case the
President shall, upon the recommendation of the Presiding Justice, designate any Justice or
Justices of the Court of Appeals to sit temporarily therein.

An implementing rule is Section 3, Rule II of the Revised Internal Rules of the Sandiganbayan, viz:
Section 3. Constitution of the Divisions. - The Sandiganbayan shall sit in five (5) Divisions of three
(3) Justices each, including the Presiding Justice. The five (5) Divisions may sit separately at the
same time. Each of the five (5) most senior Associate Justices including the Presiding Justice, shall
be the Chairman of a Division; each of the five (5) Associate Justices next in rank shall be the
Senior Member of a Division; and each of the last five (5) Associate Justices shall be the Junior
Member of a Division.

Under the foregoing provisions, the Sandiganbayan is a collegial court. Collegial is defined as relating to a
collegium or group of colleagues. In turn, a collegiumis an executive body with each member having
approximately equal power and authority. In a collegial court, therefore, the members act on the basis of
consensus or majority rule. Thus, PD 1606, as amended, and the Revised Internal Rules of the
Sandiganbayan, supra, call for the actual presence of the three Justices composing the Division to constitute a
quorum to conduct business and to hold trial proceedings. Necessarily, the exclusion or absence of any member of
a Division from the conduct of its business and from the trial proceedings negates the existence of a quorum and
precludes collegiality.

As if underscoring the need for all three members to be actually present and in attendance during sessions,
Section 3 of PD 1606, as amended, further requires that:xxx when the required quorum for the particular division cannot be had due to the legal
disqualification or temporary disability of a Justice or of a vacancy occurring therein, the
Presiding Justice may designate an Associate Justice of the Court, to be determined by strict
rotation on the basis of the reverse order of precedence, to sit as a special member of said
division with all the rights and prerogatives of a regular member of said division in the trial and
determination of a case or cases assigned thereto, unless the operation of the court will be
prejudiced thereby, in which case the President shall, upon the recommendation of the
Presiding Justice, designate any Justice or Justices of the Court of Appeals to sit temporarily
therein.

Respondent Justices cannot lightly regard the legal requirement for all of them to sit together as members of the
Fourth Division in the trial and determination of a case or cases assigned thereto. The information and evidence
upon which the Fourth Division would base any decisions or other judicial actions in the cases triedbefore it must
be made directly available to each and every one of its members during the proceedings. This necessitates
the equal and full participation of eachmember in the trial and adjudication of their cases. It is simply not enough,
therefore, that the three members of the Fourth Division were within hearing and communicating distance of one
another at the hearings in question, as they explained in hindsight, because even in those circumstances not all of
them sat together in session.

Indeed, the ability of the Fourth Division to function as a collegial body became impossible when not all of the
members sat together during the trial proceedings. The internal rules of the Sandiganbayan spotlight an instance of
such impossibility. Section 2, Rule VII of the Revised Internal Rules of the Sandiganbayan expressly requires
that rulings on oral motions made or objections raised in the course of the trial proceedings or hearings are be
made by the Chairman of the Division. Obviously, the rule cannot be complied with because Justice Ong, the
Chairman, did not sit in the hearing of the cases heard by the other respondents. Neither could the other
respondents properly and promptly contribute to the rulings of Justice Ong in the hearings before him.

Moreover, the respondents non-observance of collegiality contravened the very purpose of trying criminal cases
cognizable by Sandiganbayan before a Division of all three Justices. Although there are criminal cases involving
public officials and employees triable before single-judge courts, PD 1606, as amended, has alwaysrequired a
Division of three Justices (not one or two) to try the criminal cases cognizable by the Sandiganbayan, in view of the

accused in such cases holding higher rank or office than those charged in the former cases. The three Justices of a
Division, rather than a single judge, are naturally expected to exert keener judiciousness and to apply broader
circumspection in trying and deciding such cases. The tighter standard is due in part to the fact that the review of
convictions is elevated to the Supreme Court generally via the discretionary mode of petition for review
on certiorari under Rule 45, Rules of Court, which eliminates issues of fact, instead of viaordinary appeal set for the
former kind of cases (whereby the convictions still undergo intermediate review before ultimately reaching the
Supreme Court, if at all).
Unbecoming Conduct of Justice Ong and Justice Hernandez

The Court approves the Court Administrators finding and recommendation that no evidence supported the
complainants charge that Justice Ong and Justice Hernandez had uttered the improper and intemperate
statements attributed to them.

A review of the transcripts of the stenographic notes for the hearings in which the offensive statements were
supposedly uttered by them has failed to substantiate the complainants charge. In the absence of a clear showing
to the contrary, the Court must accept such transcripts as the faithful and true record of the proceedings, because
they bear the certification of correctness executed by the stenographers who had prepared them.

Even so, Justice Ong and Justice Hernandez admitted randomly asking the counsels appearing before
them from which law schools they had graduated, and their engaging during the hearings in casual conversation
about their respective law schools. They thereby publicized their professional qualifications and manifested a lack
of the requisite humility demanded of public magistrates. Their doing so reflected a vice of self-conceit. We view
their acts as bespeaking their lack of judicial temperament and decorum, which no judge worthy of the judicial
robes should avoid especially during their performance of judicial functions. They should not exchange banter or
engage in playful teasing of each other during trial proceedings (no matter how good-natured or even if meant to
ease tension, as they want us to believe). Judicial decorum demands that they behave with dignity and act with
courtesy towards all who appear before their court.

Indeed, Section 6, Canon 6 of the New Code of Judicial Conduct for the Philippine Judiciary clearly enjoins that:

Section 6. Judges shall maintain order and decorum in all proceedings before the court and be
patient, dignified and courteous in relation to litigants, witnesses, lawyers and others with
whom the judge deals in an official capacity. Judges shall require similar conduct of legal
representatives, court staff and others subject to their influence, direction or control.

We point out that publicizing professional qualifications or boasting of having studied in and graduated from
certain law schools, no matter how prestigious, might have even revealed, on the part of Justice Ong and Justice
Hernandez, their bias for or against some lawyers. Their conduct was impermissible, consequently, for Section 3,
Canon 4 of the New Code of Judicial Conduct for the Philippine Judiciary, demands that judges avoid situations that
may reasonably give rise to the suspicion or appearance of favoritism or partiality in their personal relations with
individual members of the legal profession who practice regularly in their courts.

Judges should be dignified in demeanor, and refined in speech. In performing their judicial duties, they should not
manifest bias or prejudice by word or conduct towards any person or group on irrelevant grounds. It is very
essential that they should live up to the high standards their noble position on the Bench demands. Their language
must be guarded and measured, lest the best of intentions be misconstrued. In this regard, Section 3, Canon 5 of
the New Code of Judicial Conduct for the Philippine Judiciary, mandates judges to carry out judicial duties with
appropriate consideration for all persons, such as the parties, witnesses, lawyers, court staff, and judicial
colleagues, without differentiation on any irrelevant ground, immaterial to the proper performance of such duties.

In view of the foregoing, Justice Ong and Justice Hernandez were guilty of unbecoming conduct, which is defined
as improper performance. Unbecoming conduct applies to a broader range of transgressions of rules not only of
social behavior but of ethical practice or logical procedure or prescribed method.

The charge of manifest partiality for issuing the resolution granting the demurrer to evidence of the accused in
Criminal Case No. 25801 is dismissed. As already mentioned, this Court upheld the assailed resolution on June 5,
2006 in G. R. No. 171116 by declaring the petition of the Office of the Special Prosecutor assailing such dismissal to
have failed to sufficiently show that the Sandiganbayan had committed any reversible error in the questioned
judgment to warrant the exercise by this Court of its discretionary appellate jurisdiction.

At any rate, it is worth stressing that a judge will be held administratively liable for rendering an unjust judgment

only if he acts with bad faith, malice, revenge, or some other similar motive.

Section 9, Rule 140 of the Rules of Court, as amended by A.M. No. 01-8-10 SC, classifies the offense of simple
misconduct as a less serious charge, viz:

Section 9. Less Serious Charges. Less serious charges include:


xxx xxx xxx
7. Simple Misconduct.

Section 11, Rule 140 of the Rules of Court alternatively prescribes the sanctions on judges and justices guilty of a
less serious charge, as follows:
Section 11. Sanctions. xxx
xxx xxx xxx
B. If the respondent is guilty of a less serious charge, any of the following sanctions shall be
imposed:
1. Suspension from office without salary and other benefits for not less than one (1) nor more
than three (3) months; or
2. A fine of more than P10,000.00 but not exceeding P 20,000.00.
xxx xxx xxx

On the other hand, unbecoming conduct is a light charge under Section 10, Rule 140 of the Rules of Court, thus:
Section 10. Light Charges. Light charges include:
1. Vulgar and unbecoming conduct;
xxx xxx xxx

and is punishable under Section 11(C), Rule 140 of the Rules of Court by a fine of not less than P1,000.00, but not
exceeding P10,000.00; and/or censure, reprimand, or admonition with warning.

Analogizing from Section 55 of the Uniform Rules on Administrative Cases in the Civil Service, in an instance where
the respondent is guilty of two or more charges, the penalty is that corresponding to the most serious charge, and
the rest of the charges are considered as aggravating circumstances.

That respondent Justices responsibilities as members of a Division were different compels us to differentiate their
individual liabilities.

Without doubt, the Chairman, as head of the Division under the internal rules of the Sandiganbayan, is primus inter
pares. He possesses and wields powers of supervision, direction, and control over the conduct of the proceedings
coming before the Division.

In exercising his powers as Chairman of the Fourth Division, Justice Ong exuded an unexpectedly dismissive attitude
towards the valid objections of the complainant, and steered his Division into the path of procedural irregularity.
He thereby wittingly failed to guarantee that his Divisions proceedings came within the bounds of substantive and
procedural rules. We cannot, of course, presume that he was unaware of or unfamiliar with the pertinent law and
correct procedure, considering his already long tenure and experience as of then as a Justice of the Sandiganbayan,
having risen from Associate Justice to Chairman of his Division.

We hold that the condign and commensurate penalty to impose on Justice Ong is a fine of P15,000.00, after taking
into consideration the mitigating circumstance that this administrative offense was his first and the aggravating
circumstance of the light charge of unbecoming conduct. The penalty goes with a stern warning that a repetition of
the same or similar of such offenses shall be dealt with more severely.

As mere members of the Fourth Division, Justice Hernandez and Justice Ponferrada had no direction and control
of how the proceedings of the Division were conducted. Direction and control was vested in Justice Ong, as the
Chairman. Justice Hernandez and Justice Ponferrada simply relied without malice on the soundness and wisdom of
Justice Ongs discretion as their Chairman, which reliance without malice lulled them into traveling the path of
reluctance to halt Justice Ong from his irregular leadership. We hold that their liabilities ought to be much
diminished by their lack of malice.

In addition, the fact that this is the first case for Justice Hernandez and Justice Ponferrada is a mitigating
circumstance in their favor.

Although Justice Hernandez is liable for the less serious charge of simple misconduct, aggravated by a light charge

but appreciating his reliance without malice and the mitigating circumstance of this offense being his first, the
Court admonishes him with a warning that a repetition of the same or similar offenses shall be dealt with more
severely.

The liability of Justice Ponferrada for the less serious charge of simple misconduct, without any aggravating
circumstance, is obliterated by his reliance without malice and the mitigating circumstance of its being a first
offense. However, he is warned to be more cautious about the proper procedure to be taken in proceedings before
his court.

WHEREFORE, the Court RESOLVES as follows:


1.

ASSOCIATE JUSTICE GREGORY S. ONG is ordered to pay a fine of P15,000.00, with a stern warning that a

repetition of the same or similar offenses shall be dealt with more severely;

2.

ASSOCIATE JUSTICE JOSE R. HERNANDEZ is admonished with a warning that a repetition of the same or

similar offenses shall be dealt with more severely; and


3.

ASSOCIATE JUSTICE RODOLFO A. PONFERRADA is warned to be more cautious about the proper procedure to

be taken in proceedings before his court.

SEPTEMBER 2010 LEGAL ETHICS DIGESTED CASES


BY: ALBERT JAMES M. DAGSAAN
1.

A.M. OCA IPI No. 05-2353-RTJ. September 6, 2010

Sr. State Prosecutor Emmanuel Velasco Vs. Hon. Adoracion G. Angeles

FACTS: This is a disbarment and dismissal from the judiciary service against the respondent which stemmed from
consolidated criminal case P. v Pacay and P. v Ganias. The case was submitted for decision on Sept. 8, 2008,
respondent moved it to Sept. 17 for the reason that she had a medical consultation for a neck ailment. She
therafter filed 3 successive requests for extensions. Finally, the judgment was reset for the last time to Dec. 12 and
the Decision was promulgated wherein all the accused Except for SPO1 Carino, were acquitted.
Convicted accused SPO1 Roberto C. Carino assailed the Joint Decision by filing an Urgent Motion for
Reconsideration on 5 January 2009, which the prosecution countered in its Opposition filed on 14 January 2009.
However, it was not until 30 July 2009, or more than six (6) months later, that respondent Judge Sempio-Diy issued
an Order submitting the incident for resolution. Less than a month later, or on 24 August 2009, respondent Judge
Sempio-Diy resolved the pending matter by denying the Urgent Motion for Reconsideration for lack of merit.

ISSUES: Whether or not respondent committed delay in rendition of judgment for the abovementioned cases.

Whether or not respondent judge committed a delay in acting upon the Motion for Reconsideration of the
convicted accused.

RULING: The Court found no evidence to sustain the charges of delay against the respondent in rendering the
Decision in the consolidated case. Records reveal that the respondent timely sought for three successive
extensions for the period to decide the consolidated cases. All requests were favorably considered by the Supreme
Court and granted a total of 90 day extension period and the Decision was made well within the extension period.
However the Court held that there was indeed delay in resolving accused Carinos Urgent Motion for
Reconsideration.
The reglementary period to resolve the motion in question began to run from February 8, 2009. The respondent
did not act on the matter and allowed the hiatus of the consolidated criminal cases. A judge cannot choose to
prolong the period for resolving pending incidents and deciding cases beyond the period authorized by law. Delay
in resolving motions and incidents within the reglementary period of 90 days fixed by law cannot be excused or
condoned
However, considering that this is her first infraction due to inadvertent, the Supreme Court believed that
admonition will suffice.
The respondent is found to have been in delay in the rendition of an order in the consolidated case.

2.

A.M. No. P-10-2785. September 21, 2010


Lourdes S. Escalona Vs. Consolacion S. Padillo

FACTS:
Complainant Lourdes S. Escalona (Escalona) filed a complaint charging respondent Consolacion S. Padillo (Padillo),
Court Stenographer III of RTC of Branch 260, Paraaque City with Grave Misconduct. Limcaco referred her to
Padillo to help facilitate the filing of a case against Dalit. Padillo allegedly promised to prepare the necessary
documents and asked for P20,000 purportedly as payment for the prosecutor. Thereafter, Escalona received a text
message from Padillo informing her that the prosecutor was not amenable to the reduced amount. Escalona was
also asked to submit a barangay clearance and to first take an oath before Prosecutor Antonio Arquiza, Jr. and later
before Prosecutor Napoleon Ramolete. However, subsequent verification from the Prosecutors Office showed no
record of a case filed against Dalit. Escalona confronted Padillo who promised to return to her the money. Padillo
reneged on her promise. Hence, this complaint.

Meanwhile, Escalona withdrew her complaint against Padillo in a Sworn Affidavit of Desistance dated 10 July
2007alleging that Padillo already returned to her the P20,000. This notwithstanding, then Court Administrator
Christopher O. Lock sent two notices to Padillo requiring her to submit her comment to the complaint of Escalona.
Despite the registry return receipts showing that she received the communications sent to her, Padillo failed to
comment on the complaint. On 15 September 2008, this Court required Padillo to explain why she should not be
administratively dealt with for her failure to submit the required comment and reiterated the directive on Padillo
to submit her comment to Escalonas complaint. A copy of the resolution sent to Padillo at the RTC, Branch 260,
Paraaque City was returned unserved with the notation "no longer connected."

ISSUE: whether or not Respondent may be held administratively liable.

HELD:
This Court could no longer impose the penalty of dismissal from the service because Padillo resigned a month
after the filing of the administrative complaint. However, her resignation did not render the complaint against her
moot. Resignation is not and should not be a convenient way or strategy to evade administrative liability when a
court employee is facing administrative sanction.4
There is no doubt that Padillo received from Escalona P20,000 purportedly "for fiscal & judge" and "for warrant
officer" and this amount was "intended to facilitate" the case against Dalit. This is shown in the receipt signed by
Padillo herself.

Section 2, Canon 1 of the Code of Conduct of Court Personnel provides that "(C)ourt personnel shall not solicit or
accept any gift, favor or benefit based on any explicit or implicit understanding that such gift, favor or benefit shall
influence their official actions." Section 52 (A)(11) of Rule IV of the Uniform Rules on Administrative Cases in the
Civil Service also provides that dismissal is the penalty for improper solicitation even if it is the first offense. Section
58(a) of the same Rule provides that the penalty of dismissal shall carry with it the cancellation of eligibility,
forfeiture of retirement benefits, and perpetual disqualification from reemployment in the government service.

The issue in an administrative case is not whether the complainant has a cause of action against the respondent,
but whether the employee has breached the norms and standards of the courts. Neither can the disciplinary
power of this Court be made to depend on a complainants whims. To rule otherwise would undermine the
discipline of court officials and personnel. The people, whose faith and confidence in their government and its
instrumentalities need to be maintained, should not be made to depend upon the whims and caprices of
complainants who, in a real sense, are only witnesses. Administrative actions are not made to depend upon the
will of every complainant who may, for one reason or another, condone a detestable act. Such unilateral act does
not bind this Court on a matter relating to its disciplinary power.

3.

A.M. No. RTJ-08-2136. September 21, 2010

Susan O. Reyes Vs. Judge Manuel N. Duque


FACTS AND ISSUES:
In the fresh case of REYES vs. JUDGE DUQUE, En Banc, A.M. No. RTJ-08-2136, Sept. 21, 2010, the Philippine
Supreme Court found the respondent Judge Manuel N. Duque, of Las Pinas City, GUILTY of IMPROPRIETY and
GROSS MISCONDUCT. The judge having previously retired from the service, it imposed on him a FINE of P40,000 to
be deducted from his retirement benefits.
In her Verified Complaint, Susan O. Reyes (Reyes) charged respondent Judge Manuel N. Duque (Judge Duque) of
the Regional Trial Court, Branch 197, Las Pias City (RTC-Branch 197), with Impropriety, Corruption and Gross
Misconduct. Reyes alleged that she was a party-in-intervention in Land Registration Case No. 06-005 entitled In
re: Petition of Philippine Savings Bank for Issuance of a Writ of Possession under Act No. 3135 over Properties
covered by TCT Nos. T-85172 and T-84847 filed by the Philippine Savings Bank (bank) against the spouses Carolyn
Choi and Nak San Choi (spouses Choi). In a Decision dated 6 November 2006, Judge Duque granted the motion for
the issuance of a writ of possession in favor of the bank and ordered the spouses Choi and all those claiming rights
under them to vacate the properties covered by TCT Nos. T-85172, T-84848, and T-84847 situated in BF Resort
Village, Talon 2, Las Pias. On 13 August 2007, Reyes filed an Urgent Petition for Lifting and Setting Aside of Writ
of Possession and Quashal of Notice to Vacate claiming that she bought the subject property covered by TCT No.
T-85172 from the spouses Choi and that she was in actual possession of the property with full knowledge of the
bank.

At the hearing of Reyes petition, Atty. Herminio Ubana, Sr., (Atty. Ubana) the lawyer of Reyes, introduced her to
Judge Duque who allegedly gave Reyes 30 days to settle matters with the bank. Reyes was unable to re-negotiate
with the bank. On the first week of December 2007, Reyes allegedly received a phone call from Judge Duque and
the latter instructed Reyes to go to his house and bring some money in order that he can deny the pending
motion to break open. As she did not have the money yet, Reyes allegedly told Judge Duque that she would see
him the following day as her allotment might arrive by that time. The following day, when her allotment arrived,
Reyes went to the PNB Cubao Branch in Quezon City to withdraw P20,000. She, her secretary, and driver went to
the house of Judge Duque at No. 9 CRM Corazon, BF Almanza, Las Pias. The son of Judge Duque opened the gate.
At his house, Judge Duque demanded P100,000. Reyes gave him P20,000 and she asked for time to give him the

balance. After a week, Atty. Ubana called Reyes telling her that Judge Duque was asking for her and waiting for the
balance he demanded. On 21 December 2007, Reyes went to the house of Judge Duque with P18,000 on hand.
Judge Duque allegedly scolded her for not bringing the whole amount of P80,000. Reyes explained that she had
difficulty raising the amount. Judge Duque locked the main door of his house and asked Reyes to step into his
office. Judge Duque pointed to a calendar posted on the wall and pointed to December 26 as the date when she
should complete the amount. All of a sudden, Judge Duque held the waist of Reyes, embraced and kissed her.
Reyes tried to struggle and free herself. Judge Duque raised her skirt, opened her blouse and sucked her breasts.
He touched her private parts and attempted to have sexual intercourse with Reyes. Reyes shouted for help but the
TV was too loud. As a desperate move, Reyes appealed to Judge Duque saying: kung gusto mo, huwag dito. Sa
hotel, sasama ako sayo. Judge Duque suddenly stopped his sexual advances and ordered Reyes to fix her hair.
RULING:
The doctrinal parts of the decision of the Court are quoted below, thus:
1. On the charge of graft and corruption, the Investigating Justice and the OCA found insufficient evidence to
sustain Reyes allegation that Judge Duque demanded and received money from her in consideration of a
favorable ruling. Thus, this charge should be dismissed for being unsubstantiated.
2. On the charge of impropriety and gross misconduct, and after a thorough investigation conducted by the
Investigating Justice, it was established, and Judge Duque admitted, that Reyes went to his house. Substantial
evidence also pointed to Judge Duques liability for impropriety and gross misconduct when he sexually assaulted
Reyes. There is no need to detail again the lewd acts of Judge Duque. The Investigating Justices narration was
sufficient and thorough. The Investigating Justice likewise observed that Judge Duque merely attempted to destroy
the credibility of Reyes when he insinuated that she could be a woman of ill repute or a high class prostitute or
one whose moral value is at its lowest level. However, no judge has a right to solicit sexual favors from a party
litigant even from a woman of loose morals.
3. We have repeatedly reminded members of the Judiciary to so conduct themselves as to be beyond reproach and
suspicion, and to be free from any appearance of impropriety in their personal behavior, not only in the discharge
of their official duties but also in their everyday lives. For no position exacts a greater demand on the moral
righteousness and uprightness of an individual than a seat in the Judiciary. Judges are mandated to maintain good
moral character and are at all times expected to observe irreproachable behavior so as not to outrage public
decency. We have adhered to and set forth the exacting standards of morality and decency, which every member
of the judiciary must observe. A magistrate is judged not only by his official acts but also by his private morals, to
the extent that such private morals are externalized. He should not only possess proficiency in law but should
likewise possess moral integrity for the people look up to him as a virtuous and upright man.
4. Judges should avoid impropriety and the appearance of impropriety in all of their activities. Judges should
conduct themselves in a way that is consistent with the dignity of the judicial office. Judges, like any other citizen,
are entitled to freedom of expression, belief, association and assembly, but in exercising such rights, they should
always conduct themselves in such a manner as to preserve the dignity of the judicial office and the impartiality
and independence of the judiciary.
5. The conduct of Judge Duque fell short of the exacting standards for members of the judiciary. He failed to
behave in a manner that would promote confidence in the judiciary. Considering that a judge is a visible
representation of the law and of justice, he is naturally expected to be the epitome of integrity and should be
beyond reproach. Judge Duques conduct indubitably bore the marks of impropriety and immorality. He failed to

live up to the high moral standards of the judiciary and even transgressed the ordinary norms of decency of
society. Had Judge Duque not retired, his misconduct would have merited his dismissal from the service.

4.

A.M. No. 2005-21-SC. September 28, 2010

Re: failure of various employees to register their time of arrival and/or departure from office in the chronolog
machine.

The Facts

This administrative case arose from a Report of the Leave Division of the Supreme Court to the Complaints and
Investigation Division of the Office of Administrative Services (OAS).[1] The Report referred to the failure of
various Supreme Court employees to register their time of arrival to and/or departure from office in the Chronolog
Time Recorder Machine (CTRM) for the first semester of 2005. Charged were the following:

1. Noemi B. Adriano, Development Management Officer V, Program Management Office (PMO), for various dates
from January to June

2. Dennis Russell D. Baldago, Chief Judicial Staff Officer, PMO, for various dates from January to June

3. Edilberto A. Davis, Director IV, PMO, for various dates from January to June

4. Atty. Catherine Joy T. Comandante, Court Attorney V, PMO, for various dates in February and from April to June

5. Jonathan Riche G. Mozar, Bookkeeper I, PMO, for various dates from January to June

6. Mariles M. Sales, Executive Assistant IV, PMO, for various dates from January to June

7. Virginia B. Ciudadano, Court Stenographer IV, Court Management Office, Office of the Court Administrator
(OCA) for various dates from March to June

8. Pia Claire C. Bernal, Clerk IV, Legal Office, OCA for various dates in January and from March to June

9. Teresita M. Anion, Human Resource Management Officer I, Leave Division, OAS, OCA, for various dates from
January to March

10. Honradez M. Sanchez, Human Resource Management Assistant, Leave Division, OAS, OCA, for various dates in
the months of February, March, and May

11. Samuel R. Ruez, Jr., Cashier III, Checks Disbursement Division, FMO, OCA, for various dates from January to
March and in the month of May

12. Arturo G. Ramos, Engineering Aide A Casual, Committee on Hall of Justice, for various dates from January to
March, and from May to June

13. Zosimo D. Labro, Administrative Officer II, Property Division, OAS, OCA, for various dates from March to June

14. Leonarda Jazmin M. Sevilla, Clerk IV, Legal Office, OCA, for various dates from February to June

15. Ariel Conrad A. Azurin, Messenger, Finance Division, FMO, OCA, for various dates from January to June

In its Memorandum dated 2 September 2005,[2] the OAS directed respondent employees to explain why no
administrative disciplinary action should be taken against them for their infraction. In compliance with the
directive, respondent employees submitted the following comments/explanations:

1. Ma. Noemi B. Adriano offered the following reasons: (1) domestic and office concerns, (2) long travel time, (3)
forgetfulness, and (4) malfunctioning CTRM. She pointed out her diligence in logging her attendance in the Daily
Report of Absences and Tardiness (RAT) of their office.

2. Dennis Russell D. Baldago claimed that on several occasions he had meetings and activities outside the Court. In
other instances, he admitted his neglect. He also faulted his ID for his failure to register in the CTRM and claimed
consulting with the Management Information System Office (MISO) for the replacement of his ID.

3. Edilberto A. Davis asserted he never failed to register in the CTRM and in their office logbook. He admitted,
however, that there were instances when he forgot his ID at home or when he forgot to register due to office
meetings. He wondered how it appeared that he had not registered in the CTRM on the other dates stated in the
Memorandum.

4. Atty. Catherine T. Comandante declared she was on official business on several occasions while on a few
instances, she inadvertently failed to register in the CTRM.

5. Jonathan Riche G. Mozar reasoned that as Bookkeeper I in the PMO, there were times that he was tasked to
perform other jobs requiring him to go out of the office. For this reason, he found it inconvenient and
inappropriate to still drop by the office just to register in the CTRM.

6. Mariles M. Sales claimed that the CTRM malfunction on certain dates, while on the other dates specified in the
Memorandum, she either forgot to bring her ID or was rushing home.

7. Virginia B. Ciudadano stated that she had religiously swiped her ID upon her arrival to and departure from office.
However, for the month of March 2005, she admitted failing to register in the CTRM because she could not locate
her ID. She did not bother to use the Bundy Clock Machine because she thought that her signature in their office
logbook is sufficient to consider her attendance.

8. Pia Claire C. Bernal claimed that she regularly registered her daily attendance both in the CTRM and in their
office logbook and was surprised to receive the Memorandum. She believed her ID was already defective, thus she
requested for a new ID. On 26 April 2005, she did not register in the CTRM due to an official business outside the
Court.

9. Teresita M. Anion admitted her absence on 14 and half day work on 19 January 2005, which were both
approved by her superior. However, such leave application did not reach the Leave Division. On 18 March 2005,
she claimed she swiped her ID but it appeared that the CTRM did not register her attendance, leading her to
conclude that her ID was already defective. On the other dates, she forgot her ID at home. Nonetheless, she
claimed that she never failed to register in their office logbook.

10. Honradez M. Sanchez blamed his failure to swipe his ID on his forgetfulness to bring the same. He claimed that
on the dates mentioned in the Memorandum, he visited his parents house in Fairview and still had to go home in
Laguna. On 11 and 14 February, he alleged his ID was misplaced and was only found later.

11. Mr. Samuel R. Ruez, Jr. claimed that he never failed to register during the period covered in the
Memorandum. He maintained that his Monthly and Daily RAT for the months of January, February, March and
April 2005 showed his attendance for the period. He faulted his ID for not being read by the CTRM, and averred
that he already applied for a new ID.

12. Mr. Arturo G. Ramos alleged he regularly swiped his ID card in the CTRM. He attached copies of the RAT of
their office for the months of January, February, March, May and June to prove his attendance on the questioned
dates. He attributed his failure to register in the CTRM either to the malfunctioning CTRM or defective ID. He
intended to coordinate with the MISO to remedy this and also request for a new ID.

13. Zosimo D. Labro, Jr. stated that his failure was due to his defective three-year old ID, and thus, he would apply
for a new ID.

14. Ariel Conrad A. Azurin claimed that he was surprised to receive the Memorandum as he always made sure to
hear a confirmation tone whenever he registered in the CTRM. He presented copies of the RAT of his office to
support his attendance on the dates mentioned in the Memorandum. He surmised that his failure to register in
the CTRM was due to his worn out ID. He also presented an official receipt to prove his request for a new ID.

15. Leonarda Jazmin M. Sevilla denied that she failed to register in the CTRM. However, she claimed that she
continued to use her old ID despite the fact that she had already secured a new one. She submitted copies of the
RAT of her Office to prove her attendance.

The Recommendation of the OAS

The OAS classified the reasons proffered in the comments as (1) personal, including household or domestic needs,
workload, nature of office, distant travel, traffic, and forgetfulness, (2) malfunctioning CTRM, (3) misplaced, worn
out, or defective ID cards, or (4) official business.

In ruling against respondent employees, the OAS cited the Courts ruling in Re: Administrative Case for Dishonesty
Against Elizabeth Ting, Court Sec. I and Angelita C. Esmerio, Clerk III, Off. Clerk of Court,[3] an administrative case
for dishonesty filed against two employees of this Court, where the Court held that domestic concerns and other
personal reasons cannot justify nor exonerate ones culpability for committing violation of such offense.

With respect to Leonarda Jazmin M. Sevilla, the OAS found her guilty of violation of reasonable office rules and
regulations for maintaining two ID cards. Sevilla used her old ID alternately with her new ID, that was why there
were no entries *when+ the old ID was used.

Insofar as Ariel Conrad A. Azurin is concerned, the OAS found that his omission to register in the CTRM constitutes
dishonesty. According to the OAS, Azurin deliberately did not swipe on the aforementioned dates and made it
appear on the said dates that he reported on time to escape administrative liability for habitual tardiness for the
3rd time which is already punishable with the penalty of dismissal.

The OAS recommended that respondent employees, except Azurin, to be sternly warned for Violation of
Reasonable Office Rules and Regulations, to wit:

WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, this Office respectfully recommends the following:

1. Finding Ms. Noemi B. Adriano, Mr. Dennis Russell D. Baldago, Mr. Edilberto A. Davis, Atty. Catherine Joy T.
Comandante, Mr. Jonathan Riche G. Mozar, Ms. Mariles M. Sales, Ms. Virginia B. Ciudadano, Ms. Pia Claire C.
Bernal, Ms. Teresita M. Anion, Mr. Honradez M. Sanchez, Mr. Samuel R. Ruez, Jr., Mr. Arturo G. Ramos, Mr.
Zosimo D. Labro, GUILTY of Violation of Reasonable Office Rules and Regulations and taking into consideration the
mitigating circumstance that this is their first violation, that they be STERNLY WARNED that a repetition of similar
acts in the future shall be dealt with severely. For the officials and employees of the PMO who attend meetings
and/or seminars outside the Courts premises, appropriate office orders should be submitted to the Leave Division,
this Office for proper recording in their office attendance files.

2. Finding Ms. Leonarda Jazmin M. Sevilla, GUILTY of Violating Reasonable Office Rules and Regulations, not for her
failure to swipe her ID card in the CTRM but for maintaining and using two (2) ID cards within the period from
January to June 2005, that she be (a) STERNLY WARNED that a repetition of similar acts in the future shall be dealt
with severely; and (b) directed to immediately surrender her old ID card to this Office; and

3. Finding the acts of Mr. Ariel Conrad A. Azurin as constituting Dishonesty, that he be directed by the Court to
explain why he should not be held administratively liable for Dishonesty.[4]

The Courts Ruling

The recommendations of the OAS are well taken, except as to Sevilla who is not guilty of Violation of Reasonable
Office Rules and Regulations.

I. Respondent employees are guilty of Violation of Reasonable Office Rules and Regulations

Administrative Circular No. 36-2001[5] requires all employees (whether regular, coterminous or casual) to register
their daily attendance, in the CTRM and in the logbook of their respective offices.

In Re: Failure of Jose Dante E. Guerrero to Register his Time In and Out in the Chronolog Time Recorder Machine
on Several Dates,[6] the Court emphasized the importance of attendance registration via CTRM, to wit:

The CTRM registration is not being imposed as a tedious and empty requirement. The registration of attendance in
office by public employees is an attestation to the taxpaying public of their basic entitlement to a portion of the
public funds. Verily, the registration requirement stands as the first defense to any attempt to defraud the people
of the services they help sustain. This requirement finds its underpinnings in the constitutional mandate that a
public office is a public trust. Inherent in this mandate is the observance and efficient use of every moment of the
prescribed office hours to serve the public.[7]

In that case, the Court found Guerreros explanations for his failure to register his time of arrival and departure in
the CTRM, namely, a defective ID and a malfunctioning CTRM, unbelievable. The Court affirmed Atty. Eden T.
Candelarias finding that Guerrero deliberately avoided registering via the CTRM to make it appear that he had
reported on time, thereby avoiding the ultimate penalty of dismissal for his habitual tardiness.

In Re: Supreme Court Employees Incurring Habitual Tardiness in the 2nd Semester of 2005,[8] which involved a
charge of habitual tardiness where the justifications offered by respondent employees therein were similar to the
reasons given in this case, the Court found the respondent employees explanations untenable. The Court stated:

Except for the claims of respondents Davis, Labro, Jr., Adriano and Benologa, all the reasons given by the other
respondents for their tardiness fall under the following categories: illness, moral obligation to family and relatives,
performance of household chores, traffic and health or physical condition.

These justifications are neither novel nor persuasive and hardly evokes sympathy. Moral obligations, performance
of household chores, traffic problems, health conditions, domestic and financial concerns are not sufficient
reasons to excuse habitual tardiness. If at all, they would mitigate, but not exempt them from the infraction.[9]

Considering the various justifications proffered by respondent employees for failure to register their time of arrival
and departure in the CTRM, the Court finds no error in the recommendation of the OAS finding them guilty of
Violation of Reasonable Office Rules and Regulations, more specifically Administrative Circular No. 36-2001. As
stated by the OAS, rules and regulations are *issued+ to attain harmony, smooth operation, maximize efficiency
and productivity, with the ultimate objective of realizing the functions of particular offices and agencies of the
government.*10+ Thus, any breach of such rules and regulations cannot be countenanced.

Under the Uniform Rules on Administrative Cases in the Civil Service, Violation of Reasonable Rules and
Regulations is a light offense punishable with the penalty of Reprimand for the first offense. Adopting the
recommendation of the OAS, we find that a stern warning against a repetition of the same or similar infraction is
proper since this is the first violation of respondent employees, except for Azurin,

II. Sevilla is not guilty of Violation of Reasonable Office Rules and Regulation

Insofar as Sevilla is concerned, the OAS stated:

On the other hand, we also treat the case of Ms. Sevilla differently from the others. Ms. Sevilla used her old ID
alternately with her new ID that was why there were no entries if the old ID was used. Her DTRS, particularly for
the months of May and June were completely without entries while the rest lacked entries on various dates as
reflected on the Memorandum of this Office. Based on her own admission, she has two (2) IDs. Nevertheless, one
was allegedly lost so she requested for a replacement. After a while, the alleged lost ID was found but she never
presented nor informed this Office about it.

This Office verified with the MISO whether her DTRs on the reported dates she allegedly failed to swipe have
generated data thereon. Consistent with her claim, it was confirmed that her DTRs reflected regular attendance
which also showed her being punctual.[11] mphasis supplied)

The OAS recommended that Sevilla be sternly warned for Violation of Reasonable Office Rules and Regulations for
maintaining and using two (2) ID cards within the period from January to June 2005. We disagree with the
recommendation of the OAS considering that the OAS failed to cite any specific office rule or regulation which
Sevilla allegedly violated. It must be pointed out that Sevilla was charged with Violation of Reasonable Office Rules
and Regulations for failure to register in the CTRM. Since the OAS confirmed that she indeed swiped her ID card,
albeit the old one, on those dates specified in the Memorandum, Sevilla cannot be found guilty of failing to
register in the CTRM. In fact, the OAS even found, upon verification with the MISO, that Sevillas DTRs reflected
regular attendance which also showed her being punctual. Nevertheless, Sevilla must immediately cease using

her old ID card, and instead use her new ID card exclusively in registering in the CTRM to avoid any confusion
regarding her attendance and time of arrival and departure in the office.

III. Azurin is guilty of dishonesty

In Azurins case, the OAS found that his omission to register in the CTRM constitutes dishonesty. The OAS stated:

x x x Azurin deliberately did not swipe on the aforementioned dates and made it appear on the said dates that he
reported on time to escape administrative liability for habitual tardiness for the 3rd time which is already
punishable with the penalty of dismissal. The RATs he submitted x x x have raised doubts on the correctness of his
entries thereon. It is noted that almost all his time-ins were not entered in accordance with the chronological
order of time reflective of correct and true arrival in office. Logically, it can be deduced that his failure to swipe
was to cover-up the actual time of his arrival to his workstation.[12]

The records reveal that Azurin has previously been suspended twice for habitual tardiness. In 2001, Azurin was
suspended for one month and then for three months for having been found habitually tardy for 1999 and 2000,
and for the first semester of 2001.

In his Comment, Azurin did not specifically deny that he failed to swipe his ID in the CTRM. Instead, he blamed the
CTRM for not registering his entries thereon, and added that such problem might also be caused by his ID. In
Esmerio and Ting,[13] where the employees similarly blamed the CTRM and their ID cards for their infraction, the
Court disbelieved such justification, thus:

More importantly, the respondents have asserted that the machines and their bar coded IDs are partly to blame
for their failure to swipe their ID cards. This assertion, however, is belied by the report of Atty. Ivan Uy, Chief of the
Supreme Court Management Information Systems Office. In his report, Atty. Uy avowed that, contrary to the
claims of the respondents, the machines were working properly during the date and time of the incidents subject
of the cases at bar. His report was backed up by verifiable evidence as well as the expertise of the division.
Machines, unlike humans have no self-interest to protect. Hence, the data collected from them deserve great
weight.

Besides, if, as claimed by the respondents, the Chronolog Time Recorder Machine truly refused to record their IDs
bar codes, repeatedly, then they should have had them replaced at the soonest possible time or at the very least,
complained about them to the MISO or, again, had their supervisor countersign their logbook entries. Respondents
did nothing to rectify the matter until they were made to explain their delinquency.

The respondents made use of the alleged failure of their ID cards and the Chronolog Time Recorder machines as
their proverbial scapegoat. Instead of being their salvation, said objects only proved the respondents propensity
or disposition to lie.

In fine, respondents conducts clearly show lack of forthrightness and straightforwardness in their dealings with
the Court amounting to dishonesty. x x x.[14]

In Azurins case, which is essentially identical to the case of Esmerio and Ting,[15] there is substantial evidence that
he intentionally did not register in the CTRM to conceal his tardiness to avoid dismissal from service. First, Azurin
did not deny that he failed to swipe his ID in the CTRM on the dates mentioned in the Memorandum. Second, the
correctness of the entries in the RATs he presented is doubtful since the times of his arrival were not entered in
accordance with the chronological order of time. Third, there is no proof that the CTRM malfunctioned on those
dates specified in the Memorandum.

Azurins act of deliberately not registering in the CTRM to hide his habitual tardiness for the third time, which is
punishable by dismissal, constitutes dishonesty. Dishonesty refers to a persons disposition to lie, cheat, deceive,
or defraud; untrustworthiness; lack of integrity; lack of honesty, probity or integrity in principle; lack of fairness
and straightforwardness; disposition to defraud, deceive or betray.*16+ By repeatedly making it appear that he
has consistently rendered a full days service, when he had actually been tardy, Azurin defrauded the public and
betrayed the trust reposed in him as an employee of the highest Court. Azurins dishonesty definitely falls short of
the strict standards required of every court employee, that is, to be an example of integrity, uprightness and
honesty.[17] Once again, we remind every Court employee that their conduct should, at all times, be geared
towards maintaining the prestige and integrity of the Court,[18] for the image of this Court is mirrored in the
conduct, not only of the Justices, but of every man and woman working thereat.[19]

Rule IV of CSC Memorandum Circular No. 19-99 provides:

Section 52. Classification of Offenses. -- Administrative offenses with corresponding penalties are classified into
grave, less grave, or light, depending on their gravity or depravity and effects on the government service.

A. The following are grave offenses with their corresponding penalties:

1. Dishonesty

1st offense Dismissal

Hence, dishonesty, being a grave offense, warrants the harshest penalty of dismissal from service, even upon the
commission of only the first offense.

However, Section 53, Rule IV of the Revised Uniform Rules on Administrative Cases in the Civil Service,[20] grants
the disciplining authority the discretion to consider mitigating circumstances in the imposition of the proper
penalty. As recommended by Edwin B. Andrada, Officer-in-Charge, OAS,[21] and consistent with jurisprudence,[22]
we consider as mitigating circumstances Azurins length of service in the Court, pleas for compassion, and firm
resolve to be more cautious in the performance of his duties and responsibilities. Accordingly, we impose upon
Azurin the penalty of suspension of six (6) months with a warning that a repetition of the same or similar act in the
future shall be dealt with more severely.

WHEREFORE, we find Noemi B. Adriano, Dennis Russell D. Baldago, Edilberto A. Davis, Atty. Catherine Joy T.
Comandante, Jonathan Riche G. Mozar, Mariles M. Sales, Virginia B. Ciudadano, Pia Claire C. Bernal, Teresita M.
Anion, Honradez M. Sanchez, Samuel R. Ruez, Jr., Arturo G. Ramos, Zosimo D. Labro, Jr., GUILTY of Violation of
Reasonable Office Rules and Regulations and STERNLY WARN them that a repetition of similar acts in the future
shall be dealt with more severely.

We find Ariel Conrad A. Azurin GUILTY of Dishonesty and SUSPEND him for six (6) months without pay, effective
immediately, with a STERN WARNING that a repetition of the same or similar act in the future shall be dealt with
more severely.

We ABSOLVE Leonarda Jazmin M. Sevilla from the charge of Violation of Reasonable Office Rules and Regulations.

SO ORDERED.

5.A.M. No. P-07-2292. September 28, 2010


Re: Complaint of the Civil Service Commission Vs. Rita S. Chulyao
FACTS AND ISSUES:
Before us is an administrative complaint against Rita S. Chulyao, Clerk of Court II of the Municipal Circuit Trial Court
(MCTC) of Barlig, Mountain Province, for Dishonesty.

The facts, as culled from the records, are as follows:


On December 9, 2004, the Civil Service Commission (CSC)-Examination Division received an Anonymous Complaint,
which alleged an examination irregularity involving Rita S. Chulyao (Chulyao), Clerk of Court II, MCTC of Barlig,
Mountain Province. The complaint averred that Chulyao employed her sister, Raquel S. Pangowon (Pangowon), a
school teacher of Barlig National High School, to take for and in her behalf the July 31, 1988 Career Service
Professional Examination (CSPE) conducted in Baguio City.
Upon verification from the examination records of the CSC-Region 1 and CSC-Integrated Records Management
Office, it appeared that one Rita S. Chulyao actually took the CSPE on July 31, 1988 in Baguio City.
Upon further verification from the Office of the Court Administrator (OCA), Supreme Court, it revealed that per
employment records of Chulyao, she passed the CSPE held in Baguio City on July 31, 1988 with a rating of 72%.
Thus, for purposes of comparison, the employment records of Pangowon were requested from the CSC-Cordillera
Administrative Region (CSC-CAR), Mountain Province Field Office. From Pangowon's personal data sheets, it was
found that the picture attached therein was that of the same person who took the CSPE on July 31, 1988 based on
the picture attached in the picture seat plan. These gave the impression that the actual person who took the CSPE
was Raquel Pangowon instead of the supposed examinee Rita Chulyao.
Subsequently, the CSC directed both Chulyao and Pangowon to submit their Comments on the complaint.
Chulyao moved for the summary dismissal of the complaint and manifested that the same was filed by scrupulous
people motivated by revenge and envy.
In an Order dated February 15, 2005, Chulyao and Pangowon were directed to appear before the CSC-CAR for
preliminary investigation on March 3, 2005. Both respondents failed to appear.
Again, in an Order dated July 21, 2005, Pangowon was directed to appear before the CSC-CAR for preliminary
investigation. By special appearance, Pangowon appeared for preliminary investigation on September 6, 2005.
Chulyao, on the other hand, was again directed to appear for a preliminary investigation on August 29, 2005.
However, despite notice, Chulyao failed to show up.
Subsequently, the CSC-CAR issued a formal charge against Pangowon for Dishonesty, Falsification of Official
Documents and Conduct Prejudicial to the Best Interest of the Service for applying and taking the July 31, 1988
CSPE for and in behalf of her sister, Rita S. Chulyao.1
However, the CSC-CAR, in Decision No. CAR-06-057DC, dated May 4, 2006, the complaint against Chulyao was
dismissed for lack of jurisdiction since the latter is a court employee.2
On June 14, 2006, the Decision of the CSC-CAR, dated May 4, 2006, was forwarded to the OCA for proper action.

On June 23, 2006, the OCA directed Chulyao to submit her Comment on the CSC-CAR Decision against her.3
In her Comment4 dated July 14, 2006, Chulyao denied anew the allegations contained in the CSC Decision. She
denied that she committed any examination irregularity in the CSPE conducted in Baguio City on July 31, 1988. She
narrated that the week before she went to Baguio City for the examination, her sister, Pangowon, gave her certain

photo negatives for developing. On July 30, 1988, Chulyao narrated that she and her townmates who are taking
the CSC examinations arrived in Baguio City late in the afternoon. Since she was not familiar with the place, she
asked her sister-in-law to go to the photo studio to have her photo negative, as well as that of her sister's,
developed. Her sister-in-law told her that the photos will be claimed the following day.
In the early morning of July 31, 1988, she and her sister-in-law went to the photo studio to claim the photos, but
the studio was still closed. Chulyao claimed that they were able to redeem the photos only after 8:00 a.m. and she
was already late for the examination. She said that because she was already late, the proctor assisted her and
asked for her identification (I.D.) picture for the seat plan. Chulyao further claimed that she took the I.D. picture
from the small envelope and gave it to the proctor. Later, after a week or two, Chulyao alleged that she received a
note from her sister inquiring about the photos she asked her to have developed. Chulyao claimed that she
counted her I.D. pictures and there were six (6) copies, while the number of copies her sister had was only five
instead of six. She said that she was alarmed about what happened, but she never had the courage to report the
same to the CSC.5
On December 6, 2006, the OCA recommended to this Court the re-docketing of the complaint against Chulyao as a
regular administrative matter. It also found Chulyao guilty of dishonesty, thus, recommended that Chulyao be
dismissed from service.6
On January 30, 2007, the Court resolved to re-docket the subject complaint as A.M. No. P-07-2292 (Civil Service
Commission, C.A.R., Baguio City v. Rita S. Chulyao, Clerk of Court II, Municipal Circuit Trial Court, Barlig, Mountain
Province) and further required Chulyao to file her Comment thereon.7
In her Comment8 dated March 27, 2007, Chulyao, as in her previous Comment, reiterated that the irregularity
were merely due to inadvertence when she submitted her sister's photo instead of her's to the proctor during the
CSPE. She claimed to be unaware that the photo she gave was that of her sister's.
Chulyao refuted the allegation that it was her sister, Pangowon, who took the examination for and in her behalf on
July 31, 1988 by reasoning that her sister was in Kadaclan, Barlig, Mountain Province, as it was planting season at
that time in their ricefield, and she was also working there as a teacher. She claimed that they are look-alikes and
that they have the same facial features which she insinuated where the confusion started. She submitted the
Affidavit of one Diosdado F. Foyagan,9 her seatmate at the time of the examination, who attested that he saw
Chulyao inside the examination room on July 31, 1988. Chulyao also submitted a document showing that her sister
was never absent in her class during said date, thus, she claimed that it was impossible for her sister to be in
Baguio City, since it will take two to three days to travel from Barlig to Baguio City and vice- versa. Likewise,
Chulyao submitted the Personal Data Sheet of Pangowon to prove that she never took the Civil Service
Examination on July 31, 1988.
On June 17, 2008, the Court referred the instant matter to the OCA for evaluation, report and recommendation.
Meanwhile, on July 7, 2008, the CSC, in Resolution No. 081285,10 affirmed the dismissal of Raquel S. Pangowon
from service for Dishonesty, Falsification of Official Documents and Conduct Prejudicial to the Best Interest of the
Service.
In compliance, on July 22, 2009, in a Memorandum to Chief Justice Reynato S. Puno, the OCA recommended that
Chulyao be dismissed from service having found to be guilty of Dishonesty.

In its Report, the OCA, adopting the CSC findings, noted that indeed the photo appearing on the picture seat plan
over the name and signature of Chulyao was that of her sister, Pangowon. Chulyao even categorically admitted this
fact, but denied it was intentional. Likewise, it also found substantial dissimilarity between the signature appearing
in Chulyao's personal data sheet and the signature appearing on the picture seat plan. The OCA noted that while
Chulyao insisted that the name and signature appearing below the alleged photo of Raquel Pangowon was hers
and not of Raquel Pangowon, she, however, failed to present any evidence to prove that the signature appearing
on the picture seat plan was really her own. Thus, the OCA concluded that the unexplained discrepancy which is
clear to the naked eye is proof enough that indeed another person took the examination for and in behalf of
Chulyao.
The OCA gave no credence to the documents submitted by Chulyao to prove that her sister was never absent from
her classes; thus, she cannot be the one who took the examination. The document presented was merely
Pangowon's service record which does not contain any specific log of Pangowon's daily time-in and time-out. The
document, therefore, cannot prove that Pangowon was not in Baguio City on July 31, 1988. Likewise, the Affidavit
of Foyagan was given scant consideration, since the affidavit was found to be lacking the requisite community tax
certificate number and its place and date of issue. Hence, the identity of Foyagan was questionable.
Over-all, the OCA found Chulyao's defense as merely an alibi unsubstantiated by clear and convincing evidence of
non-culpability.
RULING:
We adopt the recommendation of the OCA.
Dishonesty is defined as "intentionally making a false statement in any material fact, or practicing or attempting to
practice any deception of fraud in securing his examination, registration, appointment or promotion." It is also
understood to imply a "disposition to lie, cheat, deceive, or defraud; unworthiness; lack of integrity; lack of
honesty, probity or integrity in principle; lack of fairness and straightforwardness; disposition to defraud, deceive
or betray.11

In the instant case, respondent Chulyao would like us to believe that she is not liable for dishonesty as the alleged
irregularities imputed against her occurred due to mere inadvertence or negligence; thus, in effect raising good
faith as her defense for the discrepancies discovered during the CSPE on July 31, 1988.
The evidence on record, however, is overwhelming to support the findings that Chulyao employed her sister,
Pangowon, to take the July 31, 1988 CSPE conducted in Baguio City for her and in her behalf and claimed the result
thereof as her own in her personal data sheet accomplished on April 23, 2007.
As observed by the CSC, there was a significant difference in the signature of the examinee Chulyao and that of the
true Rita Chulyao. It noted that the true Rita Chulyao spells vividly the letter R and the letter S overlapping each
other, while the examinee Rita Chulyao was not able to spell these letters as vividly and vibrantly as that of the
true Rita Chulyao. The CSC added that despite the obvious effort on the part of the examinee Rita Chulyao to
imitate the signature of the true Rita Chulyao, the former failed to successfully reproduce a signature as that of the
true Rita Chulyao. The difference in the loops, lines, slant, pressure, fineness, contours and style revealed that the
signatures belong to two different persons.

The improbability of Chulyao's claim that the irregularity was due to mere inadvertence when she gave the picture
of her sister instead of her own picture for the picture seat plan was clearly explained by the CSC.
The CSC ratiocinated, and we quote:
The CSC has devised methods and strategies in the conduct of any civil service exam to ensure the integrity of the
civil service examination. The procedure in taking any civil service exam is very rigid, stiff and taut. With the well
established procedure in administering the Civil Service Exams, it could not and never happen that the I.D. Picture
of another person be pasted in the picture seat plan instead of the picture of the actual examinee. This is so
because before the I.D. Picture of the examinee is pasted in the seat plan, the proctor will validate if the I.D.
Picture submitted by the examinee is the examinee's picture. The proctor will see to it that the I.D. Picture being
submitted by the examinee is his or her own picture. After the I.D. is pasted, the examinee will be required to sign
below said I.D. and the signature is again validated by the proctor if the said signature is the same as the signature
appearing in the application form. Hence, it would be highly improbable that the I.D. picture of another person
would be pasted in the PSP.12
The CSC maintained that the person who actually took the examination was respondent's sister, Pangowon. The
existence of impersonation was all the more established when Chulyao in her comments admitted that the picture
appearing on the picture seat plan of the examination room was that of her sister's. The CSC stressed that the
impersonation started right from the time of the filling-up of the application form until the actual examination, it
was Chulyao's sister who performed all the acts of impersonation using the name of the person impersonated
Rita Chulyao. The truth was unveiled only when the result thereof was utilized by the respondent in her
employment in the government service. When Chulyao filled up her personal data sheet and attached her photo
thereon and eventually the picture in the personal data sheet was compared to the picture on the picture seat
plan, it was only then that the impersonation was discovered, because the person appearing on the picture seat
plan was different from the person whose picture was attached to the personal data sheet.
No amount of good faith can be attributed to Chulyao. Good faith necessitates honesty of intention, free from any
knowledge of circumstances that ought to have prompted him to undertake an inquiry.[13 Chulyao admitted that
she discovered after a week or two, from the day of examination, that she had given the picture of her sister to the
proctor on July 31, 1988 and yet she did not immediately report and correct said error. When the CSC called her
twice to appear before the investigation being conducted regarding the incident, Chulyao failed to appear. An
innocent person caught in a like situation would more likely immediately profess his innocence rather than evade
an investigation which could shed light on the controversy. A truly innocent person would normally grasp the first
available opportunity to defend himself and assert his innocence.14 Thus, Chulyao's protestation of good faith and
inadvertence are too incredible to be given weight. To our mind, Chulyao acted with malicious intent to perpetrate
a fraud.1avvphi1
Furthermore, it has been a settled rule in this jurisdiction that the duly accomplished form of the Civil Service is an
official document of the Commission, which, by its very nature is considered in the same category as that of a
public document, admissible in evidence without need of further proof. As an official document, the
contents/entries therein made in the course of official duty are prima facie evidence of the facts stated therein.15
Indeed, Chulyao's act of using for her benefit the fake or spurious civil service eligibility not only amounted to
violation of the Civil Service Examinations, but it also resulted to the prejudice of the government and the public in
general. Under the Qualification Standards (QS) of the Civil Service Commission, the eligibility needed for the
position of Clerk of Court II is Career Service (Professional) Second Level Eligibility. Thus, it is clear that Chulyao was

able to get her appointment as Clerk of Court II at the MCTC, Barlig, Mountain Province, by using the obtained
result of the July 31, 1988 Career Service Professional Eligibility Examination.
The Court cannot turn a blind eye to what are clearly transgressions of the law. Dishonesty and falsification are
malevolent acts that have no place in the Judiciary. Under Section 52, Rule XIV of the Omnibus Rules Implementing
Book V of Executive Order No. 292 and Other Pertinent Civil Service Laws, dishonesty is considered a grave offense
punishable by dismissal even for the first offense.
Assumption of public office is impressed with the paramount public interest that requires the highest standards of
ethical conduct. A person aspiring for public office must observe honesty, candor, and faithful compliance with the
law. Nothing less is expected.

6.

A.M. No. MTJ-09-1745. September 28, 2010

Office of the Court Adminsitrator Vs. Hon. Leodegario C. Quilatan, former Judge, Metropolitan Trial Court, Branch
57, San Juan City
Facts: This refers to the Memorandum Report dated September 22, 2009 of the Office of the Court Administrator
(OCA) in connection with the request of former Judge Leodegario C. Quilatan, Metropolitan Trial Court (MeTC),
Branch 57, San Juan City, Metro Manila, for certificate of clearance in support of his application for compulsory
retirement benefits under Republic Act No. 910,1 as amended, effective July 21, 2003. Acting on the said
recommendation, the Court, in a Resolution dated October 6, 2009, re-docketed the case as a regular
administrative matter and required Judge Quilatan to manifest whether he would submit the case for resolution
based on the pleadings filed. Judge Quilatan failed to file a manifestation; thus, he is deemed to have waived the
filing of his manifestation. No less than the 1987 Constitution, specifically Section 15(1), Article VIII, mandates
lower courts to decide or resolve all cases or matters within three (3) months from their date of submission. In
relation to this mandate, the Code of Judicial Conduct directs judges to dispose of their business promptly and
decide cases within the required period. The Court, in Administrative Circular No. 3-99 dated January 15, 1999,
likewise requires judges to scrupulously observe the periods provided in the Constitution. Failure to decide cases
within the reglementary period, without strong and justifiable reason, constitutes gross inefficiency warranting the
imposition of an administrative sanction on the defaulting judge. We have repeatedly emphasized the need for
judges to resolve their cases with dispatch.8 Delay does not only constitute a serious violation of the parties
constitutional right to speedy disposition of cases, it also erodes the faith and confidence of the people in the
judiciary, lowers its standards, and brings it into disrepute.
Issue: Whether or not respondent is guilty of gross inefficiency
Held: Under the Revised Rules of Court, undue delay in rendering a decision is a less serious offense punishable by
suspension from office without salary and other benefits for not less than one (1) month nor more than three (3)
months, or a fine of more than PhP 10,000 but not exceeding PhP 20,000. the OCA called our attention to the
Resolution dated April 28, 2009 in A.M. No. 09-4-175-RTC (Re: Cases Submitted for Decision Before Hon. Bayani
Isamu Y. Ilano, Former Judge, Regional Trial Court, Branch 71, Antipolo City), wherein we imposed a fine of PhP
50,000 for Judge Ilanos failure to decide within the reglementary period 34 cases submitted for decision prior to
his date of retirement. We imposed the same penalty in another case for the judges failure to decide 43
unexplained cases submitted for decision within the reglementary period.13 Since Judge Quilatan failed to decide
34 cases, a fine of PhP 50,000 is proper in line with prevailing jurisprudence.

WHEREFORE, the Court adjudges Judge Leodegario C. Quilatan, MeTC, Branch 57, San Juan City, Metro Manila,
GUILTY of gross inefficiency. He is hereby meted the penalty of FINE in the amount of PhP 50,000 to be deducted
from his retirement/gratuity benefits.

7.

A.M. No. RTJ-10-2248. September 29, 2010

Judge Adoracion G. Angeles Vs. Judge Maria Elisa Sempio Diy


FACTS:
This is an administrative complaint for disbarment and dismissal from judiciary service filed by complainant Judge
Adoracion G. Angeles (Judge Angeles) against respondent Hon. Maria Elisa Sempio Diy (Judge Sempio Diy),
Presiding Judge of the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City, Branch 225, which stemmed from consolidated Criminal
Case Nos. Q-95-61294 and Q-95-62690 entitled "People of the Philippines v. Proclyn Pacay" and "People of the
Philippines v. P/Insp. Roberto Ganias, " respectively.

Judge Angeles charges respondent Judge Sempio Diy with Violations of Section 15 (1), Article VIII of the 1987
Constitution; Section 2, Canon 2 and Section 5 Canon 6 of the New Code of Judicial Conduct for the Philippine
Judiciary; Rule 1.01 and 1.02, Canon 1 and Rule 3.05, Canon 3 of the Code of Judicial Conduct; Number 6 of the
Code of Judicial Ethics; Rule 1.01, Canon 1 of the Code of Professional Responsibility; Section 4 paragraph b of
Republic Act No. 6713 of the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees;
Falsification of Official Documents; and Dishonesty. Complainant urges the Office of the Court Administrator (OCA)
to examine the numerous violations allegedly committed by the respondent and to make an assessment if, indeed,
she is still worthy to wear the judicial robe or, if her continued presence on the bench would unduly tarnish the
image of the judiciary.

ISSUES:
WHETHER OR NOT Judge Maria Elisa Sempio Diy is found to have been in delay in the rendition of an order in
Criminal Case Nos. Q-95-61294 and Q-95-62690.
RULING:
The physical inventory of cases is instrumental to the expeditious dispensation of justice. Although this
responsibility primarily rests in the presiding judge, it is shared with the court staff. This Court has consistently
required Judges for a "continuous inventory of cases on a monthly basis so that a trial judge is aware of the status
of each case. With the assistance of the branch clerk of court, a checklist should be prepared indicating the steps
to be taken to keep the cases moving. In Juan v. Arias [72 SCRA 404 (1976)], the Court underscored the importance
of this physical inventory stressing "it is only by this that the judge can keep himself abreast of the status of the
pending cases and informed that everything is in order in his court."

Pursuant to A.M. No. 02-9-02-SC,19 this administrative case against respondent shall also be considered a
disciplinary proceeding against her as a member of the bar.20 Violation of the basic tenets of judicial conduct
embodied in the New Code of Judicial Conduct for the Philippine Judiciary and the Code of Judicial Conduct
constitutes a breach of Canons 121 and 1222 as well as Rules 1.0323 and 12.0424 of the Code of Professional
Responsibility.
In determining the sanction to be imposed on errant magistrates, the Court considers the factual milieu of each
case, the offending acts or omissions of the judges, as well as previous transgressions, if any. In the instant case,
there is no evidence to show any dubious reason or improper motive that could have compelled respondent to
delay the resolution of the subject motion. In fact, when respondent found out about the unresolved subject
motion in the consolidated cases, she immediately ordered its
submission for resolution on July 30, 2009. In the absence of malice, the delay could only be due to inadvertence.
It is significant to note that respondent resolved the motion within thirty days from its submission date which
clearly showed her effort to zealously attend to her duties. Lastly, it appears that this is her first infraction and the
first time for her to face an administrative complaint of this kind.
Under Section 9, Rule 140 of the Rules of Court, undue delay in rendering a decision or order constitutes a less
serious charge punishable by either suspension from office without salary and other benefits for not less than one
month nor more than three months or a fine of not more than P10,000.00 but not exceeding P20,000.00.
However, considering that this is her first infraction due to inadvertence, We believe that admonition will suffice.
WHEREFORE, respondent Judge Maria Elisa Sempio Diy is found to have been in delay in the rendition of an order
in Criminal Case Nos. Q-95-61294 and Q-95-62690 and is hereby ADMONISHED to be more circumspect in
observing the reglementary period for disposing of motions.
SO ORDERED.

8.

A.M. No. P-08-2487/A.M. No. P-08-2493. September 29, 2010

Tanching L. Wee, etc., et al. Vs. Virgilio T. Bunao, Jr., etc / Virgilio T. Bunao, Jr., etc. Vs. Tanching L. wee, etc.
FACTS:
The memorandum from the OCA narrated the facts as follows:

In the Joint Affidavit-Complaint dated August 31, 2007, Spouses Tanching L. Wee, Sheriff IV, Regional Trial Court,
Branch 32, Cabarroguis, Quirino, and Nelita G. Wee, charged Virgilio T. Bunao, Jr., Interpreter III, Regional Trial
Court, Branch 31, same place, with Misconduct and/or Conduct Unbecoming a Court Employee and/or Violation of
RA 6713 relative to the incident which transpired inside the courtroom of RTC, Branch 31 on August 7, 2007.

Sheriff Wee was the private complainant in Criminal Case No. 1395 filed before the RTC, Branch 31, Cabarroguis,
Quirino. In a hearing in the criminal case on July 3, 2007, Mrs. Wee testified as a witness in favor of her husband.
On August 7, 2007, Mrs. Wee was scheduled to be placed on the witness stand for cross-examination but before

the start of the court session, the spouses conferred with Assistant Prosecutor Alfredo A. Balajo, Jr. for rectification
of an error in the Transcript of Stenographic Notes (TSN) taken during her direct testimony. Allegedly, Mrs. Wees
answer No. 7 in page 3 of the transcript should be "No" instead of "Yes."

Interpreter Bunao, Jr., who was then listening to the conversation, intervened and insisted that the answer is,
"Yes." Mrs. Wee claimed that it was herself who gave the testimony and she did not answer that way. Interpreter
Bunao, Jr. however retorted, "HUSTO DAYTA, ISU TI NANGGEG KO (THAT IS CORRECT, THAT IS WHAT I HEARD)." At
this point, Sheriff Wee quipped, "APAY PAKIALAM MO TOY KASOK, INTERPRETER KA LANG (WHY MEDDLE IN MY
CASE, YOURE JUST AN INTERPRETER)." Interpreter Bunao, Jr. insisted that he is the interpreter and he knows all.
Sheriff Wee replied, "INTERPRETER KA LANG GAGO (YOURE JUST AN INTERPRETER, STUPID)!," to which the other
replied, "BOBO KA MET INTERPRETERAK DITOY NGA KORTE (YOURE DAMN *sic+, I AM THE INTERPRETER IN THIS
COURT)!"

In his Comment dated November 19, 2007, Interpreter Bunao, Jr. denied the accusations of Spouses Wee. He
alleged that at about 8:30 in the morning of August 7, 2007, Mrs. Wee came to their office and asked Court
Stenographer Luhlu Bugawan to change the formers answer from "YES" to "NO." After checking her stenographic
notes and consulting with Stenographer Lilia Casuple, Stenographer Bugawan informed Mrs. Wee that the latters
answer was indeed "YES." Interpreter Bunao, Jr. likewise claimed that what he heard was "YES" which irked Mrs.
Wee.

At around 9 oclock of the same morning, while Interpreter Bunao, Jr. was waiting for the court session to begin
and having a conversation with Assistant Prosecutor Balajo, Jr., Sheriff Wee interrupted them. The sheriff told
Assistant [Prosecutor] Balajo, Jr. of the alleged error in the TSN. When Interpreter Bunao, Jr. informed the sheriff
of what he heard during the hearing, the the latter went berserk and said, "OKINNAM, INTERPRETER KA LANG,
ANIA COMA TI PAKIALAM MO DITOY A KASOK (CUNT OF YOUR MOTHER, YOU ARE JUST AN INTERPRETER, YOU
HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH MY CASE)." Sheriff Wee tried to attack Interpreter Bunao, Jr. but the former was
restrained by his wife.

In the Administrative Complaint dated August 13, 2007 filed by Interpreter Bunao, Jr. against Sheriff Wee and the
latters Comment dated September 17, 2007, the parties basically stated similar allegations and denials.1

Bunao filed a Complaint2 dated 13 August 2007 before the the OCA. Then Court Administrator Christopher Lock
(CA Lock) directed Wee to file his comment within ten days from receipt of the indorsement from the OCA. The
OCA did not receive any comment from Wee, so the OCA sent a first tracer to Wee dated 8 November 2007 and
again asked him to file his comment. Wee responded3 to the first tracer and stated that he mailed his comment to
the OCA on 18 September 2007. Wee sent two more copies of his comment to the OCA.

For his part, Wee sent a sworn complaint4 to the OCA on 13 August 2007. In a letter5 dated 10 October 2007, CA
Lock returned Wees complaint for failure to attach the affidavits of persons who have personal knowledge of the
facts alleged in the complaint or the documents which substantiate the allegations in the complaint, as required by
the Uniform Rules on Administrative Cases in the Civil Service. CA Lock directed Wee to comply with the rule
within ten days from receipt of the letter to warrant appropriate action. Wee, along with his wife Nelita, sent a
Joint Affidavit-Complaint6 to the OCA on 7 September 2007. The OCA required Bunao to file his Comment.
ISSUES:
Whether or Not Wee and Bunao should be penalized for their simple misconduct
RULING:
This Court cannot tolerate such misconduct on the part of its employees. The reported exchanges between Bunao
and Wee in the court premises, and in the presence of Judge Mendrado V. Corpuz and Assistant Prosecutor
Alfredo A. Balajo, Jr., is disgraceful behavior. Shouting at each other within the court premises exhibits discourtesy
and disrespect not only towards co-workers but to the court as well.15 The conduct and behavior of every official
and employee of an agency involved in the administration of justice, from the presiding judge to the most junior
clerk, should be circumscribed with the heavy burden of responsibility. Their conduct must at all times be
characterized by strict propriety and decorum so as to earn and keep the publics respect for the judiciary.16 Any
fighting or misunderstanding among court employees becomes a disgraceful sight reflecting adversely on the good
image of the judiciary. Professionalism, respect for the rights of others, good manners, and right conduct are
expected of all judicial officers and employees.17 This standard is applied with respect to a court employees
dealings not only with the public but also with his or her co-workers in the service. Conduct violative of this
standard quickly and surely corrodes respect for the courts.18
Simple misconduct is a less grave offense which carries the penalty of Suspension for one month and one day to six
months for the first offense and the penalty of Dismissal for the second offense.19 Executive Judge Cacatians
report did not find any offensive conduct, and consequently did not prescribe any penalty. The OCA report,
however, found both Wee and Bunao liable for simple misconduct and recommended a penalty in the greater
interest of preserving the good image of the judiciary. The recommendation of the OCA is well-taken.
WHEREFORE, Tanching L. Wee, Sheriff IV, RTC, Branch 32, Cabarroguis, Quirino, and Virgilio T. Bunao, Jr., Court
Interpreter III, RTC, Branch 31, Cabarroguis, Quirino, are FINED P1,000 each for simple misconduct. Wee and
Bunao, Jr. are also REPRIMANDED, and are STERNLY WARNED, that a repetition of the same or similar offense in
the future shall be dealt with more severely.
SO ORDERED.

CASES FOR LEGAL ETHICS OCTOBER 2010

A.M. No. P-10-2860/ October 20, 2010


RENATO MIGUEL D. GARCIA,
Complainant,
- versus RICKY MONTEJAR, Sheriff, Regional Trial Court, Branch 64, Guihulngan, NegrosOriental,
Respondent.

FACTS:
The complainant accused respondent of committing irregularities in his official duties in the
implementation of the writ of execution in the six (6) civil cases where the complainant bank was the party plaintiff,
namely:

(1)

The respondent received the amount of P7,000.00 as sheriffs fee in the enforcement of the writ
of execution in Civil Case No. 352 without a court-approved estimate of expenses. He also failed
to attach receipts and/or documents to support his liquidation report on the money received

(2)

The respondent failed to submit the liquidation report on the expenses he incurred in the
implementation of the writs of execution in Civil Case No. 01-7-135 and Civil Case No. 375; and

(3)

The respondent failed to fully execute the writs of execution in Civil Case No. 01-7-135; Civil Case
No. 352; Civil Case No. 01-2-127; Civil Case No. 429 and Civil Case 426.

ISSUE: Whether or not, Ricky Montejar, in the latters capacity as Sheriff of the Regional Trial Court

HELD: The OCA found that the respondent violated the accepted procedure provided in Section 10, Rule
141 (Sheriffs, process servers and other persons serving processes) of the Rules of Court on sheriff expenses by
directly receiving sums of money from the complainant bank as sheriff expenses and by failing.We find the OCA
report and recommendation well-taken. We agree that under the circumstances the respondent is guilty of
simple misconduct. We modify the imposable penalty, however, as discussed below.

Section 10, Rule 141 of the Rules of Court, as amended reads:


Sec. 10. Sheriffs, process servers and other persons serving processes. With regard to sheriffs
expenses in executing writs issued pursuant to court orders or decisions or safeguarding the
property levied upon, attached or seized, including kilometrage for each kilometer of travel,
guards fees, warehousing and similar charges, the interested party shall pay said expenses in an
amount estimated by the sheriff, subject to the approval of the court. Upon approval of said
estimated expenses, the interested party shall deposit such amount with the clerk of court and
ex-officio sheriff, who shall disburse the same to the deputy sheriff assigned to effect the
process, subject to liquidation within the same period for rendering a return on the
process. The liquidation shall be approved by the court. Any unspent amount shall be refunded
to the party making the deposit. A full report shall be submitted by the deputy sheriff assigned
with his return, and the sheriffs expenses shall be taxed as costs against the judgment debtor.
to properly render and/or substantiate the liquidation reports.

A.M. No. P-07-2358


October 19, 2010
ISABEL D. MARQUEZ, Clerk of Court, Municipal
Trial Court, Caba, La Union,
Complainant,
versus
JOCELYN C. FERNANDEZ,
Stenographer, Municipal Trial Court, Caba, La
Union,
Respondent.

FACTS: Marquez alleged that Fernandezs daily time records (DTRs) from September to November 2004 showed
that she had incurred tardiness/undertime almost everyday. In a memorandum she issued on October 3, 2004,
Marquez asked Fernandez to explain her tardiness/undertimes. She answered she had health problems due to her
fractured arm.
Marquez sent Fernandez another memorandum dated November 2, 2004, but received no reply; a second
memorandum dated December 1, 2004 merited a reply where Fernandez again claimed that she was having health
problems.

Marquez found Fernandezs explanation unsatisfactory; he dismissed it as a half-truth that does not
justify her frequent tardiness/undertime as Fernandez looked strong and healthy. She claimed that Fernandez was
often seen roaming the courts premises and the municipal hall where their office is located.
Additionally, the clerk of court alleged that Fernandez incurred unauthorized absences for three months
or from September to November 2004.

ISSUE: whether or not Fernandez is liable for absenteeism and falsification of public document.
HELD:
Under Memorandum Circular No. 4, Series of 1991, of the Civil Service Commission, an
officer or employee in the civil service shall be considered habitually absent if he incurs
unauthorized absences exceeding the allowable 2.5 days monthly leave credits under the leave
law for at least three (3) months in a semester or at least three (3) consecutive months during
the year.
Clearly, respondent Fernandez had violated the rule on tardiness and absenteeism. As
held by the Court in A.M. No. 00-06-09-SC, moral obligation, performance of household chores,
traffic problems, health conditions, domestic and financial concerns are not sufficient reasons to
excuse habitual tardiness. By being habitually tardy, employees have fallen short of the stringent
standard of conduct demanded from everyone connected with the administration of justice. By
reason of the nature and functions of their office, officials and employees of the Judiciary must
be role models in the faithful observance of the constitutional canon that public office is a public
trust.

A.M. No. P-06-2287 : October 12, 2010


OFFICE OF THE COURT ADMINISTRATOR, Complainant,
VERSUS
. MARCELA V. SANTOS, CLERK OF COURT II, MUNICIPAL TRIAL COURT, SAN LEONARDO, NUEVA
ECIJA, Respondent.cralaw

FACTS:
Team of the Office of the Court Administrator (OCA) conducted an audit at the Office of the Clerk of Court (OCC),
Municipal Trial Court (MTC), San Leonardo, Nueva Ecija covering the accountability period from April 1, 1997 to
May 31, 2006 of Marcela V. Santos, Clerk of Court II.
the instant report as regular administrative complaint against Mrs. Marcela V. Santos, Clerk of Court II, Municipal
Trial Court, San Leonardo, Nueva Ecija
RESTITUTE the amount of P325,900.00 and P1,000.00 representing her balance of accountability for Fiduciary Fund
and Sheriff Trust Find/Process Servers Fee

WITHDRAW the interest earned on deposits of Fiduciary Fund in the total amount of P2,414.65, deposit the same
to the account of the JDF, and submit to the Fiscal Monitoring Division, Court Management Office, OCA, the
machine validated deposit slip relative.
SUBMIT to the Fiscal Monitoring Division, Court Management Office, OCA, the original copies of the 3 booklets of
unaccounted Official Receipts.
SUSPEND Clerk of Court Marcela V. Santos from the service pending resolution of the administrative matter.
In her March 7, 2007 explanation ,respondent stated.
With much apologies, the undersigned is very sorry for the problem of shortages and lost receipts. However, she is
not to be blamed in the incident because the same were brought about by the flood caused by numerous
typhoons that devastated their province in the year 1998 and 2004;
To prove and clear all her accountabilities, the undersigned will be
presentingdocuments, records and other evidence to give light to the shortages. However, if the same does not
satisfactorily cover the whole amount of P325,900.00 for Fiduciary Fund and P1,000.00 for Sheriff Trust
Fund/Process Servers Fee, she will pay the remaining shortages.

ISSUE: whether or not Marcela Santos can COMPLY with all court circulars and issuances in the proper handling of
Judiciary Funds.
HELD: the court ruled that the respondent is
1. REQUIRE respondent to MANIFEST to the Court whether she is willing to submit this matter for resolution on the
basis of the pleadings filed within ten (10) days from notice;
2. DIRECT Mrs. Marcela V. Santos to PRODUCE and PRESENT before the Fiscal Monitoring Division, Court
Management Office (CMO), OCA, within ten (10) days from notice: all the "documents, records and other
evidence" pertaining to her shortages on the Fiduciary Fund and Sheriff Trust Fund/Process Servers Fee, as well as
the evidence on the original copies of the three (3) booklets of unaccounted or missing Supreme Court Official
Receipts;
3. DIRECT the Fiscal Monitoring Division, CMO, OCA to REPORT to the Court, with the necessary
RECOMMENDATION, on respondent Santos presentation of evidence, stating clearly the resulting balance of her
accountabilities on the Fiduciary Fund and Sheriff Trust Fund/Process Servers Fee, should there still be any, and
her accountability on the missing official receipts, within fifteen (15) days after respondent Santos presentation of
evidence;
4. DIRECT Acting Collecting Officer Ms. Leonida A. Ladisla to:chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
(a) WITHDRAW the interest earned on deposits of Fiduciary Fund in the total amount of P2,414.65, DEPOSIT the
same to the account of the JDF, and SUBMIT to the Fiscal Monitoring Division, Court Management Office, OCA, the
corresponding machine validated deposit slip, within ten (10) days from notice; and
(b) STRICTLY COMPLY with all court circulars and issuances in the proper handling of Judiciary Funds; and

5. DIRECT Hon. Rixon M. Garong, Presiding Judge, to study and implement procedures that will strengthen the
internal control over the cash transactions of the court.(emphasis in the original)

A.M. No. P-09-2735 : October 12, 2010


LEVI M. ARGOSO, Complainant,
versus
. ACHILLES ANDREW REGALADO II, Sheriff IV, Regional Trial Court, Office of the Clerk of Court, Naga
City, Respondent

FACTS:
On April 2, 2007, Levi M. Argoso wrote a letter to the Court Administrator asking that Sheriff IV Achilles Andrew V.
Regalado II be held administratively liable for acts unbecoming a sheriff.
Regalado was the sheriff tasked to serve the writ of execution for the return of a land title in Civil Case No. RTC-912454 entitled "Re: Heirs of Adelaida Vicente-Argoso v. Development Bank of the Philippines, et al." In his letter,
Argoso recounted several incidents when Regalado asked him for money, allegedly for travel in connection with
the case, and, at other times, for drinks and "pulutan" for Regalados friends:cha
Branch (DBP-Daet);
2. December 2006 P800.00 for travel to DBP-Daet;
3. February 7, 2007 P740.00 for drinks and "pulutan." Argoso gave him Land Bank of the Philippines check no.
179739;
4. March 9, 2007 P300.00 for drinks and "pulutan."
cha Regalado denied these allegations in his commentcra1aw and asserted that he never extorted money from
Argoso.
Upon the recommendation of the Office of the Court Administrator (OCA), we referred the matter to the Naga City
Regional Trial Court (RTC) executive judge for investigation, report and recommendation.chanroblesvirt

The OCA reported the following findings cra1aw of the Naga City RTC executive judge: chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
1. Argoso died on January 12, 2008, but the investigating judge continued his investigation to gather additional
information;
2. A writ of execution was issued in Civil Case No. 91-2454 that was assigned to sheriff Regalado for
implementation;

3. Regalado admitted that he received money from Argoso that he used for his travel to DBP-Daet;
4. The DBP-Daet bank manager confirmed that Regalado went to the bank to secure a copy of the owners
duplicate copy of OCT No. 6297 as directed in the writ of execution. Regalados evidence proved that he went to
DBP-Daet thrice.
5. Regalado did not prepare any estimated sheriffs expense duly approved by the judge, allegedly upon Argosos
wish, as it would unduly delay the withdrawal of money from the Office of the Clerk of Court; and
7

6. Regalado violated Supreme Court Administrative Circular No. 35-04 dated August 12, 2004, cra1awprescribing
the procedure for the payment of expenses that might be incurred in implementing the writ. The investigating
judge recommended that Regalado be strongly admonished, with a warning that the commission of the same or
similar act shall be dealt with more severely.

ISSUE: whether or not Andrew Regalado guilty of serious violation of existing rules that the OCA classified as a less
grave offense under Rule IV of the Uniform Rules on Administrative Cases in the Civil Service.

HELD:
This case filed by Argoso against Regalado, also involves money received by Regalado from an interested party to
implement a writ of execution. Regalado should not have received money from Argoso for his transportation to
Daet, without previously submitting his expenses for the courts approval. Regalados admission that he received
money without complying with the proper procedure in enforcing writs of execution, made him guilty of conduct
prejudicial to the best interest of the service.
Section 52(A)(20) of the Revised Uniform Rules on Administrative Cases classifies conduct prejudicial to the best
interest of the service as a grave offense, punishable by suspension of six months and one day to one year for the
first offense, and by dismissal for the second offense. This is Regalados second administrative case for failing to
follow the proper procedure in enforcing writs of execution; this metes him the penalty of dismissal from the
service.
WHEREFORE, premises considered, Achilles Andrew V. Regalado II is found guilty, for the second time, of the grave
offense of conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service and is, accordingly, DISMISSED from the service,
with prejudice to re-employment in any branch, agency, or instrumentality of the government, including
government-owned and controlled corporations.

A.M. No. MTJ-09-1738/ October 6, 2010


CIRILA S. RAYMUNDO,
Complainant
Versus
JUDGE TERESITO A. ANDOY, Municipal Trial Court (MTC), Cainta, Rizal,

FACTS: the complainant alleged that sometime in 2000, she filed six counts of violation of Batas Pambansa
Bilang 22 (B.P. Blg. 22) against Hermelinda Chang (accused) before the Municipal Trial Court (MTC) of Cainta, Rizal.
The respondent judge presided over the court.
The trial of the cases ended on August 4, 2004 after the respondent judge declare that the accused had waived her
rights to present further evidence for repeated failure to appear in court despite due notice. On September 2,
2004, the complainant received a notice from the MTC, setting the cases for trial anew on November 17, 2004. The
date was later moved to December 20, 2004.

On December 20, 2004, the accused and her counsel again failed to appear in court, prompting the private
prosecutor to move for the reinstatement of the MTCs August 4, 2004 order. The respondent judge granted the
motion and declared the cases submitted for decision. The accused moved to reconsider this order; the MTC
granted the motion in its order of February 9, 2005. Accordingly, the cases were again set for hearing on October
12, 2005.

On October 12, 2005, the accused and her counsel again failed to appear in court despite due notice. The
MTC, thus, ordered the direct testimony of the accused to be stricken off the record, and again declared the cases
submitted for decision.

ISSUE:
Whether or not the respondent violates the Rule 3.05, Canon 3.
HELD:
THE COURTS RULING

After due consideration, we resolve to adopt the findings and recommendations of the OCA.

We stress at the outset that the subject criminal cases violation of B.P. Blg. 22 are indeed covered by
the Rule on Summary Procedure pursuant to A.M. No. 00-11-01-SC (Re: Amendment to the Rule on Summary
Procedure of Criminal Cases).

The Rule on Summary Procedure was promulgated by the Supreme Court to achieve an expeditious and
inexpensive disposition of cases. Section 17 of this Rule requires the court to promulgate a judgment not later than
thirty (30) days after termination of trial. Trial in the present case originally ended on August 4, 2004. For reasons
not stated in the records, the cases were again set for trial on November 17, 2004 and later moved to December
20, 2004. The MTC ordered the cases submitted for decision when the accused once again failed to appear in court
on December 20, 2004. The MTC reconsidered this order and again set the case for hearing on October 12, 2005.
The MTC ordered the testimony of the accused to be stricken off the record and declared the cases again
submitted for decision when, again, she failed despite due notice to appear in court onOctober 12, 2005.

From this sequence of events, we find it clear that the respondent judge failed to observe the mandated
period of time to decide cases under the Rule on Summary Procedure. Following Section 17 of this Rule, he should
have rendered a decision within 30 days from the termination of trial on August 4, 2004. Even assuming that the
subsequent resettings of the cases for trial were valid, he should have rendered a decision within 30 days
from October 12, 2005, or the date the cases were finally considered submitted for decision. His failure to meet
this deadline is a patent indication that he did not take into account and had disregarded the Rule on Summary
Procedure.

At any rate, even if we adopt a liberal approach and consider the subject cases to be outside the coverage of
the Rule on Summary Procedure, the respondent judge still cannot escape liability.

The Constitution mandates that all cases or matters filed before all lower courts shall be decided
or resolved within 90 days from the time the case is submitted for decision.Judges are enjoined to dispose
of the courts business promptly and expeditiously and to decide cases within the period fixed by law.
Failure to comply with the mandated period constitutes a serious violation of the constitutional right of
the parties to a speedy disposition of their cases a lapse that undermines the peoples faith and
confidence in the judiciary, lowers its standards and brings it to disrepute.This constitutional policy is
reiterated in Rule 3.05, Canon 3 of the Code of Judicial Conduct which requires a judge to dispose of the
courts business promptly and decide cases within the required periods.

In the present case, the subject cases had been submitted for decision since October 12, 2005. As
correctly pointed out by the OCA, while the respondent judge attributed his failure to render a decision to
the heavy caseload in his sala, he did not ask for an extension of time to decide the cases. This failure to

decide within the required period, given that he could have asked for an extension, is inexcusable; it
constitutes neglect of duty as well as gross inefficiency that collectively warrant administrative sanction.

We cannot tolerate undue delay in the disposition of cases, given our all-out effort and frequent
reminders to minimize, if not totally eradicate, the problem of congestion that has long plagued our
courts. The requirement that cases be decided within the reglementary period is designed to prevent
delay in the administration of justice, for obviously, justice delayed is justice denied. As we explained
in Bontuyan v. Judge Villarin:

This Court is not unmindful of the heavy dockets of lower courts. Thus, upon their proper
application for extension, especially in meritorious case involving difficult questions of law or
complex issues, it grants them additional time to decide beyond the reglementary period. In the
instant case, however, no such application was filed by respondent. Had he done so and
indicated the reason therefor, he would not have been subjected to disciplinary action.
Judges are expected to observe utmost diligence and dedication in the performance of their
judicial functions and the discharge of their duties. The failure or inability of a judge to decide a
case within the period fixed by law subjects him to administrative sanctions. This is because
undue delay in the disposition of cases contributes to the peoples loss of faith and confidence in
the judiciary and brings it into disrepute.

Under Rule 140, Section 9(1) as amended by Administrative Matter No. 01-8-10-SC, the respondent
judges undue delay in rendering a decision is classified as a less serious offense. It carries the penalty of
suspension from office without salary and other benefits for not less than one nor more than three months, or a
fine of more thanP10,000.00 but not exceeding P20,000.00.

Since the respondent judge had been previously found guilty in Blanco v. Andoy. of gross ignorance of
procedure and undue delay in the resolution of a motion (for which he was imposed a P25,000.00 fine with a stern
warning that a repetition of the same or similar act shall be dealt with more severely), we impose on him the
maximum allowable fine of P20,000.00. This amount shall be deducted from respondent judges retirement
benefits as the record shows that he had already retired from the service onOctober 3, 2008.

WHEREFORE, in light of all the foregoing, Judge Teresito A. Andoy is hereby found GUILTY of (1) undue
delay in rendering a decision and (2) violation of Canon 3, Rule 3.05 of the Code of Judicial Conduct. He is ordered
to pay a FINE of twenty thousand pesos (P20,000.00), to be deducted from his retirement benefits.

SO ORDERED.

A.M. No. MTJ-10-1769 (


October 6, 2010)
EDUARDO B. OLAGUER versus
- JUDGE ALFREDO D. AMPUAN, Metropolitan Trial Court, Branch33, Quezon City

FACTS:
The complainant in this case is the complainant in acivil case entitled JOS Managing Builders Inc v LandBank of the
Philippines being handled by therespondent Judge. When the defendants in the civilcase failed to file their
memorandum, Olaguer filed anex parte manifestation praying for its submission fordecision on August 5, 2008.
The respondent judge didnot render any decision despite the lapse of threemonths. The complainant then filed
motions toresolve
twice on December 12, 2008 and on February18, 2009. Still, respondent Judge did not decide CivilCase No. 27653
until only on June 2, 2009, which wasway beyond the three-month reglementary period.The Branch Clerk of Court
informed him that thecause of delay had been the reconstruction of thevarious transcripts of stenographic notes
which,according to the complainant, is not true consideringthat the original TSNs had earlier been provided tothe
parties.The respondent judge explained that he hadinherited the civil case from two predecessors andhad started
handling it only on November 18, 2005,but only for the last five hearings. He further said thatthe charges against
him were unfair, stressing that heconducted daily hearing sbecause his sala wasdesignated as a Special Court for
Tax Cases, ElectionCourt and Small Claims Court.
OCAs Findings and Recommendation: Guilty of gross
inefficiency and recommended the penalty ofreprimand with a stern warning that a repetition ofthe same or
similar act would be dealt with moreseverely.

ISSUE: Whether or not the respondent judge is guiltyof gross inefficiency.

RULING: YES.Respondent Judge really failed in his duty topromptly and expeditiously dispose of Civil Case
No.27653. In so failing, he ran afoul of Supreme CourtAdministrative Circular No. 28 dated July 3, 1989,whose
paragraph three provides:A case is considered submitted for decision upon theadmission of the evidence of the
parties at thetermination of the trial.
The ninety (90) day period.
for deciding the case shall commence to run fromsubmission of the case for decision withoutmemoranda; in case
the court requires or allowsits filing, the case shall be considered submittedfor decision upon the filing of the
lastmemorandum or upon the expiration
of the periodto do so, whichever is earlier. Lack of transcript ofstenographic notes shall not be a valid reason
tointerrupt or suspend the period for deciding the caseunless the case was previously heard by anotherjudge not
the deciding judge in which case the lattershall have the full period of ninety (90) days for thecompletion of the
transcripts within which to decidethe same.The respondent should have forthwith issuedthe order directing the
stenographers to submit theTSNs after the complainant had manifested that thedefendants had not filed their
memorandum

. Yet, hedid not, but instead


took more than seven monthsbefore issuing such order on March 15, 2009.
Moreover, we state that the additional courtassignments or designations imposed uponrespondent Judge did not
make him less liable for thedelay. Verily, a judge cannot by himself choose toprolong the period for deciding cases
beyond thatauthorized by law. Had his additional courtassignments or designations unduly prevented himfrom
deciding Civil Case No. 27653, respondent Judgecould have easily sought additional time byrequesting an
extension from the Court, through theOCAd, but he did not avail himself of this remedy.Without an order of
extension granted by theCourt, his failure to decide within the required
periodconstituted gross inefficiency that meritedadministrative sanction.Nevertheless, the Court recognizes that
respondentjudge inherited a total of 1,605 cases upon hisassumption on August 10, 2005, and that theomission
complained of is the first and onlyadministrative charge against him. We are inclined tomitigate his liability, and
opt to impose a reprimand,with stern warning that a repetition of the offense orthe commission of a similar
offense shall be dealtwith more severely.DISPOSITION: REPRIMANDED, with stern warningthat a repetition of the
offense or the commission of a similar offense shall be dealt with more severely.

A.M. No. MTJ-05-1580/ October 6, 2010


LOURDES B. FERRER and PROSPERIDAD M. ARANDEZ,
Complainants,
-versus JUDGE ROMEO A. RABACA, Metropolitan Trial Court, Branch 25, Manila,

FACTS:
the complainants were the President and the Executive Director of the plaintiff in Civil Case No. 176394-CV of the
MeTC, an ejectment suit entitled Young Womens Christian Association, Inc. v. Conrado Cano. After trial, Civil Case
No. 176394-CV was decided on June 22, 2004 by respondent Judge,who disposed as follows:
WHEREFORE, premises considered, judgment is hereby rendered in favor of the plaintiff
and against the defendant ordering the latter as follows:
(a) to vacate the premises located at Ground Floor, YMCA, 1144 Gen. Luna St.,
Ermita, Manila; and surrender possession thereof to plaintiff;
(b) to pay plaintiff the sum of Php45,211.80 representing his arrears in rentals from
February 2003 to July 2003 at Php7,535.30 a month plus the further sum of Php7,535.30 a month
as reasonable value for the continued use and occupation of the premises starting August 2003
until the same is finally vacated and possession thereof is turn-over to plaintiff;
(c) to pay the plaintiff the sum of Php20,000 as attorneys fees; and
(d) to pay the costs of suit.

On July 12, 2004, the plaintiffs counsel filed a motion for immediate execution, praying that a writ of
execution be issued for the immediate execution of the aforesaid Judgment. The plaintiff cited Section 19, Rule
70 of the Rules of Court as basis for its motion.

In his order dated July 14, 2004, however, respondent Judge denied the motion for immediate execution
stating:
A Notice of Appeal dated July 9, 2004, having been seasonably filed by counsel for the
defendant, let the records of the above-captioned case be, as it is hereby ordered, elevated to
the Regional Trial Court of Manila for appropriate proceedings and disposition.
In view thereof, no more action shall be taken on the Motion for Execution dated July 8,
2004 filed by the plaintiff thru counsel.

According to the complainants, their counsel talked with respondent Judge about the matter. Allegedly,
respondent Judge told their counsel that if you think the court is wrong, file a motion for reconsideration. With
that, the plaintiff filed a motion for reconsideration, which respondent Judge nonetheless denied in his order
dated July 28, 2004.

ISSUE: whether or not Hon. Romeo A. Rabaca is guilty of ignorance of the law, disregard of the law, dereliction of
duty, knowingly rendering an unjust interlocutory order, and violation of the Code of Conduct for Government
Officials.

HELD:
Judge Rabaca claims that he refused to act on the complainants Motion for execution because
he honestly thought that when he gave due course to the defendants appeal which was
seasonably filed, and ordered the elevation of the records to the appellate court, his court
already lost jurisdiction over the case.. In making his ruling, respondent asserts he relied on the
provisions of Section 9, Rule 41 of the Rules of Court. This provision reads as follows:
In appeals by notice of appeal, the court loses jurisdiction over the case upon the
perfection of the appeals filed in due time and the expiration of the time to appeal of
the other parties.
He likewise allegedly relied on the ruling of the Court in Administrative Matter OCA IPI No.
03-1513-MTJ: Susana Joaquin Vda. De Agregado vs. Judge Thelma Bunyi-Medina, MeTJ wherein
the Court said thatRespondent Judge is correct in saying that she had lost jurisdiction to entertain
the motion for execution after the perfection of the appeal and after she issued an
order to transmit the records of the case to the appellate court for review.

The facts of the case against Judge Bunyi-Medina are however different from those
prevailing in the instant case. In the Medina case, the fifteen (15) day period within which to
perfect the appeal had already lapsed before the complainant therein moved for the execution
of the execution judgment. Clearly therefore, appeal had already been perfected. In the instant
case, although the defendant had filed his appeal, the period to appeal had not yet lapsed since
the plaintiff still had his own period to appeal from the judgment and such period had not yet
lapsed. The provision relied upon by judge Rabaca, more specifically, Section 9, Rule 41 of the
Rules of Court, clearly states that, In appeals by notice of appeal, the court loses jurisdiction
over the case upon perfection of the appeals filed on due time and the expiration of the time to
appeal of the other parties. Moreover and more importantly, the herein complainants filed
their Motion for Execution even before the defendant had filed his Notice of Appeal. Such
motion was therefore still well within the jurisdiction of the lower court.
It is basic rule in ejectment cases that the execution of judgment in favor of the plaintiff is
a matter of right and mandatory. This has been the consistent ruling of the Court in a number of
cases involving the same issue posed before the respondent judge. Respondent Judge is
expected to know this and his justification of erroneous application of the law, although
mitigating, could not exculpate him from liability.

We agree with and adopt the evaluation of the Court Administrator.

Indeed, respondent Judge should have granted the plaintiffs motion for immediate execution considering
that the defendant did not file the sufficient supersedeas bond despite having appealed. Granting the
plaintiffs motion for immediate execution became his ministerial duty upon the defendants failure to file the
sufficient supersedeas bond. Section 19, Rule 70, of the Rules of Court clearly imposes such duty, viz:
Section 19. Immediate execution of judgment; how to stay same. If judgment is
rendered against the defendant, execution shall issue immediately upon motion, unless an
appeal has been perfected and the defendant to stay execution files a sufficient supersedeas
bond, approved by the Municipal Trial Court and executed in favor of the plaintiff to pay the
rents, damages, and costs accruing down to the time of the judgment appealed from, and
unless, during the pendency of the appeal, he deposits with the appellate court the amount of
rent due from time to time under the contract, if any, as determined by the judgment of the
Municipal Trial Court. In the absence of a contract, he shall deposit with the Regional Trial Court
the reasonable value of the use and occupation of the premises for the preceding month or
period at the rate determined by the judgment of the lower court on or before the tenth day of
each succeeding month or period. The supersedeas bond shall be transmitted by the Municipal
Trial Court, with the other papers, to the clerk of the Regional Trial Court to which the action is
appealed.
xxx

Respondent Judges excuse, that he had lost jurisdiction over the case by virtue of the defendants appeal,
was unacceptable in light of the clear and explicit text of the aforequoted rule. To begin with, the perfection of the
appeal by the defendant did not forbid the favorable action on the plaintiffs motion for immediate execution. The
execution of the decision could not be stayed by the mere taking of the appeal. Only the filing of the sufficient
supersedeas bond and the deposit with the appellate court of the amount of rent due from time to time, coupled

with the perfection of the appeal, could stay the execution. Secondly, he could not also credibly justify his omission
to act according to the provision by claiming good faith or honest belief, or by asserting lack of malice or bad faith.
A rule as clear and explicit as Section 19 could not be misread or misapplied, but should be implemented without
evasion or hesitation. To us, good faith, or honest belief, or lack of malice, or lack of bad faith justifies a noncompliance only when there is an as-yet unsettled doubt on the meaning or applicability of a rule or legal
provision. It was not so herein. And, thirdly, given that his court, being vested with original exclusive jurisdiction
over cases similar to Civil Case No. 176394-CV, had been assigned many such cases, he was not a trial judge bereft
of the pertinent prior experience to act on the issue of immediate execution, a fact that further exposed the abject
inanity of his excuses.

We agree with the complainants insistence, therefore, that respondent Judges omission to apply Section 19
was inexcusable. He had ignored the urging to follow the clear and explicit provision of the rule made in the
plaintiffs motion for immediate execution. Had he any genuine doubt about his authority to grant the motion for
immediate execution, as he would have us believe, he could have easily and correctly resolved the doubt by a
resort to the Rules of Court, which he well knew was the repository of the guidelines he was seeking for his judicial
action. Neither was it relevant that he did not know any of the parties, or that he did not corruptly favor the
defendant by his omission. His mere failure to perform a duty enjoined by the Rules of Court sufficed to render him
administratively accountable.

This case is an opportune occasion to remind judges of the first level courts to adhere always to the mandate
under Section 19, Rule 70, of the Rules of Court to issue writs of execution upon motion of the plaintiffs in actions
for forcible entry or unlawful detainer when the defendant has appealed but has not filed a sufficient supersedeas
bond. The summary nature of the special civil action under Rule 70 and the purpose underlying the mandate for an
immediate execution, which is to prevent the plaintiffs from being further deprived of their rightful possession,
should always be borne in mind.

The recommended penalty of P5,000.00 with warning that a repetition of the same or similar act would be
dealt with more severely is also correct. The Court Administrator rationalized the recommendation of the penalty
thuswise:
Under A.M. No. 01-8-10-SC, Gross Ignorance of the Law or Procedure is classified as
serious offense for which the imposable penalty ranges from a fine to dismissal. However, we
find respondents acts not ingrained with malice or bad faith. It is a matter of public policy that in
the absence of fraud, dishonesty or corrupt motive, the acts of a judge in his judicial capacity are
not subject to disciplinary action even though such acts are erroneous. In Domingo vs. Judge
Pagayatan, A.M. No. RTJ-03-1751, 10 June 2003, the penalty of fine in the amount of five
thousand pesos was deemed sufficient where it was held that respondents lack of malice or bad
faith frees him from administrative liability but not for gross ignorance of the law.

We concur with the rationalization of the Court Administrator. Verily, even if respondent Judges
omission would have easily amounted to gross
[8]

ignorance of the law and procedure, a serious offense under Section 8, Rule
140, of the Rules of Court, as amended, the fact that the complainants did not establish that malice or bad faith
impelled his omission to act, or that fraud, dishonesty, or a corrupt motive attended his omission to act demands a
downgrading of the liability. In the absence of any showing that he had been held guilty of any other
administrative offense,

[9]

and without our attention being called to other circumstances that might demonstrate

respondent Judges dark motives for his inaction, we should find and consider the recommended penalty
of P5,000.00 with warning that a repetition of the same or similar act would be dealt with more severely to be
commensurate to the offense.

[10]

WHEREFORE, we find respondent JUDGE ROMEO A. RABACA, Presiding Judge of Branch 25, Metropolitan
Trial Court, in Manila guilty of ignorance of the law and procedure, and, accordingly, impose upon him a fine
of P5,000.00 with warning that a repetition of the same or similar act would be dealt with more severely.
SO ORDERED.

A.M. No. HOJ-10-03

November 15, 2010

THELMA T. BABANTE-CAPLES, Complainant,


vs.
PHILBERT B. CAPLES, Utility Worker II, Hall of Justice, Municipal Trial Court, La Paz, Leyte, Respondent.
Facts:
Complainant, 39 years old, married, and a public school teacher, narrated that she is the legal wife of respondent
and that they have two (2) legitimate children. She stated that their happy and blissful marriage was shattered
because of the infidelity of respondent, who had an illicit relationship with one Rennalyn Cordovez.5 She further
narrated that the affair of the two has become public knowledge in their community, and the public display of
their immorality has caused so much pain to her and to their children.
On February 6, 2008, complainant pleaded with her philandering husband, who had a drinking session with his
paramour in a nearby videoke house, to stop his immoral conduct. She stated that, instead of heeding her plea,
respondent physically assaulted her by slapping her face several times. As if the beating he inflicted on
complainant was not enough, respondent left the conjugal dwelling on March 18, 2008 to join his mistress
Rennalyn Cordovez in Dulag, Leyte.
On April 14, 2008, complainant sought the assistance of the MTC Judge of La Paz, Leyte, where her husband was
working, to help her with her problem. She claims that, during the meeting arranged by the Judge, her husband
asked for forgiveness for what he had done. However, after a short while, her husband resumed his immoral act
and deprived his family of moral and financial support. Complainant alleged that her husbands mistress has given
birth to a child, and that they are now living in the poblacion of the Municipality of Tolosa, Leyte.1avvphi1
Pedro A. Caducoy, Jr., 25 years old, married, and a barangay tanod of Barangay Palale, MacArthur, Leyte, testified
that he personally knows respondent because his house is located 10 meters away from the conjugal home of
complainant and respondent; that he personally knows Rennalyn Cordovez because she is also a resident of
Barangay Palale, and his house is located 15 meters away from her house; that in December 2007, he saw
respondent enter the compound of Rennalyn Cordovez on board a motorcycle at eleven oclock in the evening;
that he saw Rennalyn Cordovez standing outside the gate and holding a cellphone before respondent would enter

the compound, which happened several times; and that there is a street light located in front of the gate of the
compound.
Francisco Cadion Dado, Jr. testified that, when he visited his aunt in Tolosa, Leyte, he saw the house where
respondent and his paramour lived together behind the marketplace, and that the house of his aunt was about 50
meters away from the house where respondent and his paramour lived. The witness also testified that he saw
them twice.
Respondent manifested through his counsel that he would not testify; thus, the Investigating Judge considered
respondent to have waived his right to present evidence on his behalf. Respondent was given the opportunity to
be heard and refute the charges against him by adducing evidence; yet, he chose not to testify and adduce
evidence. Instead, respondent tendered his resignation letter to the OCA of the Supreme Court.
The Investigating Judge averred that he proceeded to receive further evidence because, in Faelden v. Lagura,6 we
held that "where the resignation of a court employee has not been acted upon, he remains an employee of the
judiciary."

ISSUE:
WHETHER OR NOT CAPLES is guilty of IMMORALITY ON HIS PERFORMANCE ON PUBLIC OFFICE

RULING :
Yes. The penalty of dismissal recommended by the Investigating Judge can no longer be imposed since respondent
resigned from the judiciary on February 23, 2010. However, his resignation from office does not render the present
administrative case moot and academic. Neither does it free him from liability. The resignation of a public servant
does not preclude the finding of administrative liability to which he or she shall still be answerable.12 Complainant
filed the case before respondent resigned from office. Cessation from office because of resignation does not
warrant the dismissal of the administrative complaint filed against him while he was still in the service.13
Under the circumstances, we deem it reasonable to impose the penalty of a fine in the amount of P30,000.00 to be
deducted from his accrued leave credits, if sufficient. If not, then he should be required to pay the amount of
P30,000.00.
Time and again, we have stressed adherence to the principle that public office is a public trust. The good of the
service and the degree of morality, which every official and employee in the public service must observe, if respect
and confidence are to be maintained by the Government in the enforcement of the law, demand that no untoward
conduct affecting morality, integrity, and efficiency while holding office should be left without proper and
commensurate sanction, all attendant circumstances taken into account.
WHEREFORE, respondent Philbert B. Caples is found GUILTY of Immorality, and is ordered to pay a FINE in the
amount of Thirty Thousand Pesos (P30,000.00) to be deducted from his accrued leave credits, if sufficient.
Otherwise, he shall pay the amount of P30,000.00 directly to this Court.
Let a copy of this Decision be filed in the personal record of respondent

SO ORDERED.

A.M. No. HOJ-10-03

November 15, 2010

THELMA T. BABANTE-CAPLES, Complainant,


vs.
PHILBERT B. CAPLES, Utility Worker II, Hall of Justice, Municipal Trial Court, La Paz, Leyte, Respondent.
Facts:
This administrative matter stemmed from a financial audit conducted by the Court Management Office on the cash
and accounts of the Clerk of Court and OIC/Clerks of Court of the Municipal Trial Court (MTC), Sasmuan,
Pampanga, covering the period September 1, 2007 to October 31, 2009. The examination was prompted by the
request of Judge Janice R. Yulo-Antero, Acting Presiding Judge therein, for an urgent financial audit of MTC,
Sasmuan, Pampanga.
In a Memorandum dated March 26, 2010, the audit team reported to Court Administrator Jose Midas P. Marquez,
that it was able to account for 12 booklets and 103 pieces of unused official receipts as of the audit cut-off date,
October 31, 2009. The cash count conducted on November 9, 2009 revealed no shortage or overage. No shortage
was likewise noted during the period of accountability of the OIC/Clerks of Court Albert M. David and Nelia U.
Lacsa. Shortages were only discovered for the periods of accountability of Clerk of Court Gregorio B. Saddi from
October 24, 2007 to December 31, 2007 and July 11, 2008 to August 31, 2009.
In particular, the audit team computed a shortage because Saddi failed to deposit collections in the following court
funds: P20,105.00 in the Judiciary Development Fund (JDF), P33,352.20 in the Special Allowance for the Judiciary
Fund, P16,000.00 in the Sheriffs Trust Fund, P65,100.00 in the Fiduciary Fund, and P12,000.00 in the Mediation
Fund, or a total of P146,557.20. Saddi received a copy of the Memorandum dated November 27, 2007, which
required him to explain in writing why no administrative charge should be filed against him for the delay in
remitting the collections, but he did not comply. A previous audit of MTC-Sasmuan, Pampanga also revealed that
Saddi had previously incurred a shortage of P217,367.00 for the period of November 1, 2003 to August 31, 2007,
although he later restituted the amount in full on October 5, 2007.
The audit team further reported that Saddi did not prepare and submit monthly financial reports of his collections
to the Court in violation of OCA Circular No. 113-2004.2 Thus, the audit team recommended that Saddi be held
liable for gross neglect of duties, dishonesty as an accountable officer in charge of collecting money belonging to

the court, and for violating SC Administrative Circular No. 5-93,3 as amended by Administrative Circular No. 32000, and SC Circular No. 50-95.4
The audit team also disclosed that in a letter dated January 4, 2010, Judge Yulo-Antero informed Executive Judge
Pamela Ann A. Maximo that Saddi had issued a handwritten receipt on August 25, 2009 for the amount of P500.00
which he received as execution fee from the plaintiff in Civil Case No. 794. He failed to issue the necessary writ of
execution pending appeal and was ordered by Judge Yulo-Antero on November 9, 2009, to explain in writing why
he only issued a handwritten receipt. Saddi, however, submitted no explanation.
Further, the audit team called the Court Administrators attention to an earlier administrative case involving Saddi,
docketed as A.M. No. 07-10-260-MTC.5 In said case, the Court resolved to drop Saddi from the rolls effective
January 2, 2007 for having been absent without official leave (AWOL). The Court later granted Saddis motion for
reconsideration and resolved, instead, to suspend him for two months for absenteeism with a stern warning that a
repetition of the same or similar act shall be dealt with more severely.
ISSUE:
WHETHER OR NOT SADDI IS GUILTY OF of Gross Dishonesty, Grave Misconduct, Gross Neglect of Duty and of
violating SC Circular No. 26-97
RULING:
Yes. Court personnel; gross dishonesty.
Despite the Courts warning, however, Saddi incurred further absences without official leave. In a letter dated
October 23, 2009 addressed to Executive Judge Pamela Ann A. Maximo, Judge Yulo-Antero disclosed that Saddi did
not report to work from September 2, 2009 to October 9, 2009. Again, he offered no explanation for his absences.
Hence, Judge Yulo-Antero recommended that Saddi be dropped from the rolls.
Saddis failure to turn over up to this time the full amount of his collections and to adequately explain and present
evidence thereon constitute gross dishonesty, grave misconduct, and even malversation of public funds. The
delayed remittance of his cash collections and failure to submit monthly reports of court funds he received
constitute gross neglect of duty. Dishonesty alone, being in the nature of a grave offense, carries the extreme
penalty of dismissal from the service with forfeiture of retirement benefits, except accrued leave credits, and
perpetual disqualification for reemployment in the government service.

A.M. No. P-10-2818

November 15, 2010

Office of the Court administrator


Vs.
Gregorio B. Saddi FACTS:
This administrative matter stemmed from a financial audit conducted by the Court Management Office on the cash
and accounts of the Clerk of Court and OIC/Clerks of Court of the Municipal Trial Court (MTC), Sasmuan,

Pampanga, covering the period September 1, 2007 to October 31, 2009. The examination was prompted by the
request of Judge Janice R. Yulo-Antero, Acting Presiding Judge therein, for an urgent financial audit of MTC,
Sasmuan, Pampanga.
The OCA correctly found cause to hold Saddi administratively liable for the following infractions: (1) incurring a
cash shortage due to undeposited collections in the amount of P146,557.20 during his period of accountability; (2)
failure to prepare a monthly report of his collections; (3) issuing a handwritten receipt in the amount of P500.00 as
payment for the execution fee in Civil Case No. 794; and (4) going on AWOL from September 2, 2009 to October 9,
2009. For all these, Saddi gave no explanation.
Clerks of court, as the chief administrative officers of their respective courts, must act with competence, honesty
and probity in accordance with their duty of safeguarding the integrity of the court and its proceedings. They are
judicial officers entrusted to perform delicate functions with regard to the collection of legal fees, and as such, are
expected to implement regulations correctly and effectively. As custodians of court funds, they are constantly
reminded to deposit immediately the funds which they receive in their official capacity to the authorized
government depositories for they are not supposed to keep such funds in their custody.
ISSUE:
Whether or not Gregorio B. Saddiis guilty of gross dishonesty, grave misconduct, gross neglect of duty and of
violating SC Circular No. 26-97.
HELD:
WHEREFORE, the Court finds and declares:
(1) Gregorio B. Saddi, Clerk of Court, MTC, Sasmuan, Pampanga GUILTY of Gross Dishonesty, Grave Misconduct,
Gross Neglect of Duty and of violating SC Circular No. 26-97. Let all his retirement benefits be forfeited, except
accrued leave credits, with prejudice to reemployment in any branch or instrumentality of the government,
including government-owned or controlled corporations. He is further DIRECTED to:
(a) RESTITUTE the amount of P146,557.20, representing the amount of shortage in his collections from October
24, 2007 to December 31, 2007 and July 11, 2008 to August 31, 2009, and the amount of P500.00, representing the
execution fee in Civil Case No. 794;
(b) PAY the amount of INTEREST which the Court would have earned had the collections been deposited on time.
The money value of his accrued leave credits shall be applied to his accountabilities dispensing with the usual
documentary requirements;
(c) SUBMIT to the Fiscal Monitoring Division, Court Management Office, OCA, copies of the machine-validated
deposit slips, all within 10 days from receipt of notice as proof of compliance with (a) and (b) above.
(2) The Financial Management Office, OCA is ORDERED to:
(2.1) APPLY the computed terminal leave pay benefits of Gregorio B. Saddi to the shortage found on his books of
accounts;
(2.2) INFORM the Fiscal Monitoring Division, Court Management Office, OCA on the action taken thereon so the
said Office can finalize this audit on the accountabilities of Mr. Saddi and likewise advise the incumbent Clerk of

Court of the procedure on how or to which account the amount deducted from the Terminal Leave Pay of Saddi
shall be deposited;
(3) The Fiscal Monitoring Division, Court Management Office, OCA is directed to DETERMINE the exact amount of
interest which respondent is liable for;
(4) Nelia U. Lacsa and Albert M. David, OIC-Clerk of Court and former OIC-Clerk of Court, respectively, are
CLEARED of their financial accountability as of October 31, 2009; and
(5) The Office of the Court Administrator is directed to FILE the appropriate criminal charges against Gregorio B.
Saddi.

A.M. No. P-07-2379

November 17, 2010

Antonio T. Ramas-Uypitching
Vs.
Vincent Horace U. Magalona
FACTS:
Before this Court is an administrative complaint, dated July 1, 2003, filed by complainant Antonio T. RamasUypitching, Jr., manager of Ramas-Uypitching Sons, Inc. (RUSI) Marketing, against Vincent Horace U. Magalona,
Sheriff IV of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 46, Bacolod City, Negros Occidental, for grave misconduct and gross
dishonesty, relative to the execution of judgment in Civil Case No. 4657, entitled Spouses Ireneo and Mariles
Geronca v. Powroll Construction Co., Inc., et al., where respondent levied three (3) motorcycles belonging to RUSI
Marketing even if said company was never a party to the said case and, consequently, the actuation of respondent
created a bad image on the company and affected its business dealings with suppliers, customers, and the public.
The Office of the Court Administrator (OCA) found respondent guilty of grave misconduct for acting beyond the
scope of his authority when he implemented the writ of execution on RUSI Marketing, which was not a party to
the case, and recommended that the complaint against respondent be redocketed as a regular administrative
complaint and that respondent, being a first-time offender, be suspended from the service for one (1) year with a
stern warning that a repetition of the same or similar act shall be dealt with more severely in the future.
The Office of the Court Administrator (OCA) found respondent guilty of grave misconduct for acting beyond the
scope of his authority when he implemented the writ of execution on RUSI Marketing, which was not a party to
the case, and recommended that the complaint against respondent be redocketed as a regular administrative
complaint and that respondent, being a first-time offender, be suspended from the service for one (1) year with a
stern warning that a repetition of the same or similar act shall be dealt with more severely in the future.
ISSUE:
Whether or not respondent Vincent Horace Magalona is guilty of violation of Section 9(b), Rule 39 of the Rules of
Court.

RULING: Sheriffs play an important role in the administration of justice and they should always hold inviolate and
invigorate the tenet that a public office is a public trust. Being in the grassroots of our judicial machinery, sheriffs
and deputy sheriffs are in close contact with the litigants; hence, their conduct should all the more maintain the
prestige and integrity of the court. By the very nature of their functions, sheriffs must conduct themselves with
propriety and decorum, so as to be above suspicion. As such, they must discharge their duties with due care and
utmost diligence, because in serving the court's writs and processes and in implementing the orders of the court,
they cannot afford to err without affecting the efficiency of the process of the administration of justice and, as
agents of the law, high standards are expected of them.
WHEREFORE, respondent Vincent Horace Magalona, Sheriff IV of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 46, Bacolod City,
is found GUILTY of violation of Section 9(b), Rule 39 of the Rules of Court. In view of respondents previous
dismissal from the service, a FINE of P20,000.00 is instead imposed on him, to be deducted from his accrued leave
credits, if sufficient; otherwise, he is ORDERED to pay the amount of the fine directly to this Court.
The Employees Leave Division, Office of Administrative Services of the Office of the Court Administrator, is
DIRECTED to compute respondents accrued leave credits, if any, and deduct therefrom the amount representing
the payment of the fine.

A.M. No. P-10-2865/ November 22, 2010


Executive Judge AURORA MAQUEDA ROMAN, Regional Trial Court, Gumaca, Quezon, Complainant,
Vs.
VIRGILIO M. FORTALEZA, Clerk of Court, Municipal Trial Court, Catanauan, Quezon, Respondent.
FACTS:
This administrative case arose from a letter-complaint, dated May 24, 2007, by one who wanted to keep her
identity confidential, addressed to former Chief Justice Reynato S. Puno, informing him of the alleged irregularities
happening at the Municipal Trial Court (MTC) of Catanauan, Quezon. For purposes of this Decision, the lettersender shall be referred to as the informant.
The letter-complaint reported that respondent Clerk of Court Virgilio M. Fortaleza is the husband of stenographer
Norberta Fortaleza and the brother-in-law of process server Gavino Otico Ramos. All three work at the MTC. On
the basis of these relations, Norberta and Gavino got performance ratings higher than those given to the other
MTC employees. The informant further claimed that the respondent made her sign blank performance evaluation
forms without telling her what rating she would get, and added that she was not evaluated for the period July to
December 2006. She likewise reported that the respondent is fond of attending cockfights during office hours, and
allows Norberta to sign his daily time record during his absence. She also charged the respondent and his wife of
using abusive words in addressing her in the presence of other people. Despite these specific charges, the
informant still requested that her identity be kept confidential.
The Office of the Chief Justice referred the letter-complaint to then Court Administrator Christopher O. Lock for
discreet investigation. The Office of the Court Administrator (OCA), in its letter of September 20, 2007, informed

the informant that her allegations regarding the abusive conduct of the respondent and his wife, as well as the
irregularities in the filling up of her performance evaluation sheet, cannot prosper without the disclosure of her
identity. The OCA explained that the informants testimony was needed to substantiate these charges. The OCA,
nevertheless, stated that the informants other charges, such as attending cockfights during office hours and
tampering of attendance record, may be referred to Executive Judge Aurora V. Maqueda-Roman of the Regional
Trial Court, Gumaca, Quezon, for investigation. Accordingly, the OCA referred the letter-complaint to Judge
Maqueda-Roman for the conduct of a discreet investigation.
ISSUE:
Whether or not the respondent is guilty of loafing as frequent unauthorized absences from duty during regular
office hours.

HELD:
THE COURTS RULING
After due consideration, we adopt the OCAs findings.
Court personnel must devote every moment of official time to public service. The conduct and behavior of court
personnel should be characterized by a high degree of professionalism and responsibility, as they mirror the image
of the court. Specifically, court personnel must strictly observe official time to inspire public respect for the justice
system. Section 1, Canon IV of the Code of Conduct for Court Personnel mandates that court personnel shall
commit themselves exclusively to the business and responsibilities of their office during working hours. Loafing
results in inefficiency and non-performance of duty, and adversely affects the prompt delivery of justice.
The Civil Service Commission Rules define loafing as frequent unauthorized absences from duty during regular
office hours. The word frequent connotes that the employees absent themselves from duty more than once.
In the present case, the charge of loafing was proven by substantial evidence. Gavino, the process server and the
respondents own brother-in-law, testified that there were times the respondent left the office during office hours,
although these temporary absences from office did not exceed one hour. Norberta, the stenographer and the
respondents wife, stated that the respondent left the office once in a while, sometimes for half an hour.
Melanie Macaraig, a court interpreter, narrated that the respondent would leave the office during office hours
lasting from two to three hours a day, two to three times a week. Nilo Tabernilla, Clerk II at the Department of
Agrarian Reform (DAR), narrated that respondent would go to the DAR office in the morning to chat, but explained
that the DAR office is near the MTC. While none of these witnesses saw the respondent attend cockfights during
office hours, sufficient basis exists to conclude that the respondent had indeed been loafing during office hours,
albeit the witnesses differ in their reports on the length of time he actually stayed out of office. The respondent
himself did not deny going out of his office during working hours, although he explained that he would go out
either to smoke, to read newspapers in the library, or to discuss legal matters with the police.
We find the respondents self-serving explanation unmeritorious. First, these claimed activities, even if true, would
not consume as much as two (2) to three (3) hours of his time. Second, any discussions of legal matters with the
police should be upon the instructions of his judge, which the respondent has not even claimed. Finally, the
respondent should only read newspapers and smoke during breaktime; these activities should never be done
during working hours. As we explained in Re: Unauthorized Absences from the Post of Pearl Marie N. Icamina:

Pursuant to the constitutional mandate that public office is a public trust, court personnel must observe the
prescribed office hours and use this time efficiently for public service, if only to recompense the Government, and
ultimately, the people, who shoulder the cost of maintaining the Judiciary.
Other than the matter of loafing, we agree with the OCA that no evidence exists to support the charges against the
respondent.
Section 52(A)(17), Rule IV of the Uniform Rules or Civil Service Commission Resolution No. 991936 classifies loafing
or frequent unauthorized absences from duty during regular office hours as a grave offense, punishable by
suspension for six (6) months and one (1) day to one (1) year for the first offense, and dismissal for the second
offense. Section 53(j), Rule IV of the Uniform Rules allows length of service in the government to be considered as
a mitigating circumstance in the determination of the penalty to be imposed. We consider the respondents more
than 30 years of service in the Judiciary as a mitigating circumstance and, accordingly, impose on him the minimum
penalty of suspension without pay for six (6) months, as recommended by the OCA.
The Court has made clear that while it is its duty to sternly wield a corrective hand to discipline its errant
employees and to weed out those who are undesirable, this Court also has the discretion to temper the harshness
of its judgment with mercy. When an officer or employee is disciplined, the object sought is not his/her
punishment, but the improvement of the public service, and the preservation of the public's faith and confidence
in the government.
WHEREFORE, in light of all the foregoing, respondent Virgilio M. Fortaleza is hereby found GUILTY of (1) loafing
under Section 52(A)(17), Rule IV of the Uniform Rules or Civil Service Commission Resolution No. 991936; and (2)
violation of Section 1, Canon IV of the Code of Conduct for Court Personnel. He is hereby SUSPENDEDfrom the
service without pay for a period of SIX (6) MONTHS, with the stern warning that a repetition of the same or similar
acts will warrant a more severe penalty.

A.M. No. P-06-2225

November 23, 2010

BERNALETTE L. RAMOS, Complainant,


Vs.
SUSAN A. LIMETA, Legal Researcher, Respondent.
Facts:
This stemmed from an affidavit-complaint charging Susan A. Limeta with graft and corruption , Gross Misconduct
and/or Conduct Unbecoming of a Court Employee. According to Ramos, sometime between July and August 2003,
her mother approached Limeta regarding the prospect of filing an annulment case against her estranged husband.
Limeta agreed to assist her cousin in the filing of an annulment case and assured her that she would not go
through the long and tedious court process, for a fee amounting to seventy thousand pesos (P70,000.00). Ramos
made a down payment of P35,000.00, which Limeta personally received, to be used for the payment of filing fees
and for the lawyers services. In October 2003, Ramos came across a family friend, Carissa U. Sosa. As Ramos did,

Sosa had requested the assistance of Limeta in the filing of an annulment case against her husband. She likewise
paid Limeta the amount of P35,000.00 as down payment for her services. Due probably to the length of time it was
taking for her annulment case to finally be resolved, Sosa concluded and told Ramos that Limeta extorted money
from her in the same manner that the latter had allegedly done to a certain Jocelyn Mendoza.
After this discovery she went to Judge Tagle who was not surprised with the revelation stating that this is not the
first time someone complained about Limeta about money problems. So Judge Tagle called Limeta to his chambers
and asked respondent to pay Ramos what she owes her. Limeta assured Ramos she would give the money back
but when they wanted a promissory note for assurance to be signed by Limeta, the latter refused.
Ramos then filed affidavit-complaints against Limeta for graft and corruption, gross misconduct and conduct not
only unbecoming of a government employee, but also prejudicial to the best interest of the service.
Limeta denied all accusations against her in her counter-affidavit. She argued that there was no evidence to prove
that she received money from Ramos. She suspected that the real reason Ramos filed the complaint was because
of her knowledge and involvement in a family argument concerning a property, owned by an aunt, whose title was
transferred to Ramos through deceitful means. Driven by this motivation, Ramos filed her complaint with malicious
intent to harass and humiliate her, and to eventually cause her to resign from her work.
OCA recommends Limetas dismissal.
Issue:
Whether or not Limeta is guilty of grave misconduct
Held:
Yes. The court agrees to the findings of OCA to dismiss respondent. Grave misconduct is a serious transgression of
some established and definite rule of action (such as unlawful behavior or gross negligence by the public officer or
employee) that tends to threaten the very existence of the system of administration of justice an official or
employee serves.11 It may manifest itself in corruption, or in other similar acts, done with the clear intent to
violate the law or in flagrant disregard of established rules.12 It is considered as a grave offense under the Civil
Service Law,13 with the corresponding penalty of dismissal from the service, forfeiture of retirement benefits
(except accrued leave credits), and perpetual disqualification from re-employment in the government service.
In our examination of the records, we found the testimonies of complainant Ramos and her witness, Atty. Geluz, as
sufficient evidence to hold Limeta administratively liable for grave misconduct. The categorical and positive
declarations made by Ramos, which were corroborated by the statements made under oath by Atty. Geluz, cannot
but prevail over the plain denial Limeta made. In case of contradictory declarations and statements, positive
testimonies carry greater weight than mere denials.
We also judicially notice that this is not the first time that Limeta was involved in acts of impropriety as an
employee of the court. In Salazar v. Limeta, this Court already suspended Limeta for a year after having been found
guilty of gross misconduct for committing the same act receiving money from a party-litigant in exchange for her
assistance in hiring a lawyer and in filing a court case for declaration of nullity of marriage. The penalty of dismissal
is definitely warranted in the present case considering that Limeta was previously warned that a repetition of the
same or similar act would be dealt with more severely.

WHEREFORE, respondent Susan A. Limeta, legal researcher, Regional Trial Court, Branch 20, Imus, Cavite, is found
GUILTY of GRAVE MISCONDUCT. She is hereby DISMISSED from the service, with forfeiture of all benefits, except
accrued leave credits, and with prejudice to re-employment in any branch or instrumentality of the government,
including government-owned or controlled corporations and financial institutions.

A.M. No. P-06-2211/ November 23, 2010


OFFICE OF THE COURT ADMINISTRATOR, Complainant,
Vs.
Ms. ROSEBUEN B. VILLETA, Clerk of Court II, Municipal Trial Court, Oton, Iloilo, Respondent.
FACTS:
The relevant facts are set out in the Memorandum/Report of the Office of the Court Administrator (OCA) dated
July 28, 2008
and are summarized below.
The OCA conducted the audit in 2006, due to the non-submission of financial reports to the OCA Financial
Management Office.
The audit team made the following findings:
1. An over-remittance of P1,050.50 in the General Fund (GF) due to Villetas practice of not regularly depositing
her collections.
2. A shortage of P805.60 in the collections for the Special Allowance for the Judiciary Fund (SAJF) for the period
November 11, 2003 to August 31, 2005.
3. A shortage of P1,672.80 in the collections for the Judiciary Development Fund (JDF) for November 11, 2003 to
August 31, 2005.
4. A shortage of P229,300.00 in the collections for the Fiduciary Fund (FF) coming from rental deposits and cash
bonds; withdrawals of cash bonds must be supported by a court order and an acknowledgment receipt from the
accused; withdrawals are disallowed without these supporting documents. The amount of P125,000.00 was
temporarily credited in favor of Villeta pending her submission of copies of the court orders and acknowledgment
receipts; otherwise, the amount shall be added to her accountability that would then amount to P354,400.00.

5. Tampering of official receipts involving several criminal cases where the accuseds cash bonds were
mispresented as collections either in the JDF or GF account instead of the FF account; worse, the amounts in the
original copies of receipts were understated in the triplicate copies of the receipts.
The audit team reported that when it confronted Villeta with its findings, she admitted using the
undeposited/unremitted collections for her personal gain.

ISSUE:
Whether or not non-submission of financial reports to the OCA Financial Management Office

HELD:
The Courts Ruling
We find the recommendations of Judge Mediodia and of the OCA to be in order. Villeta deserves to be separated
from the service, for the following reasons:
First. She failed to observe the rules in making deposits of court funds, particularly the requirement of regularity
and frequency of putting the funds in the bank. The shortages Villeta incurred in the JDF and SAJF and the overremittances in the GF, as noted by the audit team, were mainly due to her failure to deposit or remit her
collections. SC Administrative Circular No. 3-2000 requires that the collections for the JDF must be deposited daily
and, if this is not possible, at the end of the month, provided that whenever the collection exceeds P500.00, it shall
be deposited immediately even before the end of the month. Further, Amended Administrative Circular No. 352004 provides that collections for the SAJF shall be deposited daily.
Clerks of court are not supposed to keep funds in their custody. They have the duty to immediately deposit their
collections in authorized government depositories and failure in this regard constitutes gross neglect of duty.
Moreover, failure to comply with pertinent Court circulars designed to promote full accountability for public funds
is not only gross neglect; it also constitutes grave misconduct.
Second. Villeta failed to render a satisfactory accounting of the shortages for the SAJF and JDF collections. Instead,
she made a crude attempt to avoid liability by presenting computations showing smaller shortages in collections
for a two-month period (August to September 2005) when the audit covered the period November 1993 to August
2005; worse, the collections for September were not covered and the records of transactions for the month were
not shown to the audit team.
Third. Although the shortage in the FF collections was substantially reduced, there still remains P38,000.00 to
account for. The reduction was mainly due to the discovery, after the audit, of the tampered receipts showing that
the accused withdrew their cash bonds, one for P27,000.00 and the other for P10,000.00. The tampering of the
receipts highlighted, rather than erased, Villetas culpability, for it left unanswered the question of how many more
receipts Villeta issued and tampered. Then there was Villetas restitution of P100,000.00 after the audit, but she
failed to explain the shortage supposed to be covered by the restitution and where the P100,000.00 came from.

Without doubt, Villetas infractions the shortages she incurred in her collections and the tampering of cash bond
receipts constitute grave misconduct and dishonesty, and even malversation of public funds. As the OCA noted,
Article 217 of the Revised Penal Code penalizes any public officer who, being accountable for public funds, shall
appropriate the funds. To justify conviction for malversation of public funds, the prosecution has only to prove
that the accused receive public funds which he cannot account for or did not have in his possession and could not
give a reasonable excuse for the disappearance of the funds.
Villeta cannot escape liability for the tampered receipts and for appropriating the funds derived from the cash
bond deposits, although she claimed that she did these to ease the burden of the litigants in withdrawing their
deposits. We cannot accept these belated manifestations of good intentions as we are convinced that she took
the deposits and made use of the funds for her personal gain. The facts whose consequences we now decide show
that she was audited; she came short of her collections; and she failed to account for the missing funds. On the
basis of these facts, we find her liable for gross misconduct.
For her failure to live up to the high ethical standards expected of court employees, Villeta should be dismissed
and be made to restitute the amounts covered by her shortages. Significantly, the restitution can very well be
covered by Villetas leave credits, based on the OCAs inquiry.
WHEREFORE, premises considered, Ms. Rosebuen B. Villeta, Clerk of Court II, Municipal Trial Court, Oton, Iloilo, is
declared GUILTY of grave misconduct and dishonesty and is DISMISSED from the service effective immediately,
with forfeiture of her salaries, allowances, as well as retirement benefits, except for accrued credits for her earned
leaves. She is likewise ordered BARRED from re-employment in all branches of the government, including
government-owned and controlled corporations. The Financial Management Office of the Office of the Court
Administrator is DIRECTED to process Villetas terminal leave pay, dispensing with the usual documentary
requirements, to answer for the following:
1.

P1,672.80 Judiciary Development Fund;

2.

P805.60 Special Allowance for the Judiciary Fund; and

3.

P38,900.00 Fiduciary Fund; and the balance to be released to Villeta.

The OCAs Legal Office is DIRECTED to file the appropriate criminal complaint against Villeta with the Office of the
Ombudsman.

A.C. No. 8391

November 23, 2010

MANUEL C. YUHICO, Complainant,


Vs.
ATTY. FRED L. GUTIERREZ, Respondent.

Facts:
This case stemmed from a complaint against Manuel C. Yuhico for violation of Rule 1.01 of the Code of
Professional Responsibility. Complainant Yuhico alleged that he met Gutierrez at the Office of the City Prosecutor
in Pasig City on May 4, 2005. Yuhico was there to testify at the preliminary investigation of a Complaint for Estafa
against one Jose S. Chicharro, who was then being represented by Gutierrez. He claimed that they eventually
became acquainted as they frequently saw each other during the hearings of the case.
Yuhico stated that Guiterrez called him and asked for a loan for his ill mother. And consecutively, he called again at
a later date to ask for another loan to pay for the medical expenses of his wife, and promised to pay because he
was expecting his attorneys fees from a Japanese client.
On July 12, 2005, Yuhico asked Gutierrez to pay his loans. Atty. Gutierrez failed to pay. In a text message on July 12,
2005 at 2:47 p.m., Atty. Gutierrez stated:
I really don't know how to say this as I don't want to think that I may be taking advantage of our friendship. You
see i've long expected as substantial attorney's fees since last week from my client Ogami from japan. It's more or
less more than 5m and its release is delayed due to tax and the law on money laundering. From my estimate it wud
be collected by me on or b4 august 5. N the meantime I am quite in a financial difficulty as everyone is.
After repeatedly reminding Guiterrez to pay his loan, and not getting anything, Yuhico filed a complaint against the
IBP-CBD whom then directed Guiterrez to submit his answer on the complaint against him. Gutierrez claimed that
Yuhico was the one who offered to lend him money in gratitude for the assistance he extended to the latter when
he was under threat by his clients. He, however, admitted that he accepted the loan due to compelling
circumstances. Gutierrez added that he has no intention of evading his obligation to pay his debts, but he is
currently in financial distress, thus, he cannot pay his debts yet. He claimed he will pay his debts when his financial
condition improves.
In view of the previous disbarment of Gutierrez, the IBP-CBD recommended to the Court that, instead of rendering
the instant case moot, Gutierrez should be disbarred anew effective upon the expiration of the sanction pursuant
to the March 26, 2004 Supreme Court Decision. The IBP-CBD explained that while we do not have jurisprudence on
the issue of double or multiple disbarment, the American jurisprudence, however, recognizes double or multiple
disbarments as well as the minimum requirement of five (5) years for readmission to the Bar.
During the clarificatory hearing before the IBP-CBD, only the complainant's counsel attended. Guiterrez did not
appear.
Yuhico manifested in his position paper that the Supreme Court, in Huyssen v. Atty. Gutierrez, had already
disbarred Gutierrez from the practice of law for gross misconduct, in view of his failure to pay his debts and his
issuance of worthless checks.
Subsequently, in a Resolution dated December 11, 2008, the, IBP-CBD found Gutierrez guilty of non-payment of
just debts and ordered him to return the amount of Ninety Thousand Pesos (P90,000.00) to Yuhico, with interest
until full payment.
Issue:
Whether or not FRED L. GUTIERREZ should once again be disbarred from the practice of law.

Held:
No.
IBPs board of Governors resolution sustains the findings of the IBP, but with modification as to its
recommendations.
IBPs board of Governors held that deliberate failure to pay just debts constitute gross misconduct, for which a
lawyer may be sanctioned with suspension from the practice of law. Lawyers are instruments for the
administration of justice and vanguards of our legal system. They are expected to maintain not only legal
proficiency, but also a high standard of morality, honesty, integrity and fair dealing so that the peoples faith and
confidence in the judicial system is ensured. They must, at all times, faithfully perform their duties to society, to
the bar, the courts and to their clients, which include prompt payment of financial obligations. They must conduct
themselves in a manner that reflects the values and norms of the legal profession as embodied in the Code of
Professional Responsibility.
In the instant case, there is no question as to Gutierrez's guilt. His admission of the loan he contracted and his
failure to pay the same leaves no room for interpretation. Neither can he justify his act of non-payment of debt by
his dire financial condition. Gutierrez should not have contracted loans which are beyond his financial capacity to
pay.
Likewise, IBPs board of Governors cannot overlook Gutierrez's propensity of employing deceit and
misrepresentations for the purpose of obtaining debts without the intention of paying them. Records show
Gutierrez's pattern of habitually making promises of paying his debts, yet repeatedly failing to deliver. The series of
text messages he sent to Yuhico promising to pay his loans, while simultaneously giving excuses without actually
making good of his promises, is clearly reprehensible. Undoubtedly, his acts demonstrate lack of moral character
to satisfy the responsibilities and duties imposed on lawyers as professionals and as officers of the court.
IBPs board of Governors also note that in Huyssen v. Atty. Gutierrez, the Court had already disbarred Gutierrez
from the practice of law for gross misconduct due to non-payment of just debts and issuance of bouncing checks.
In view of the foregoing, while we agree with the findings of the IBP, we cannot, however, adopt its
recommendation to disbar Gutierrez for the second time, considering that Gutierrez had already been previously
disbarred. Indeed, as the IBP pointed out, we do not have double or multiple disbarment in our laws or
jurisprudence. Neither do we have a law mandating a minimum 5-year requirement for readmission, as cited by
the IBP. Thus, while Gutierrez's infraction calls for the penalty of disbarment, we cannot disbar him anew.
The IBPs board of Governors resolution No. XVIII-2008-649 dated December 11, 2008, of the IBP, which found
FRED L. GUTIERREZ guilty of GROSS MISCONDUCT, is AFFIRMED. He is ORDERED to PAY the amount of Ninety
Thousand Pesos (P90,000.00) to the complainant immediately from receipt of this decision with interest.

A.M. No. MTJ-08-1719/ November 23, 2010


ATTY. ARNOLD B. LUGARES, Complainant,
Vs.
JUDGE LIZABETH GUTIERREZ-TORRES, Metropolitan Trial Court, Branch 60, Mandaluyong City,Respondent.
A.M. No. MTJ-08-1722**
JOSE MARIA J. SEMBRANO, Complainant,
Vs.
JUDGE LIZABETH GUTIERREZ-TORRES, Presiding Judge Metropolitan Trial Court, Branch 60, Mandaluyong City,
Respondent.
A.M. No. MTJ-08-1723***
MARCELINO LANGCAP, Complainant,
Vs.
JUDGE LIZABETH GUTIERREZ-TORRES, Presiding Judge Metropolitan Trial Court, Branch 60, Mandaluyong City,
Respondent.
FACTS:
Judge is a paradigm of justice who must closely adhere to the policy of prompt disposition of cases. He should be
always mindful that delay in case resolution is the major culprit in the erosion of public faith and confidence in the
judiciary. He is duty-bound to obey and comply with the lawful orders and processes and to exercise a high degree
of professional competence at all times. A judge who cannot meet the exacting standards of judicial conduct and
integrity is not worthy to wear the judicial robe because his continued presence in the bench will only tarnish the
image of the judiciary.

Before this Court are three administrative complaints for dismissal from judicial service filed against respondent,
Judge Lizabeth Gutierrez-Torres (Judge Torres), Metropolitan Trial Court of Mandaluyong City, Branch 60(MeTC),
charging her with a host of infractions. These administrative complaints have been consolidated in view of the
similar nature of the complaints against her.
Atty. Lugares alleged that on February 2, 2005, he instituted a civil case for ejectment against Zenaida and Alex
Bautista before the MeTC. Summons was duly served on the defendants on February 10, 2005 but they failed to
file their answer within the reglementary period of ten (10) days. Consequently, Judge Torres issued an
order2stating that she would render judgment in the case pursuant to Section 7, in relation to Section 6, Rule 70 of
the 1997 Rules on Civil Procedure. Defendants filed a motion for reconsideration3 with leave of court to admit
attached responsive pleading, but their motion was denied on April 12, 2005.4
Despite repeated follow-ups and notwithstanding the lapse of more than a year, no decision was rendered by
Judge Torres in Civil Case No. 19887. This prompted Atty. Lugares to file a motion for early rendition of judgment
on July 12, 20065 and, later, a manifestation6 dated July 24, 2006, praying that judgment be rendered considering
that the case had been deemed submitted for decision as early as April 2005.
More than a year, or specifically six months, after the denial of the motion to admit responsive pleading, on August
9, 2006, Judge Torres issued an order7 admitting defendants answer and setting the case for preliminary
conference. Atty. Lugares posited that the issuance of the August 9, 2006 Order, which was in contradiction with
the April 12, 2005 Order, was obviously intended to accommodate the defendants. He added that the failure to
immediately decide the case in accordance with the Rules on Summary Procedure aggravated the conflict between
the parties which resulted in the filing of several cases between them.
ISSUE:
Whether or not the respondent is guilty in Gross Inefficiency, Undue Delay in the Administration of Justice,
Indecisiveness, Manifest Partiality, and Gross Ignorance of the Law
HELD:
Administrative Matter No. MTJ-08-1722 was initiated through a Complaint-Affidavit,13 dated August 28, 2007,
filed by Jose Maria J. Sembrano (Sembrano) charging Judge Torres with having committed a Violation of the Code
of Judicial Conduct relative to Civil Case No. 19063 entitled "Jose Maria A. Sembrano v. Ronick B. Aquino and Ritex
Philippines, Inc." for damages.
Sembrano averred that Civil Case No. 19063 was set for preliminary conference on January 27, 2004. Thereafter,
the case was referred for mediation proceedings. Due to the failure of the parties to arrive at an amicable
settlement, the case was again set for hearing on April 13, 2004. On even date, pre-trial was terminated and the
parties were directed to file their respective position papers and affidavits within ten (10) days from notice.
Sembrano complied on April 23, 2004 and, subsequently, he received copies of the defendants motion to admit
(position paper) with their position paper on May 12, 2004. Since no judgment had yet been rendered by
respondent judge despite the fact that the case had already been submitted for decision, Sembrano filed a
motion14 to resolve the case on August 31, 2004.
On March 3, 2005 and August 4, 2005, he filed his second and third motions15 to resolve, respectively. Meanwhile,
Assistant Court Administrator Antonio H. Dujua (ACA Dujua) referred Sembranos second motion to resolve to
Judge Torres and required her to advise the Office of the Court Administrator (OCA) of the action taken by her on

the matter.16 All the foregoing notwithstanding, Judge Torres still failed to render a decision in Civil Case No.
19063, which constrained Sembrano to file a fourth motion17 to resolve on December 29, 2005. On January 23,
2006, ACA Dujua again referred the motion to respondent judge for appropriate action.18 Finally, complainant
filed a fifth motion19 to resolve on January 19, 2007. Sembrano opined that since the case was governed by the
Rules on Summary Procedure, judgment was long overdue for more than three (3) years.
On September 3, 2007, CA Lock indorsed Sembranos complaint-affidavit to Judge Torres directing her to comment
thereon.20 This directive was reiterated in the December 20, 2007 Tracer-Letter21 to respondent judge. The
Registry Return Receipts indicated that both communications were received by Judge Torres on September 14,
2007 and January 16, 2008, respectively. Respondent judge did not file any comment on, or reply to, said letters.
Administrative Matter No. MTJ-08-1723 was lodged by one Marcelino Langcap (Langcap) in a letter-complaint22
dated March 26, 2007 charging Judge Torres with Delay in the Disposition of Civil Case Nos. 17765 and 18425
entitled "Spouses Marcelino and Teofista Langcap v. Florencia Langcap-Padilla" and "Spouses Marcelino and
Teofista Langcap v. Antonio Lagpitanghat," respectively, both for ejectment.
Langcap claimed that after the termination of the joint preliminary conference in the two cases on September 19,
2003, the parties were directed to submit their respective position papers together with the affidavits of their
witnesses and other evidence within ten (10) days from receipt of the preliminary conference order.23 The parties
received copies of said order on February 11, 2004 and then filed the required pleadings and documents within the
reglementary period. Langcap maintained that judgment on both cases was due as early as March 2004 pursuant
to Section 11, Rule 70 of the Rules of Court. When Langcap and his counsel inquired as to the status of said cases
on August 20, 2004, he was assured by Judge Torres that the decision was "already being finalized and [would]
soon be released."24 Until the filing of his letter-complaint, Langcap had yet to receive the decision.
The Court notes that this propensity of respondent Judge Torres to disregard, if not challenge, the authority of this
Court is again shown in another administrative matter pending before Us. In OCA IPI No.08-1966-MTJ, respondent
judge was required to show cause why she should not be administratively dealt with for refusing to comment
and/or to take appropriate action on the charge of violation of the Code of Judicial Conduct despite two directives
from the OCA. There are three other pending administrative matters involving respondent judge, namely, OCA IPI
No. 04-1606-MTJ, "Arturo Maturan v. Judge Lizabeth G. Torres" for unreasonable delay in resolving criminal case,
gross inefficiency, etc.; OCA IPI No.03-1496-MTJ, "Teresa Winternitz and Raquel Gonzales v. Judge Lizabeth G.
Torres" for violation of Article 7, Section 15 of the 1987 Constitution, Canon 3, Rule 3.08 and 3.09, Code of Judicial
Conduct and grave prejudice; and OCA IPI No.03-1464-MTJ, "Michael G. Plata v. Judge Lizabeth G. Torres" for
inefficiency, gross negligence, grave abuse of discretion and violation of the Code of Judicial Conduct. These,
however, are not pertinent in the resolution and adjudication of the present cases as respondent judges
infractions here alone clearly show that she has failed to live up to the exacting standards of her office.
The magnitude of her transgressions in the present consolidated cases - gross inefficiency, gross ignorance of the
law, dereliction of duty, violation of the Code of Judicial Conduct, and insubordination, taken collectively, cast a
heavy shadow on her moral, intellectual and attitudinal competence. She has shown herself unworthy of the
judicial robe and place of honor reserved for guardians of justice. Thus, the Court is constrained to impose upon
her the severest of administrative penalties dismissal from the service, to assure the peoples faith in the
judiciary and the speedy administration of justice.
WHEREFORE, respondent Judge Lizabeth Gutierrez-Torres, Presiding Judge of the Metropolitan Trial Court of
Mandaluyong City, Branch 60, is hereby DISMISSED from the service with forfeiture of all retirement benefits

except earned leave and vacation benefits, with prejudice to employment in any branch of the government or any
of its instrumentalities including government-owned and controlled corporations.
This decision is immediately executory. Respondent judge is ordered to cease and desist from discharging the
functions of her Office upon receipt. Let a copy of this Decision be entered in the personnel records of respondent
judge.

A.C. No. 5859

November 23, 2010

ATTY. CARMEN LEONOR M. ALCANTARA, VICENTE P. MERCADO, SEVERINO P. MERCADO AND SPOUSES JESUS
AND ROSARIO MERCADO, Complainants,
Vs.
ATTY. EDUARDO C. DE VERA, Respondent.
Facts:
Atty. Eduardo De Vera won a case for Rosario Mercado. De Vera garnished the bank account of the opposing party
but he did not remit the same to Mercado, instead he claimed that he used the same to pay off the judge and
whats left was for his attorneys fees. Mercado filed an administrative complaint and eventually De Vera was
suspended from the practice of law for one year. In obvious retaliation, he filed various complaints against
Mercado and her family, the IBP officers who suspended and several others. He attempted to re-open the case of
her client in an attempt to collect more attorneys fees. He also instigated the opposing party in the case he won
for Mercado to file lawsuits against Mercado. The complaints were dismissed but he re-filed them nonetheless.
Issue:
Whether or not De Vera should be disbarred
Held:
Yes. What he did is grossly unethical and filled with ill-motive. It is the duty of the Supreme Court to remove from
the profession a person whose misconduct has proved him unfit to be entrusted with the duties and
responsibilities belonging to an office of an attorney, and thus to protect the public and those charged with the
administration of justice, rather than to punish the attorney.
Further, De Vera is in violation of Canon 21 of the Code of Professional Responsibility.
CANON 21 - A LAWYER SHALL PRESERVE THE CONFIDENCE AND SECRETS OF HIS CLIENT EVEN AFTER THE
ATTORNEY-CLIENT RELATION IS TERMINATED
Rule 21.01 - A lawyer shall not reveal the confidences or secrets of his client except:

a) When authorized by the client after acquianting him of the consequences of the disclosure;
b) When required by law;
c) When necessary to collect his fees or to defend himself, his employees or associates or by judicial action.
Rule 21.02 - A lawyer shall not, to the disadvantage of his client, use information acquired in the course of
employment, nor shall he use the same to his own advantage or that of a third person, unless the client with full
knowledge of the circumstances consents thereto.
Rule 21.03 - A lawyer shall not, without the written consent of his client, give information from his files to an
outside agency seeking such information for auditing, statistical, bookkeeping, accounting, data processing, or any
similar purpose.
Rule 21.04 - A lawyer may disclose the affairs of a client of the firm to partners or associates thereof unless
prohibited by the client.
Rule 21.05 - A lawyer shall adopt such measures as may be required to prevent those whose services are utilized
by him, from disclosing or using confidences or secrets of the client.
Rule 21.06 - A lawyer shall avoid indiscreet conversation about a clients affairs even with members of his family.
Rule 21.07 - A lawyer shall not reveal that he has been consulted about a particular case except to avoid possible
conflict of interest.
In filing cases against Mercado, De Vera used matters and information acquired by him when he was still the
counsel for Mercado. A lawyer owes loyalty and fidelity to his client even if the lawyer-client relationship has
already terminated. A lawyer shall preserve the confidence and secrets of his client even after the attorney-client
relation is terminated.

A.M. No. P-10-2781

November 24, 2010

PASTOR C. PINLAC, Complainant,


Vs.
OSCAR T. LLAMAS, Cash Clerk II, Regional Trial Court, Office of the Clerk of Court, San Carlos City, Pangasinan,
Respondent.
Facts:
This is an administrative matter, and the complaint was submitted by Pastor P. Pinlac charging respondent Oscar T.
Llamas, of misconduct. The complainant alleged that he went to the Office of the Clerk of Court, San Carlos City,
Pangasinan, to seek assistance for the facilitation of the titling of the land that he and his siblings inherited from
their deceased parents. The respondent offered him assistance, but asked for an initial sum of P2,000.00. The

complainant acceded and gave the demanded amount; subsequently, he gave the respondent another P2,000.00
after the latter had claimed that the initial amount was insufficient. The complainant alleged that he gave the
respondent a total of P10,000.00. Despite all these and the lapse of two years, the respondent failed to deliver the
promised title.
In the comment of the respondent, he denied everything stating that complainant came to him looking for a
surveyor and it just happened that he knew of one. Also the money was given to the surveyor not to him.
The Court, in its Resolution of June 10, 2003, accepted the resignation of the respondent as Cash Clerk II, Office of
the Clerk of Court, RTC, San Carlos City, Pangasinan, without prejudice to the continuation and outcome of the
administrative complaint against him.
Issue:
Whether or not the respondent Oscar T. Llamas is guilty of misconduct
Held:
Yes. In the present case, the findings of facts show that the complainant met the respondent at the courthouse
while the complainant was working on the titling of an inherited property. The respondent offered assistance and
introduced the complainant to the surveyor, to facilitate the desired titling. While this introduction might have
been an innocuous move, as the Investigating Judge saw it, the surrounding circumstances of the move should
have alerted the Judge and the OCA that it might not have been as neutral nor as legitimate as it seemed.

In the first place, the respondent was a Cash Clerk II whose duties did not involve the discussion of pending cases
with litigants; cash clerks solely attend to official financial transactions between the court and outside parties
dealing with the court. It appears from the records, too, that the complainant and the respondent had no previous
relationship that would have justified the assistance the latter offered outside of the scope of his official duties.
They were not friends, relatives, or acquaintances to each other; they appear to have met in the course of the
complainants visit to the court to work on the titling of his property. Thus, their initial common point of interest
was the titling of land that was then pending before the court where the respondent worked.
Second, the referral to the surveyor was not an ordinary concern of a cash clerk and was not a casual referral; the
respondent appeared to have gone out of his way to get the complainant and the surveyor to meet. In fact, the
surveyor was from another office and a meeting necessarily had to be arranged, and was indeed arranged by the
respondent.
Third, in the course of the meeting, a transaction was undisputably arranged where the surveyor was to work on
the titling of the land for a fee. Significantly, the task was not simply to do a survey, as can be expected of
surveyors, but to work on the titling and the release of the title.
Lastly and most importantly, the first payment was made to the respondent himself, thus indicating that his role
was not as neutral as the simple "assistance" that he termed it to be. He was a part of the transaction, although he
ostensibly handed the first payment to the surveyor and the latter made all the subsequent billings. We find it
significant, in this regard, that the complainant made his follow-up on the release of his title with the respondent
and had even asked the respondent to contact the surveyor for the return of the money paid. These indicated how
active and deep the respondents role was.

In the present case, the court is convinced, after going beyond the obvious facts, that the respondent was acting as
a "fixer," and was not simply rendering "assistance" because he was impelled to render the ideal in public service
of catering to clients legitimate needs. We disagree, too, with the OCA conclusion that the complainants actions
were simply inappropriate because "Llamas allowed himself to appear to be acting as an agent, broker, or
middleman to Pinlac and the surveyor." This OCA conclusion glosses over the other circumstances pointed out
above that, although not highlighted, are not disputed and are for the decision maker to properly appreciate and
evaluate. Missing among the pieces of direct evidence, of course, is the actual agreement between the respondent
and the surveyor as well as the actual division of spoils evidence that would have clearly brought the present
case within the realm of criminal anti-graft laws. The omissions of these pieces of direct evidence, nevertheless,
the conclusion from the undisputed facts and the directly deduced circumstances is inescapable that the
respondent was not simply rendering a legitimate service but had ventured into the field of fixing.
The respondents acts would have squarely fallen under Section 52(A)(11), Rule IV of the Uniform Rules on
Administrative Cases in the Civil Service (CSC Memorandum Circular No. 19, series of 1999), were it not for the
proven turnover of the initially demanded P2,000.00 to the surveyor. Other than on the basis of this provision,
however, the respondent is liable under Section 52(A)(3) for grave misconduct.
WHEREFORE, respondent Oscar T. Llamas is found GUILTY of grave misconduct. In light of his prior resignation and
out of compassion, we impose on him a FINE of TWENTY THOUSAND PESOS (P20,000.00) for which he shall be held
personally liable even beyond whatever benefits may still be due him by reason of his past service. No costs.

A.M. No. P-09-2602

December 1, 2010

All of the RTC, Branch 275, Las Pias City, Complainants,


Vs.
Ms. LOIDA MARCELINA J. GENABE, Respondent.
Facts:
This administrative case contains two antecedent separate cases which is A.M. OCA IPI No. 07-2583-P and A.M.
OCA IPI No. 08-2792-RTJ and this case is the resolution. It all started with A.M. OCA IPI No. 07-2583-P with a letterpetition, dated March 12, 2007,1 filed by the courts staff, led by Atty. Jonna M. Escabarte, Branch Clerk of Court,
praying that Ms. Loida Marcelina J. Genabe, Legal Researcher of the same court, be placed under preventive
suspension. The second, A.M. OCA IPI No. 08-2792-RTJ, involves Genabes countercharges of (1) acts of oppression
and malversation of funds against Judge Bonifacio Sanz Maceda, and (2) dishonesty and falsification of daily time
records (DTRs) against Escabarte; Leticia B. Agbayani, Court Stenographer; Claire Layco-Gerero, Court
Stenographer; Ana Dalore-Ramos, Court Stenographer; Josefino R. Ortiz, Sheriff; Sotera T. Javier, Court Interpreter;
Edgar F. Villar, Clerk; and Nelly R. Chavez, Utility Aide.
The letter petition of the staff of the RTC branch 275 Las Pinas City started it all, suspending Genabe for 30 days for
neglect of duty. But Genabe continued service even with the 30 day suspension so Judge Maceda and the judges
recommendation, contained in his investigation, report and recommendation submitted to the Office of the Court
Administrator (OCA), that Genabe be preventively suspended and, thereafter, dismissed from the service.
The issued the order because Genabe has become unruly and highly combative in the staff meeting shouting
disrespectfully to him, "hindi na ko kailangan karinyo karinyohin pa ninyo, ang kakapal nyo, hindi kagalang galang,"
The IRRC, on the other hand, came about when Judge Maceda, at his own initiative, conducted an investigation of
Genabe for attending the convention with an unfinished assigned task and for conduct unbecoming, pursuant to
Rule 135 of the Rules of Court, Circular No. 30-91 dated September 30, 1991, and the ruling in Aguirre v. Baltazar.
In a turnaround, Genabe accused the court staff of having their bundy cards punched in and out "on-time" by just
one employee, as confirmed by the monthly attendance record of the employees. She alleged that she actually
witnessed court interpreter Javier punch the DTRs of several employees; yet, despite the false entries in the DTRs,
Escabarte certified the correctness of the DTRs; Judge Maceda himself had no way of knowing the anomalous
practice as he himself reports for work only at two oclock in the afternoon daily. Finally, Genabe claimed that

Judge Maceda treated her oppressively to drive her out of her employment in the judiciary and to get even with
her on account of her intolerance of the anomalous practices prevailing in the court. She narrated that Judge
Maceda would insult her during staff meetings and, on numerous occasions, even demanded that she resign from
office; Judge Macedas alter ego, Agbayani, had been securing the signatures of court and non-court employees of
Las Pias City to substantiate the complaints against her, thus isolating her and rendering her inutile since no work
had been assigned to her from the time she reported back for work.
Further, Genabe accused Judge Maceda of malversation when the judge allegedly diverted to other purposes the
courts training budget for 2006, obtained from the Las Pias City government, as there had been no
seminar/training had been conducted.

Issue:
1.
2.
3.
4.

Whether or not Genabe is guilty of conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service and conduct
unbecoming of a court employee
Whether or not Judge Maceda had authority to directly discipline Genabe
Whether or not malversation of funds by Judge Maceda is true
Whether or not the charges of dishonesty and falsification of public documents in A.M. OCA IPI No. 082792-RTJ against Jonna M. Escabarte, Leticia Agbayani, Nelly Chavez, Josefino Ortiz, Claire Gerero, Sotera
Javier, Ana Ramos and Edgar Villar

Held:
The Court Finds the OCAs decision well founded. Genabe ought to be disciplined. Even if she wal already
sanctioned by Judge Maceda with a 30 day suspension, her work ethic and quarrelsome deportment in office is not
something the court can turn a blind eye to. The OCA itself found the unsavory and defamatory remarks Genabe
threw at her officemates to have been made in a fit of anger, the product of uncontrolled rage and passionate
outburst of emotions, unavoidably creating an unwholesome atmosphere in the court. It is no surprise then that
the court staff urged Judge Maceda to deny Genabes lateral transfer and to ask her to resign and seek
employment elsewhere. Without doubt, Genabes negative attitude and penchant for using offensive language can
only prejudice the best interest of the service, not to mention that they constitute conduct unbecoming a court
employee. It is well to remind Genabe that "the conduct and behavior of everyone connected with the
dispensation of justice, from the presiding judge to the lowliest clerk must be characterized with propriety and
decorum, as Genabes attitude goes against the principles of public service.
Also the court agrees with the OCAs observations that while the act of Judge Maceda in disciplining Genabe with a
30-day suspension is "not oppressive, capricious or despotic, he still had no authority to directly discipline her
under the terms of A.M. No. 03-8-02-SC, which provides:
CHAPTER VIII. Administrative Discipline.
SECTION 1. Disciplinary jurisdiction over light offenses. The Executive Judge shall have the authority to act upon
and investigate administrative complaints involving light offenses as defined under the Civil Service Law and Rules
(Administrative Code of 1987), and the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees
(Republic Act No. 6713), where the penalty is reprimand, suspension for not more than thirty (30) days, or a fine
not exceeding thirty (30) days salary, and as classified in pertinent Civil Service resolutions or issuances, filed by (a)

a judge against a court employee, except lawyers, who both work in the same station within the Executive Judges
area of supervision; or (b) a court employee against another court employee, except lawyers, who both work in the
same station within the Executive Judges area of supervision; In the preceding instances, the Executive Judge shall
conduct the necessary inquiry and submit to the Office of the Court Administrator the results thereof with a
recommendation as to the action to be taken thereon, including the penalty to be imposed, if any, within thirty
(30) days from termination of said inquiry. At his/her discretion, the Executive Judge may delegate the
investigation of complaints involving light offenses to any of the Presiding Judges or court officials within his/her
area of administrative supervision.
Under these terms, Judge Macedas order of December 21, 2006 was clearly out of line. But while the Judge
overstepped the limits of his authority, we see no reason not to ratify his action in light of its obvious merits. Thus,
the 30-day suspension he imposed should stand but he should be warned against a repetition of the direct action
he took.
On the matter of the Judges handling of the fund for Subic, provided by the Las Pias City, the court agrees with
the OCA that the judge cannot not be held liable. Although believe that the Judge should have taken steps such
as the informing the court staff or filing of a report with the OCA on how the fund was handled. This
precautionary move would have placed the Judge above any suspicion of impropriety.
The court held that Loida Marcelina J. Genabe is GUILTY of conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service
and conduct unbecoming of a court employee; is ordered to pay a FINE equivalent to her one months salary; and
is WARNED that a similar violation in the future shall be dealt with more severely.
Judge Bonifacio Sanz Maceda is WARNED, and is advised to avoid any appearance of impropriety in the handling of
financial assistance from the local government.
The charges of dishonesty and falsification of public documents in A.M. OCA IPI No. 08-2792-RTJ against Jonna M.
Escabarte, Leticia Agbayani, Nelly Chavez, Josefino Ortiz, Claire Gerero, Sotera Javier, Ana Ramos and Edgar Villar
are DISMISSED for lack of merit.

A.M. No. P-09-2714

December 6, 2010

FERNANDO P. CHAN, Complainant,


Vs.
JOVEN T. OLEGARIO, Respondent.
Facts:
On July 30, 2007, Frenando P. Chan Filed a criminal complaint against Joven Olegario Process Server of the
Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Makati City, Branch 6, Iligan City, for Estafa.
Complainant Chan is the owner/proprietor of XRG Hardware and Construction Supply located at Tibanga Highway,
Iligan City. Olegario went to Chans Hardware to get some Construction supplies and introduced himself to be

Government employee and showed documents as proof. He asked for construction materials and promised to pay
when he receives the proceeds from the loan he got from GSIS as well as an interest of 20% per annum.
Believing Olegarios words as he is a government employee, Chan delivered construction materials to Olegario
amounting to Four Thousand Five Hundred and Ten (P4510.00)
After 3 months, Chan demanded payment from Olegario but he told him that he has not received his loan from
GSIS so he cannot pay but promised to pay soon with interest.
Chan endured for 7 years to no avail and still got nothing from Olegario.
On October 16, 2007, the Court directed Olegario to submit his comment on the instant complaint against him.
In his Comment dated March 4, 2008, Olegario denied that he had been evading his obligation to pay his debts to
Chan. He alleged that his wife died on February 6, 2008 after a month of fighting a massive stroke, thus, he had to
attend to the needs of his wife. Olegario likewise manifested that he attempted to tender partial payment to Chan,
but the latter refused it. He asked the Court to give him more time to settle his obligation to Chan.
Issue:
Whether or not Olegario is guilty of conduct unbecoming of a court employee.
Held:
Yes. There is no question as to the existence of the debt and its justness as Olegario himself admitted them.
Likewise, Olegario's allegation of financial difficulties is not a sufficient excuse for failing to pay his debt to Chan.
He claimed that he had no intention of evading his obligation, but we are unconvinced. The fact that it took more
than seven years before he attempted to pay his obligation clearly negated his claim.
Moreover, we also take note that it was Olegario's pronouncement that he is a court employee which induced
Chan to trust him and extend a loan to him. Thus, Olegario's non-payment of his debt for more than 7 years not
only tainted his name but the court's image as well.
Furthermore, the fact that Chan, on December 12, 2009, manifested that he is no longer interested to pursue the
instant administrative case since he and Olegario have already agreed to settle their dispute amicably would not
render this case moot. The withdrawal of complaints cannot divest the Court of its jurisdiction nor strip it of its
power to determine the veracity of the charges made and to discipline, such as the results of its investigation may
warrant, an erring respondent. Administrative actions cannot depend on the will or pleasure of the complainant
who may, for reasons of his own, condone what may be detestable. Neither can the Court be bound by the
unilateral act of the complainant in a matter relating to its disciplinary power. The Courts interest in the affairs of
the judiciary is of paramount concern. For sure, public interest is at stake in the conduct and actuations of officials
and employees of the judiciary, inasmuch as the various programs and efforts of this Court in improving the
delivery of justice to the people should not be frustrated and put to naught by private arrangements between the
parties as in the instant case.
Likewise, the fact that Olegario settled his obligation with complainant during the pendency of the present
complaint does not exculpate him from administrative liability. Willful failure to pay just debt amounts to conduct
unbecoming a court employee.

The court finds Joven T. Olegario guilty of conduct unbecoming of a court employee for which he is fined in the
amount of P5,000.00 with STERN WARNING that a repetition of the same or similar acts shall be dealt with more
severely.

A.M. No. P-05-2003

December 6, 2010

GERMAN AGUNDAY, Complainant,


Vs.
LEMUEL B. VELASCO, Deputy Sheriff, Office of the Clerk of Court, Regional Trial Court, Virac, Catanduanes,
Respondent.
This case traces its roots from a civil case (for recovery of ownership and possession with damages) filed by Lope
Panti, Sr. and Francisca Panti (plaintiffs) before the RTC, Branch 43, Virac, Catanduanes, against the complainant
(therein defendant). The RTC decided in favor of the plaintiffs. The dispositive portion of this decision reads:
WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered:
(1) Declaring Transfer Certificate of Title No. 3892 in the name of plaintiff Francisca Panti valid;
(2) Ordering defendant to vacate that portion of subject lot equivalent to 23.1357 square meters of the 56.4737 he
actually occupies on Lot C-1 immediately adjoining the area actually occupied by plaintiffs;
(3) Ordering plaintiffs to reconvey to defendant 13.3380 square meters of the land erroneously included in
Transfer Certificate of Title No. 3892.
In this case German Agunday charges Prospero V. Tablizo, Deputy Sheriff Lemuel B. Velasco, Process Server
Valentin Gonzales and Court Aide Isidro Guerrero, all from the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Virac, Catanduanes,
with grave misconduct, gross ignorance of the law, and incompetence.
The complainant appealed to the Court of Appeals (CA), with the appeal docketed as CA-G.R. CV No. 37494. The
CA, in its decision of August 9, 1995, modified the RTC decision, as follows:
The appealed decision is hereby modified: plaintiff is directed to reconvey to the defendant/appellant an area
measuring 13.38 square meters.3
In his affidavit-complaint, the complainant alleges that Tablizo, as Clerk of Court and Ex-Officio Provincial Sheriff,
issued, on July 9, 1996, a writ of execution and possession which varied the terms of the dispositive portion of the

CA decision. Pursuant to this writ, Velasco, Gonzales and Guerrero, in conspiracy with the plaintiffs, caused the
demolition of his (Agundays) house without first notifying him or his brother-in-law, Santos Burce. Velasco,
Gonzales and Guerrero allegedly effected the demolition without coordinating with the barangay officials and the
Municipal Engineering Office, and without securing a writ of demolition from the RTC. The complainant further
claims that Velasco, Gonzales and Guerrero did not prevent the plaintiffs from taking his personal belongings from
the demolished house.
The complainant maintains that the 13.38-square meter land subject of the modified CA decision has not been
reconveyed to him. Velasco, however, made it appear in the Certificate of Turn-Over of Real Estate Property
Ownership dated August 21, 1996, that the 13.38-square meter lot had already been turned over to him.
Issue:
Whether or not Sheriff Lemuel B. Velasco is found guilty of simple neglect of duty
Held:
Yes. The court agrees with the OCA that Velasco is administratively liable for neglect of duty. We, however, modify
the penalty imposed on him. Velasco, for his failure to reconvey the 13.38 square meters of the subject property to
the complainant. We find no merit in his excuse that his failure to implement the writ of execution and possession
was due to the complainants refusal to sign the Certificate of Turn-Over of Real Estate Property Ownership.
The records disclose that when Velasco received the writ of execution and possession, he saw the need for a
relocation survey in order to determine the 13.38 square meters that must be reconveyed to the complainant. He
informed Lope of the need for a relocation survey, and left to him the hiring of the surveyor. Lope hired a surveyor
and ordered him (surveyor) to conduct a relocation survey. Thereafter, Lope ordered the demolition of the
complainants house based on the result of the relocation survey that the house was encroaching on.
As the implementing sheriff, it was Velascos duty to inform both Lope and the complainant regarding the need for
a relocation survey, to ensure that the relocation survey would be witnessed by all the parties concerned. He has
to personally supervise the conduct of the relocation survey, and not delegate this duty to one of the interested
parties. More importantly, he should have requested the surveyor, during the survey, to point to the complainant
the exact metes and bounds of the property to be reconveyed to him. As explained by Judge Almonte in her
Investigation Report:
Velasco cannot deliver the portion of the lot decreed for Agunday by merely making him sign the Certificate of
Turn-Over of Real Estate Property Ownership that he prepared. There should be an actual delivery, pointing to
Agunday the metes and bounds of the 13.38 square meters pursuant to the survey plan prepared by the surveyor.
Also, the relocation survey should have been conducted in the presence of both parties in Civil Case No. 1528,
possibly assisted by their counsel. The particular surveyor should have been the choice of both and not the
unilateral preference of one party. Velasco, as the implementing Sheriff had to supervise the conduct of the
relocation survey. It appears, however, that it was only Lope Panti who was informed by the Sheriff about the need
for the relocation survey and he left it to the former, the hiring of a surveyor. The survey was then conducted on
July 23, 1996[,] right after the house was demolished and this was without the direct supervision of Velasco.
Agunday was not present. Yet on the basis of the results of the survey, Velasco prepared the Certificate of TurnOver of Real Estate Property Ownership (Exh. 1-I). Agunday, however, did not sign the certificate. Thereafter,
Velasco filed in Court a Sheriff Partial Return of Writ of Execution, indicating, among others, that Agunday "did not
recognize" the survey made by Engr. Fernando Asuncion and the area of 13.38 square meters was not officially

reconveyed to him. So the court cannot fault the complainant for refusing to recognize the results of the relocation
survey. As earlier discussed, he was not informed by Velasco regarding the need for a relocation survey. Neither
did he witness the relocation survey. In addition, the surveyor was hired by Lope, and the survey was done at the
latters instance. These circumstances rendered the integrity of the survey highly suspect.
Velasco also failed to comply with Section 14, Rule 39 of the Rules of Court. Under this Rule, the lifetime of a writ
of execution is without limit for as long as the judgment has not been satisfied, but is "returnable to the court
issuing it immediately after the judgment has been satisfied in part or in full. If the judgment cannot be satisfied in
full within thirty (30) days after his receipt of the writ, the officer shall report to the court and state the reason
therefore." The officer is mandated to "make a report to the court every thirty (30) days on the proceedings taken
thereon until judgment is satisfied in full, or its effectivity expires."
The court finds Sheriff Lemuel B. Velasco guilty of simple neglect of duty and is FINED in an amount equivalent to
his salary for one (1) month. He is warned that the commission of the same offense or a similar act in the future
will be dealt with more severely. Let a copy of this decision be attached to his personal record.
A.M. No. RTJ-06-2007

December 6, 2010

CARMEN EDAO, Complainant,


vs.
Judge FATIMA G. ASDALA, Respondent.
Facts:
In the letter complaint of Carmen Edano, she was the plaintiff in the case Civil Case No. Q-97-30576, asking for
support pendente lite from the respondent entitled "Carlo Edao and Jay-ar Edao, represented by Carmen Edano
v. George F. Butler," pending before the Regional Trial Court, Branch 87, Quezon City, presided over by the
respondent judge.
The complainant claimed that the respondent judge made it appear that Civil Case No. Q-97-30576 was decided on
March 22, 2005, although the records show that she (respondent judge) still ruled on several motions relating to
this case even after that date. The complainant further alleged that the respondent judge erred in denying her
notice of appeal.
OCA required the respondent Judge to comment on the matter and the respondent judge said that she had
rendered the decision on March 22, 2005, although it was mailed on a later date. Even assuming that there was
delay in rendering the decision, the delay was not deliberate. She added that the complainant was not prejudiced
by the delay as she continuously received support pendente lite from the defendant.
In the complainants reply, she maintained that the respondent judge violated the 90-day reglementary period for
rendering decisions.
In OCAs report recommended that the respondent judge be fined in the amount of P10,000.00 for undue delay in
rendering a decision, with a stern warning that a commission of similar acts in the future will be dealt with more
severely.
Issue:

Whether or not is guilty of undue delay in rendering a decision.

Held:
Yes. The court agrees with the OCAs findings that the respondent judge is guilty of undue delay in rendering a
decision. Section 15, Article VIII of the Constitution requires judges to decide all cases within three months from
the date of submission. This Constitutional policy is reiterated in Rule 1.02, Canon 1 of the Code of Judicial Conduct
which states that a judge should administer justice impartially and without delay; and Rule 3.05, Canon 3 of the
same Code provides that a judge shall dispose of the courts business promptly and decide cases within the
required periods.
In this case, the civil case No. Q-97-30576 had been submitted for decision on December 9, 2004 so the decision is
due on March 9, 2005 so when she decided the case on March 22, 2005, the 90 day reglementary period was
already finished. The respondent judges explanation that the complainant was not prejudiced by the delay is
immaterial, as it is her constitutional duty to decide the case within three months from the date of submission.
The court finds Judge Fatima G. Asdala guilty of undue delay in rendering a decision. Accordingly, she is FINED Ten
Thousand Pesos (P10,000.00)

A.M. No. P-10-2825

December 7, 2010

DEVELOPMENT BANK OF THE PHILIPPINES, represented by Atty. Benilda A. Tejada, Petitioner,


Vs.
Clerk of Court VI LUNINGNING Y. CENTRON and Sheriff IV ALEJANDRO L. TOBILLO, Respondents.
Facts:
This is a complaint against respondents Luningning Y. Centron and Sheriff Alejandro L. Tobillo for or Grave
Misconduct, Dereliction of Duty and Conduct Prejudicial to the Best Interest of the Government, filed by the
Development Bank of the Philippines. DBP filed a petition for extrajudicial foreclosure against RMC
Telecommunications Consultants, Inc. Subsequently, a notice of auction sale was issued by Tobillo setting the date
of the auction sale on December 23, 2008 with an alternative date of January 23, 2009. Before the scheduled date
on December 23, 2008, Tobillo informed the head of DBP Calapan Branch that the auction sale might be
postponed if the "two-bidder rule" would not be observed. The DBPs lawyer for Southern Tagalog wrote Tobillo as
well as Atty. Centron to remind them that the "two-bidder rule" was no longer being observed following this
Courts Resolution of January 30, 2001, amending paragraph 5 of A.M. No. 99-10-05-0.
DPB head showed up at the first scheduled date of auction sale. Tobillo refused to proceed claiming that Instead of
furnishing DBP with a copy of the Minutes of the Auction stating the reasons for the postponement, he simply
verbally informed the DBP Head that DBPs application for foreclosure of real estate and chattel mortgages should
be covered by separate petitions. On January 23, 2009, DBP was represented and ready to bid but no auction sale
was conducted because Tobillo failed to appear.

In her Comment, Atty. Centron claimed that as soon as she found out about the conflict regarding the subject
auction sale, she immediately summoned Tobillo and directed him to perform his duties with dispatch, as
evidenced by her letter dated December 22, 2008 and received by Tobillo on the same day. In the said letter, she
gave specific instructions to Tobillo to proceed with the auction sale, and reminded him that the "two bidder rule"
was no longer observed.
Regarding the conduct of extrajudicial foreclosures, this Court, as early as January 30, 2001, issued a resolution
amending paragraph 5 of A.M. 99-10-05-0 explicitly dispensing with the "two-bidder rule."
Issue:
1.
2.

Whether or not respondent Alejandro L. Tobillo, Sheriff IV, guilty of gross neglect of duty
Whether or not Luningning Y. Centron is guilty of gross neglect of duty.

Held:
1.

Yes. In his letter to DBP, dated January 21, 2009, Tobillo categorically stated:
It is my position that it is our policy and rule based on Paragraph 5 of the Circular A.M. No. 99-10-05-0
provides: No auction sale shall be held unless there are at least two (2) participating bidders otherwise
the sale shall be postponed to another date. If on the new date set for the sale there shall not be at least
two (2) bidders, the sale shall then proceed. Although it was filed with the Office of the Clerk of Court and
Ex-officio sheriff which examined whether the applicant has complied with all requirements, it remains
my duty as sheriff to check whether the requirements have been complied with as to application of
petition with two (2) different and separate actions.
From Tobillos own words, there is no denying that he has not apprised himself of the current
developments in the rules concerning his very function and duty as a sheriff with respect to extrajudicial
foreclosures.
All employees in the judiciary should be examples of responsibility, competence, and efficiency. As
officers of the court and agents of the law, they must discharge their duties with due care and utmost
diligence. Any conduct they exhibit tending to diminish the faith of the people in the judiciary will not be
condoned.
The court finds respondent Alejandro L. Tobillo, Sheriff IV, guilty of gross neglect of duty, the Court hereby
imposes the penalty of DISMISSAL from service with FORFEITURE of all benefits except accrued leave
benefits.

2.

No. Atty. Centron, she is also charged with "Dereliction of Duty and Conduct Prejudicial to the Best
Interests of the Service and the Government." After an evaluation, the OCA found Atty. Centron guilty of
Simple Neglect of Duty and recommended that she be suspended for three months without pay.
As earlier mentioned in the decision, the examination of applications for extrajudicial foreclosure of
mortgages is now vested with the Clerk of Court by virtue of Circular No. 7-2002. Thus, and as pointed out
by the OCA, it was incumbent on Atty. Centron to determine any irregularity in DBPs petition to spare the
latter from "speculating too much on the probability of proceeding with the auction sale as originally or
alternatively scheduled." On the other hand, the Court takes note of Atty. Centrons submission that she
immediately summoned Tobillo and even issued a directive to the latter to perform his duties with
dispatch as shown in her letter to Tobillo dated December 22, 2008. In her January 23, 2009 letter,

addressed to the lawyer of DBP, Atty. Centron reiterated the actions she took in reeling in the obstinate
and unyielding Tobillo. She (referring to Atty. Centron herself) even advised him to read and study
carefully the guidelines/ procedures in the Extra-judicial Foreclosure of Mortgage as Amended and
proceed with the Auction Sale of the questioned petition/ foreclosure if and when he believes that the
same is in accordance with the said guidelines without further delay.
The court agrees that this remained short of the standard responsibility of Atty. Centron, but considering
that this is her first time to get a complaint of this nature and there is no evidence to support it
whatsoever, the court absolves her of any liability. She is, however, advised to perform her sworn duty of
closely supervising her subordinates in the discharge of their duties.
The court holds the decision that Atty. Luningning Y. Centron, Clerk of Court VI, of the Regional Trial
Court, Branch 39, Calapan City, Oriental Mindoro, is hereby ADMONISHED to faithfully perform her sworn
duty of closely supervising the activities of her subordinates with WARNING that a repetition of the same
would be dealt with more severely.
A.M. No. P-09-2638

December 7, 2010

OFFICE OF THE COURT ADMINISTRATOR, Complainant,


Vs.
JULIET C. BANAG, and MS. EVELYN R. GALVEZ, Respondents.
This case is an administrative case filed by the audit team of the office of the court administrator against Juliet
Banag and Evelyn R. Galvez. The OCA team made recommendations in its report and the office adopts the
recommendation of the team and endorses the same for approval with the court that:
This report be docketed as a regular administrative complaint against Juliet C. Banag, Clerk of Court and Ms. Evelyn
R. Galvez, Court Interpreter and former OIC-Clerk of Court, MTC, Plaridel, Bulacan
Ms. Juliet C. Banag, Clerk of Court, be DIRECTED within fifteen (15) days from receipt of notice to:

Explain in writing why she should not be administratively dealt with for committing the same infractions
Why she has cash on hand representing accumulated collections for the period May 2008 to August 2008
amounting to P38,628.00 for various funds and deposited only when uncovered and directed by the team
on August 28, 2008

MS. EVELYN R. GALVEZ, former OIC-Clerk of Court, be DIRECTED within fifteen (15) days from receipt of notice to:

SETTLE the following shortages and SUBMIT to the Fiscal Monitoring Division, FMO, OCA the copy of the
machine validated deposit slips as proof of compliance
EXPLAIN in writing why she should not be administratively dealt with for the above shortages and for
tampering the machine validation of the deposit slips as provided below

MS. JULIET C. BANAG and EVELYN R. GALVEZ be placed under preventive suspension considering that the acts
committed involve gross dishonesty and grave misconduct (for their violation/disregard of the circulars of the
Court on the proper management of judiciary funds
The person who should likewise be dealt with severely, for the loses/shortages incurred in the MTC, Plaridel,
Bulacan, was former OIC-Clerk of Court Evelyn R. Galvez, who was designated as Officer-in-Charge, vice Ms. Juliet

C. Banag for the period February 1, 2002 to January 31, 2008. During Ms. Galvezs accountability period, there
were deposit slips which were found to be tampered as to amount and/or date of deposit and also incurred the
following shortages:
JDF

P 238,750.15

Schedule 5

SAJF

179,195.50

Schedule 6

STF

10,000.00

Schedule 7

FF

87,136.00

Schedule 8

Mediation 185,500.00

Schedule 9

COCGF 29,490.70

Schedule 10

Total

P 730,072.35

The above extension of forty-five (45) days granted by the Court has already lapsed when Ms. Galvez partially
complied with the directive of the Court. As per letter of Judge Sheila Marie S. Geronimo-Orquillas, Presiding Judge
of Municipal Trial Court, Plaridel, Bulacan, dated April 14, 2010, respondent Galvez deposited the amount of
Seventy Thousand Pesos (P70,000.00) on March 18, 2010 to the Fiduciary Fund Account of Municipal Trial Court,
Plaridel, Bulacan, coursed through the present OIC-Clerk of Court, Ms. Belinda E. Salazar (Annex R). Thus, the total
amount of unrestituted shortage of Ms. Galvez as of date is computed as follows:
JDF

P 238,750.15.

SAJF

179,195.50

STF

10,000.00

FF

17,136.00

Mediation 185,500.00
COCGF 29,490.70
Total

P 660,072.35

The Court issued a Hold Departure Order against Galvez and Banag pending resolution of this administrative case.
Issue:
Whether or not Evelyn R. Galvez and Juliet C. Banag is guilty of gross dishonesty, grave misconduct, and continuous
absence without leave
Held:
Yes. The Clerk of Court is an important officer in our judicial system. His office is the nucleus of all court activities,
adjudicative and administrative. His administrative functions are as vital to the prompt and proper administration
of justice as his judicial duties. The Clerk of Court performs a very delicate function. He or she is the custodian of
the courts funds and revenues, records, property and premises. Being the custodian thereof, the Clerk of Court is

liable for any loss, shortage, destruction or impairment of said funds and property. Hence, Clerks of Court have
always been reminded of their duty to immediately deposit the various funds received by them to the authorized
government depositories, for they are not supposed to keep the funds in their custody. The same should be
deposited immediately upon receipt thereof with the City, Municipal or Provincial Treasurer where the court is
located.
Those who work in the judiciary, such as Galvez and Banag, must adhere to high ethical standards to preserve the
courts good name and standing. They should be examples of responsibility, competence and efficiency, and they
must discharge their duties with due care and utmost diligence since they are officers of the court and agents of
the law. Indeed, any conduct, act or omission on the part of those who would violate the norm of public
accountability and diminish or even just tend to diminish the faith of the people in the judiciary shall not be
countenanced. The Court has already given Galvez more than enough opportunity to be heard. On two occasions,
on July 27, 2009 and October 28, 2009, the Court granted Galvezs motions for extension of time to comply with
the Resolution dated June 1, 2009 of this Court ordering her to submit her explanation, accounting, and receipts.
Still, Galvez failed to submit said explanation during the extended period. Galvezs refusal to face head-on the
charges against her is contrary to the principle that the first impulse of an innocent person, when accused of
wrongdoing, is to express his/her innocence at the first opportune time.16 Galvezs silence and non-participation
in the present administrative proceedings, despite due notice and directives of this Court for her to submit
documents in her defense strongly indicate her guilt. It was only after the second extended period expired that
Galvez partially complied with the directives of this Court in its June 1, 2009 Resolution by depositing the amount
of P70,000.00 on March 18, 2010 to the Fiduciary Fund Account of the MTC, coursed through OIC-Clerk of Court
Salazar.
On the other hand, the Court finds Banags explanation unsatisfactory. Heavy caseload and time constraints are
not sufficient excuses. These are problems most Clerks of Court all over the country must contend with. It is up to
Banag to devise an effective and efficient system for her office so that it can attend to all the administrative
matters of the MTC, including the deposit in due time of court collections.
The Court, therefore, is left with no other recourse but to declare Galvez and Banag guilty of dishonesty and gross
misconduct, which are grave offenses punishable by dismissal. the Court finds respondent Evelyn R. Galvez and
Juliet C. Banag, former OIC-Clerk of Court and Clerk of Court, respectively, of the Municipal Trial Court of Plaridel,
Bulacan, GUILTY of gross dishonesty, grave misconduct, and continuous absence without leave; and imposes on
them the penalty of DISMISSAL from the service with forfeiture of all their leave credits and retirement benefits,
with prejudice to re-employment in any government agency, including government-owned and -controlled
corporations. The Civil Service Commission is ordered to cancel their civil service eligibility, if any, in accordance
with Section 9, Rule XIV of the Omnibus Rules Implementing Book V of Executive Order No. 292.

A.M. No. 10-5-7-SC

December 7, 2010

JOVITO S. OLAZO, Complainant,


Vs.
JUSTICE DANTE O. TINGA, Respondent

This is a disbarment case against retired Supreme Court Associate Justice Dante O. Tinga (respondent) filed by Mr.
Jovito S. Olazo. The respondent is charged of violating Rule 6.02, Rule 6.03 and Rule 1.01 of the Code of
Professional Responsibility for representing conflicting interests.
In March 1990, the complainant filed a sales application covering a parcel of land situated in Barangay Lower
Bicutan in the Municipality of Taguig. The land (subject land) was previously part of Fort Andres Bonifacio that was
segregated and declared open for disposition pursuant to Proclamation No. 2476, issued on January 7, 1986, and
Proclamation No. 172, issued on October 16, 1987.
There are three charges against respondent:
1.

2.

3.

The First Charge: Violation of Rule 6.02 - In the complaint, the complainant claimed that the respondent
abused his position as Congressman and as a member of the Committee on Awards when he unduly
interfered with the complainants sales application because of his personal interest over the subject land.
The complainant alleged that the respondent exerted undue pressure and influence over the
complainants father, Miguel P. Olazo, for the latter to contest the complainants sales application and
claim the subject land for himself. The complainant also alleged that the respondent prevailed upon
Miguel Olazo to accept, on various dates, sums of money as payment of the latters alleged rights over the
subject land. The complainant further claimed that the respondent brokered the transfer of rights of the
subject land between Miguel Olazo and Joseph Jeffrey Rodriguez, who is the nephew of the respondents
deceased wife.
The Second Charge: Violation of Rule 6.03 - The second charge involves another parcel of land within the
proclaimed areas belonging to Manuel Olazo, the complainants brother. The complainant alleged that
the respondent persuaded Miguel Olazo to direct Manuel to convey his rights over the land to Joseph
Jeffrey Rodriguez. As a result of the respondents promptings, the rights to the land were transferred to
Joseph Jeffrey Rodriguez. In addition, the complainant alleged that in May 1999, the respondent met with
Manuel for the purpose of nullifying the conveyance of rights over the land to Joseph Jeffrey Rodriguez.
The complainant claimed that the respondent wanted the rights over the land transferred to one Rolando
Olazo, the Barangay Chairman of Hagonoy, Taguig. The respondent in this regard executed an "Assurance"
where he stated that he was the lawyer of Ramon Lee and Joseph Jeffrey Rodriguez.
The Third Charge: Violation of Rule 1.01 - The complainant alleged that the respondent engaged in
unlawful conduct considering his knowledge that Joseph Jeffrey Rodriguez was not a qualified beneficiary
under Memorandum No. 119. The complainant averred that Joseph Jeffrey Rodriguez is not a bona fide
resident of the proclaimed areas and does not qualify for an award. Thus, the approval of his sales
application by the Committee on Awards amounted to a violation of the objectives of Proclamation No.
172 and Memorandum No. 119.

In the respondents comment, he claimed that the present complaint is the third malicious charge filed against him
by the complainant. The first one was submitted before the Judicial and Bar Council when he was nominated as an
Associate Justice of the Supreme Court; the second complaint is now pending with the Office of the Ombudsman,
for alleged violation of Section 3(e) and (i) of R.A. No. 3019, as amended. With his own supporting documents, the
respondent presented a different version of the antecedent events.
Issue:
Whether or not respondent is guilty of violation of rule 6.02, Rule 6.03 and Rule 1.01 of the Code of Professional
Responsibility

Held:
The issue in this case calls for a determination of whether the respondents actions constitute a breach of the
standard ethical conduct first, while the respondent was still an elective public official and a member of the
Committee on Awards; and second, when he was no longer a public official, but a private lawyer who represented
a client before the office he was previously connected with.
Since public office is a public trust, the ethical conduct demanded upon lawyers in the government service is more
exacting than the standards for those in private practice. Lawyers in the government service are subject to
constant public scrutiny under norms of public accountability. They also bear the heavy burden of having to put
aside their private interest in favor of the interest of the public; their private activities should not interfere with the
discharge of their official functions.
The first charge involves a violation of Rule 6.02 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. It imposes the following
restrictions in the conduct of a government lawyer:
A lawyer in the government service shall not use his public position to promote or advance his private interests,
nor allow the latter to interfere with his public duties.
The above provision prohibits a lawyer from using his or her public position to: (1) promote private interests; (2)
advance private interests; or (3) allow private interest to interfere with his or her public duties. We previously held
that the restriction extends to all government lawyers who use their public offices to promote their private
interests.
First, the records do not clearly show if the complainants sales application was ever brought before the
Committee on Awards. By the complaints own account, the complainant filed a sales application in March 1990
before the Land Management Bureau. By 1996, the complainants sales application was pending before the Office
of the Regional Director, NCR of the DENR due to the conflicting claims of Miguel Olazo, and, subsequently, of
Joseph Jeffrey Rodriguez. The records show that it was only on August 2, 2000 that the Office of the Regional
Director, NCR of the DENR rendered its decision, or after the term of the respondents elective public office and
membership to the Committee on Awards, which expired in 1997.
These circumstances do not show that the respondent did in any way promote, advance or use his private interests
in the discharge of his official duties. To repeat, since the sales application was not brought before the Committee
on Awards when the respondent was still a member, no sufficient basis exists to conclude that he used his position
to obtain personal benefits. We note in this regard that the denial of the complainants sales application over the
subject land was made by the DENR, not by the Committee on Awards.
Second, the complainants allegation that the respondent "orchestrated" the efforts to get the subject land does
not specify how the orchestration was undertaken. What appears clear in the records is the uncorroborated
Sinumpaang Salaysay of Miguel Olazo, dated May 25, 2003, categorically stating that the respondent had no
interest in the subject land, and neither was he a contracting party in the transfer of his rights over the subject
land. In the absence of any specific charge, Olazos disclaimer is the nearest relevant statement on the
respondents alleged participation, and we find it to be in the respondents favor.
Third, the other documents executed by Miguel Olazo, that the complainant presented to support his claim that
the respondent exerted undue pressure and influence over his father the Sinumpaang Salaysay, do not contain any
reference to the alleged pressure or force exerted by the respondent over Miguel Olazo. The documents merely

showed that the respondent helped Miguel Olazo in having his farm lots (covered by the proclaimed areas)
surveyed. They also showed that the respondent merely acted as a witness in the Sinumpaang Salaysay dated July
17, 1996. To our mind, there are neutral acts that may be rendered by one relative to another, and do not show
how the respondent could have influenced the decision of Miguel Olazo to contest the complainants sales
application. At the same time, we cannot give any credit to the Sinumpaang Salaysay, dated January 20, 2000, of
Manuel. They are not only hearsay but are contrary to what Miguel Olazo states on the record. We note that
Manuel had no personal knowledge, other than what Miguel Olazo told him, of the force allegedly exerted by the
respondent against Miguel Olazo.
In turn, the respondent was able to provide a satisfactory explanation - backed by corroborating evidence - of the
nature of the transaction in which he gave the various sums of money to Miguel Olazo and Francisca Olazo in the
year 1995.
All told, considering the serious consequences of the penalty of disbarment or suspension of a member of the Bar,
the burden rests on the complainant to present clear, convincing and satisfactory proof for the Court to exercise its
disciplinary powers. The respondent generally is under no obligation to prove his/her defense,38 until the burden
shifts to him/her because of what the complainant has proven. Where no case has in the first place been proven,
nothing has to be rebutted in defense.
With this in mind, we resolve to dismiss the administrative case against the respondent for the complainants
failure to prove by clear and convincing evidence that the former committed unethical infractions warranting the
exercise of the Courts disciplinary power.
So the court dismisses the administrative case for violation of Rule 6.02, Rule 6.03 and Rule 1.01 of the Code of
Professional Responsibility, filed against retired Supreme Court Associate Justice Dante O. Tinga, for lack of merit.

A.M. No. RTJ-06-1999

December 8, 2010

BANGKO SENTRAL NG PILIPINAS, Complainant,


Vs.
Executive Judge ENRICO A. LANZANAS, Regional Trial Court, Branch 7, Manila, Clerk of Court JENNIFER DELA
CRUZ-BUENDIA and Deputy Sheriff CARMELO V. CACHERO, Regional Trial Court, Office of the Clerk of Court,
Manila, Respondents.
Facts:
This case came from an administrative complaint by Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas for Garnishment of funds in the
total amount of PESOS: (P97,388,468.35) to Philippine Bank of Communications (PBCOM) and its counsel of record
who are not parties to the case."
The BSP alleged that, on January 19, 2000, Judge Rosmari D. Carandang issued a Writ of Attachment against the
assets and properties of the defendants, Orient Commercial Banking Corporation, Jose C. Go, Vicente C. Go,
Gotesco Properties, Inc. and Go Tong Electrical Supply, Inc. The writ was served, among others, on the various
malls owned by the defendants, resulting in the garnishment of the rentals of the tenants. By order of the court,

the corresponding check payments of the mall tenants were deposited to the Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP)
account of the RTC, Manila, under the management and custody of dela Cruz-Buendia.
On consecutive dates, Cachero made withdrawals from the garnished funds Atty. delos Reyes was named as the
payor, although the receipt referred to LBP Check No. 175296 which was issued by Judge Lanzanas and dela CruzBuendia. The BSP also claimed that the receipt was falsified by making it appear that Atty. Delos Reyes was the
payee when he did not pay any amount as beneficiary of the award.
Tan was also made a payor for consecutive disbursement vouchers, in which he was not a party to the PBCOM
case; neither was he a party to the BSP case.
The BSP protested that the withdrawals from the garnished rental payments in Civil Case No. 99-95993 were
irregular as a court has no power to lift a writ of preliminary attachment by a co-equal court. It stressed that the
RTC, Manila, Branch 42, no longer had jurisdiction over the case involving PBCOM and the Spouses Go because the
case records were transmitted to the Court of Appeals on March 7, 2003
On January 28, 2004, Judge Lanzanas filed his comment18 to the complaint. He strongly denied that he had
committed any improper or illegal act in connection with the withdrawal of the funds in dispute.
He claimed that the checks he signed were personally brought to his office by dela Cruz-Buendia and Cachero, but
he had nothing to do with the preparation of the checks, vouchers and other supporting documents. He allegedly
signed the checks as a matter of duty and out of respect for the writ of execution issued by Judge Purganan of the
RTC, Manila, Branch 42. He saw nothing in the checks or in the supporting documents which would invite suspicion
that something was wrong. He signed the checks in a ministerial capacity as executive judge, especially as he was
not told that there was any controversy regarding the amount to be paid to PBCOM.
Specifically, the BSP asked that the respondents be made liable, as follows:
1. Cachero - a. fraudulently causing the release of the P97,388,468.35 from the custody of the RTC, Manila, Branch
12, in Civil Case No. 99-95993; b. usurpation of authority; c. malversation of public funds; d. causing undue injury
to the government; e. disclosing or using confidential information; and f. falsification of public records.
2. Dela Cruz-Buendia - a. usurpation of judicial functions; b. malversation of public funds; c. violation of her duties
as clerk of court; d. causing undue injury to the government; e. disclosing or using confidential information; and f.
falsification of public records.
3. Judge Lanzanas - for gross negligence in the performance of his duties.
In a Memorandum dated March 24, 2006, the OCA recommended that:
1. The complaint be re-docketed as a regular administrative matter;
2. The charges against Judge Enrico Lanzanas be dismissed for insufficiency of evidence;
3. Respondent Deputy Sheriff Carmelo V. Cachero be suspended for six (6) months for simple misconduct;
4. Respondent Clerk of Court Jennifer H. dela Cruz-Buendia be penalized with a fine of P10,000.00 for simple
neglect of duty; and
5. Both Cachero and dela Cruz-Buendia be sternly warned against the commission of a similar offense.

Issue:
Whether or not BSPs Cachero, Dela Cruz-Buendia and Judge Lanzanas are true and they to be held liable
Held:
In the courts observation:
1.
2.

3.
4.

5.

6.

The present administrative matter involves the alleged irregular withdrawals of funds in custodia legis
The funds consist of the garnished amounts representing rental payments from lessees of defendants
Orient Commercial Banking Corporation held in custodia legis by the RTC, Branch 12, Manila, by virtue of
a writ of attachment;
Said garnished amounts, totaling about P85M, were subsequently released in favor of the PBCOM,
pursuant to a writ of execution pending appeal issued by Judge Guillermo Purganan;
Clearly, said release was irregular as the garnished amounts were under the custody of the RTC, pursuant
to the writ of attachment earlier issued by Judge Carandang of the same court against the defendants,
which cannot be interfered with without the permission of the proper court;
Respondent Judge Lanzanas inadvertence was not gross enough to merit sanction as he had no
participation in the preparation of the checks; he merely signed them in a ministerial capacity as executive
judge, but;
The same conclusion cannot be said of his co-respondents who are claiming good faith and compliance
with the procedure, set forth in the Rules of Court, in the withdrawal and subsequent release of the
subject funds.

Rule 57, Section 7(e) of the Rules of Court provides:


If the property sought to be attached is in custodia legis, a copy of the writ of attachment shall be filed with the
proper court or quasi-judicial agency, and notice of the attachment served upon the custodian of such property.
No evidence or record in the present case exists showing that the above provision had been complied with when
Cachero asked for the release of the garnished funds. No copy of the writ of attachment was filed with the proper
court, the RTC, Branch 12, Manila. The disputed funds were clearly under the custody of Branch 12, not Branch 42.
Sheriff Cachero cannot feign ignorance of the true nature of the funds he garnished. Cachero himself was
deputized, among other sheriffs, to implement the writ of garnishment issued by Judge Carandang of the RTC,
Branch 12, Manila, in Civil Case No. 99-95993, a case where Jose Go was one among several defendants, unlike in
Civil Case No. 01-101190 where only he and his wife Elvy were the defendants. The garnished funds, therefore, in
Civil Case No. 99-95993 cannot be said to belong to the spouses Go or, at the very least, do not belong to them
solely. Further, Cachero received official notification that the funds in question were already the subject of a notice
of garnishment issued, on January 19, 2000, by Judge Carandang in Civil Case No. 99-95993, as contained in the
Order of the Judge, attached to the reply of RTC Clerk of Court Jesusa P. Maningas to Cacheros notice of
garnishment.
Clerk of Court and Ex-Officio Sheriff dela Cruz-Buendia likewise cannot avoid liability by hiding behind the mantle
of "performance of a ministerial duty." She cannot merely say that she found the supporting papers for the release
of the funds to be in order. Like Cachero, she knew or should have known that the funds were under the custody
of Judge Carandang of the RTC, Branch 12, Manila, who, as early as February 7, 2000, issued an order directing the
Clerk of Court, RTC, Manila, to refer to the court all payments from lessees of the defendants in Civil Case No. 99-

95993 to the court, for its proper control. If as she said, her 15 years of service in the judiciary have been marked
by competence on her part, we wonder why she did not check the background of the documents presented to her,
especially in light of Judge Carandangs order and the big amounts involved.
For the foregoing reasons, the charges of usurpation of authority, malversation of public funds, causing undue
injury to the government, disclosing or using confidential information and falsification of public records against
Cachero and dela Cruz-Buendia are dismissed for lack of evidence.
The court therefore decides that Deputy Sheriff Carmelo V. Cachero is found GUILTY OF INEFFICIENCY AND
INCOMPETENCE IN THE PERFORMANCE OF OFFICIAL DUTIES, and is SUSPENDED for nine (9) months without pay.
Clerk of Court Jennifer H. dela Cruz-Buendia is declared GUILTY OF SIMPLE NEGLECT OF DUTY and is SUSPENDED
for three (3) months without pay.
Both of them are STERNLY WARNED against the commission of a similar offense.
The other charges against Cachero and dela Cruz-Buendia are DISMISSED for lack of evidence.

A.M. No. RTJ-10-2253

December 8, 2010

Atty. PERSEVERANDA L. RICON, Complainant,


vs.
Judge PLACIDO C. MARQUEZ, Respondent.
Facts:
Judge Marquez, by verbally expressing himself, on various occasions in insulting, unsavory and intemperate
language, to Atty. Ricon and the staff of Banch 39, RTC, Manila, as well as to litigants in his court, deviated from
the proper and accepted decorum of a magistrate. He called unnecessary negative attention to himself and his
office by his use of unprofessional and unethical language in his dealings with his staff and with litigants.
Atty. Ricon further alleged that Judge Marquez laid down so many rules and regulations in the court, and one such
rule required the changing of the covers of case records, which she found unreasonable. Every time Judge
Marquez discovered case records not prepared according to his specifications, he would get mad and voice out
offensive remarks like "tamad, hindi ginagawa ang mga trabaho" and the staff would be insulted even in the
presence of other people and even during hearings. Judge Marquez told the staff that all the judges who preceded
him had not minded the records well and it was only he who had done good things in the office. He described his
predecessors as "nilalahat ko na ang mga huwes na naupo dito, walang nagawang tama! Mali silang lahat, mga
walang alam," a characterization Atty. Ricon disagreed with as she believed that Judge Marquezs predecessors
were all honest, efficient and considerate, unlike Judge Marquez who treated them like the lowest kind of animal
and would address them "lalamon na naman kayo." Atty. Ricon also claimed that Judge Marquez would often tell
people that he is a "basurero" in the office, picking all the mess left by his predecessors and the staff.

Further, Atty. Ricon claimed that she received the biggest blow in her life when Judge Marquez gave her an
"unsatisfactory" rating, together with other members of the staff. Atty. Ricon bewailed Judge Marquezs negative
evaluation, stressing that in her 27 years in the government service, the lowest rating that she got from the
previous judges was "very satisfactory" and, before she retired, Judge Sablan gave her a rating of "outstanding."
Respondent judge denied all allegations stating first, that he could not remember what exactly he said at the first
staff meeting onwards but certainly did not utter degrading words to any of them.
Finally, Atty. Ricon alleged that there were reports that Judge Marquez was using his chambers as living quarters,
sleeping and eating within the courts premises and was, in fact, accosted by a roving policeman at the Manila City
Hall at about two oclock in the morning.
Respondent Judge then filed a counter-charge stating that Atty. Ricon falsified the Urgent Motion to Lift Order of
Warrant of Arrest and Order of Forfeiture of Bail dated May 14, 2002
Issue:
Whether or not Judge Placido C. Marquez is guilty of using vulgar, inappropriate and improper language.
Yes. As a judge, the respondent should not resort to the use of undignified language. He should not forget that a
judge should be prudent and more circumspect in his or her utterances, remembering that his or her conduct in
and outside the courtroom is under constant observation.
The court also agrees that Justice Carandang that it was Judge Marquezs prerogative, given a pre-determined set
of standards, to give his staff ratings which, in his honest assessment, are commensurate to their performance in
the office, ratings which were subsequently upheld by the OCA PERC. Also, we cannot fault Judge Marquez in
devising ways to straighten out the file of case records in the court, even through the mundane task of changing
the colors of case folders. For his resolve to put in order the courts record keeping and case management, he
should be commended, not criticized.
We cannot hold Judge Marquez liable for grave misconduct for lack of substantial proof that Judge Marquez had
converted his chambers into his living quarters after office hours and for staying late inside the court premises. As
Justice Carandang aptly noted, Judge Marquez remained in the court after office hours to do his work as a judge
especially at the time when he was directed by the Court to act on cases left by Judge Sablan. Certainly, he cannot
be made liable for the effort.
In the case of Judge Marquezs counter charge against Atty. Ricon, we concur with Justice Carandangs observation
that while the OCA audit team noted that the case of Branch 39 records were not properly arranged, she
attributed this to the limited space and facilities as the ones principally responsible for the situation. Nonetheless,
she stressed that the audit team did not recommend any sanction on Atty. Ricon and this must be because there
was no evidence showing that she grossly mismanaged record keeping in Branch 39.
Finally, the court finds that Atty. Ricon cannot be held liable for falsification of the Urgent Motion to Lift Order of
Warrant of Arrest in Criminal Case No. 00-180098. No supporting evidence exists showing that she indeed falsified
the document subject of the charge.
The Court hereby imposes a FINE of One Thousand Pesos (P1,000.00) on Judge Placido C. Marquez of the Regional
Trial Court, Branch 40, Manila, for using vulgar, inappropriate and improper language. All other charges against
Judge Marquez are DISMISSED for lack of merit.

And all charges against Atty. Perseveranda L. Ricon, Clerk of Court, Branch 39, Regional Trial Court, Manila, are
DISMISSED likewise for lack of merit.

A.M. No. P-10-2833

December 14, 2010

RETIRED EMPLOYEE, Municipal Trial Court, Sibonga, Cebu, Complainant,


vs.
MERLYN G. MANUBAG, Clerk of Court II, Municipal Trial Court, Sibonga, Cebu, Respondent.
Facts:
This is an administrative complaint against Merlyn G. Manubag Clerk of Court II of the Municipal Trial Court,
Sibonga, Cebu. The case came from the undated letter-complaint sent by anonymous retired employee charging
her with:
1.
2.
3.

Falsification of Public Documents


Immorality
Gambling during Office Hours.

For Falsification of Public Documents, the complainant alleged that Manubag submitted a fake diploma and
falsified her school records to make it appear that she was a graduate of a four-year secretarial course when, in
fact, she only finished a two-year course at a certain university in Cebu City. The complainant claimed that
Manubags appointment was approved because the latters backer, a certain Francisca Kong, was the live-in
partner of Judge Emilio T. Reyes, then presiding judge of the MTC of Sibonga, Cebu.
For Immorality, the complainant alleged that while still legally married to a certain Sergio Manubag, who had been
giving her monthly support for their minor son, respondent and a certain Boy Alicaya lived together as husband
and wife. They had a son who was registered and baptized with Boy Alicaya as the father.
For Gambling During Office Hours, the complainant averred that Manubag played mahjong during office hours at
the residence of Angelic Dadula-Ortiz in Poblacion, Sibonga, Cebu, every afternoon. She even told the players that
Sibonga MTC Judge Delfin H. Decierdo was not a capable judge.
In her Comment dated October 24, 2007, Manubag denied the charges against her. To belie the allegation that she
submitted a falsified diploma or school records to support her appointment, she pointed out that she qualified and
passed the Career Service Professional Examination given by the Civil Service Commission (CSC) held in Cebu City
on July 31, 1998. She explained that the CSC required the submission of all pertinent documents, including her

school records, which were all scrutinized for authenticity. Apparently, her requirements were in order, otherwise,
she would not have been able to take the examination.
As for the immorality, she confirmed that she is married and that her husband is providing support for the
subsistence of their minor son. She had a family friend named Boy Alicaya mentioned in the complaint being the
barkada of her younger brother and it is impossible to have a relationship with him as he had his own family. She
stressed that she has been living with her parents and an unmarried brother in the family compound.
As to the allegation that she gambled during office hours, she averred that this would be physically impossible,
considering that the presiding judge of her court was always in the office during working hours and he was the
signatory in her daily time record. She admitted, however, that after 5:00 oclock in the afternoon, before going
home, she would sometimes pass by the residence of Angelic Dadula-Ortiz and there were occasions when the
family members of the latter were playing mahjong. She remarked that perhaps the complainant saw her within
the vicinity of the residence of Angelic Dadula-Ortiz during these occasions and then presumed that she was there
during the whole afternoon.
Judge Maximo A. Perez (Judge Perez) of the RTC prepared a Report and recommended that Manubag be found
GUILTY of Dishonesty, fined the sum of P10,000.00, reprimanded and warned that a commission of the same or
similar offense would be dealt with more severely.
The Report submitted by Judge Perez was noted and the same was referred to the Office of the Court
Administrator (OCA) for evaluation, report and recommendation within sixty (60) days from notice.
In its Memorandum dated February 22, 2010, the OCA made the following recommendations:
(1) that the administrative complaint be RE-DOCKETED as a regular administrative matter; and
(2) that respondent Merlyn G. Manubag, Clerk of Court II, Municipal Trial Court, Sibonga, Cebu, be found GUILTY of
Dishonesty and DISMISSED from the service, effective immediately, with forfeiture of all retirement benefits.
Issue:
Whether or not Merlyn G. Manubag is guilty of dishonesty.
Held:
Anent the issue of falsification of public documents, there is substantial evidence to hold the respondent guilty of
dishonesty for falsifying an official document. Dishonesty is defined as intentionally making a false statement on
any material fact, or practicing or attempting to practice any deception or fraud in securing his examination,
appointment or registration.
In the instant complaint, the respondent denies having submitted a falsified diploma or school records to support
his appointment as Clerk of Court of the Municipal Trial Court of Sibonga, Cebu, but she does not deny possession
of the falsified school records. In fact, in her Personal Data Sheet (PDS), dated May 12, 2008, it is reflected that she
is a BSC Graduate of Colegio de San Jose Recoletos in 1984, contrary to the certification of Mr. Demetrio L.
Quirante, University Registrar of San Jose Recoletos, that their office does not have the original record of the
respondent. Furthermore, the said registrar certified that the machine copy of the transcript of record of the
respondent has the following deficiencies and observations and the same are quoted, as follows: a. Our exact date
of graduation for summer 1984 is May 12 (not May 24) 1984; b,. We do not have the course Bachelor of Science in

Commerce major in Commerce; c. It seems that the course appearing in the copy of the TOR should have been
Bachelor of Science in Commerce major in Accounting.
The importance of accomplishing a PDS with utmost honesty cannot be stressed enough. Its accomplishment is
required under the Civil Service Rules and Regulations, and since it is a requirement in connection with
employment in the government, the making of an untruthful statement therein is intimately connected with such
employment. Indeed, respondents act of stating in her PDS that she was a college graduate when the truth is
otherwise amounts to dishonesty by misrepresentation and falsification of an official document.
Under Section 23, Rule XIV of the Omnibus Rules Implementing Book V of Executive Order 292, the Administrative
Code of 1987 and other Pertinent Civil Service Laws, dishonesty and falsification of public document are
considered grave offenses for which the penalty of dismissal is prescribed even for the first offense. Section 9 of
said Rule likewise provides that the penalty of dismissal shall carry with it cancellation of eligibility, forfeiture of
leave credits and retirement benefits, and the disqualification from re-employment in the government service. This
penalty is without prejudice to criminal liability of the respondent.
Anent the charges of immorality and gambling during office hours, the evidence on records failed to provide the
needed quantum of proof to hold the respondent liable of the said charges. The record shows bare allegations
which are not substantiated by testimonial or documentary evidence. It is ruled that within the field of
administrative law, while strict rules of evidence are not applicable to quasi-judicial proceedings, nevertheless, in
adducing evidence constitutive of substantial evidence, the basic rule that mere allegation is not evidence cannot
be disregarded.
The OCA found that the incorrect entries made by Manubag in her Personal Data Sheet (PDS) constituted
dishonesty by misrepresentation and falsification of an official document and, thus, recommended that she be
dismissed from service, effective immediately, with forfeiture of all retirement benefits.
The Court agrees with the recommendation of the OCA.
The court finds Merlyn G. Manubag guilty and is DISMISSED from the service, with forfeiture of all retirement
benefits, except accrued leave credits, and with prejudice to re-employment in any branch, agency or
instrumentality of the government including government-owned or controlled corporations.

A.M. No. P-10-2753

December 15, 2010

DONNABELLE D. RUBEN, Complainant,


Vs.
RAMIL L. ABON, UTILITY WORKER I, Respondent.
This case stemmed from an affidavit complaint where complainant charged Ramil L. Abon, the respondent, with
conduct unbecoming a court employee. It is gathered that one morning the both of them were having a
conversation in which in the light of the topic, Respondent uttered words in Ilokano offending the complainant and
then when the respondent asked the letter if she wanted to hear a voice record trying to malign him. He then

played it anyway and left after just the first word shouting at her. Then he returned drunk and pointing a .45
caliber gun at her.
Respondent denies all claims without any evidence to back his words up. Respondent Abon failed to rebut
complainants allegations that he shouted at her and drew and loaded his .45 caliber pistol in front of her. He
claims that he was with Fernandez at the time he went back to the office after a few minutes, and that he
immediately proceeded to his table which was about 7 meters away from the complainant, and near the table of
Clerk of Court Atty. Augusto Solonio, Jr., who was there seated.

Issue:
Whether or not Ramil L. Albon is guilty of violation of the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials
and Employees.
Held:
Yes. Being charged with a serious offense, the natural course will be to prove ones innocence. But respondent did
not even bother to submit any affidavit neither from the said Fernandez nor from the Clerk of Court to buttress his
allegations. Instead, he offered empty denials that are self-serving and deserving scant consideration.
The Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officers and Employees requires public employees to respect
at all times the rights of others and to refrain from any acts contrary to good morals and good customs. This,
respondent miserably failed to observe. The rude and belligerent behavior exhibited by him against his woman coemployee, threatening her verbally and with a gun is indeed conduct unbecoming of a court employee and cannot
be countenanced. His act was not only an assault upon a female co-employee but more so, upon the integrity and
authority of the court.
OCA recommends Mr. Ramil L. Abon be SUSPENDED from office for one (1) month without pay, with a STERN
WARNING that a repetition of the same, or the commission of a similar offense in the future, will be dealt with
more severely.
The resolution of the case hinges on which of the parties version should be believed.
The Court finds the evaluation and recommendation by the OCA well-taken. Indeed, while respondent mentioned
Fernandez and the Clerk of Court to have been present at the incident that spawned the filing of the present
complaint against him, he failed to get any of them to corroborate his claim. Absent any showing of ill motive on
complainants part to falsely charge respondent, her tale must be believed.
The court finds Ramil L. Abon guilty of violation of the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials
and Employees and is SUSPENDED from office for one (1) month without pay, with STERN WARNING that a
repetition of the same or commission of a similar offense in the future will be dealt with more severely.

A.C. No. 7907

December 15, 2010

SPOUSES VIRGILIO and ANGELINA ARANDA, Petitioners,


Vs.
ATTY. EMMANUEL F. ELAYDA, Respondent.
Facts:
This case came from an administrative complaint. In the Complaint dated August 11, 2006, the spouses Aranda
alleged that Atty. Elaydas handling of their case was "sorely inadequate, as shown by his failure to follow
elementary norms of civil procedure and evidence.
That despite receipt of the order dated February 14, 2006, Atty. Elayda never informed them of such order
notwithstanding the follow-up they made of their case to him. That Atty. Elayda did not lift any single finger to
have the order dated February 14, 2006 reconsidered and/or set aside as is normally expected of a counsel
devoted to the cause of his client. That they were totally unaware of said judgment as Atty. Elayda had not again
lifted any single finger to inform them of such adverse judgment and that there is a need to take a remedial
recourse thereto. That [Atty. Elayda] did not even bother to file a notice of appeal hence the judgment became
final and executory hence a writ of execution was issued upon motion of the plaintiff Martin Guballa in the said
case. That they were deprived of their right to present their evidence in the said case and of their right to appeal
because of the gross negligence of respondent."
In the IBPs order, Atty. Elayda was instructed to submit his answer to the complaint. His answer was:
That from December 2004, the [spouses Aranda] did not bother to contact Atty. Elayda to prepare for the case and
in fact on May 30, 2005, Atty. Elayda had to ask for postponement of the case for reason that he still have to
confer with the spouses Aranda who were not around. That contrary to the allegations of the spouses Aranda,
there was not a single instance from December 2004 that the spouses Aranda called up Atty. Elayda to talk to him
regarding their case That during the scheduled hearing of the case on February 14, 2006, Atty. Elayda was in fact
went to RTC, Branch 72, Olongapo City and asked Mrs. Edith Miano to call him in Branch 73 where he had another
case if the spouses Aranda show up in court so that [Atty. Elayda] can talk to them but obviously the spouses
Aranda did not appear and Mrs. Miano did not bother to call Atty. Elayda.
At the mandatory conference hearing held on March 14, 2007, all the parties appeared with their respective
counsels. The parties were then given a period of 10 days from receipt of the order within which to submit their
position papers attaching therewith all documentary exhibits and affidavits of witnesses, if any.
Issue:
Whether or not Atty. Elayda is guilty of gross negligence.
Held:
Yes. The legal profession is invested with public trust. Its goal is to render public service and secure justice for
those who seek its aid. Thus, the practice of law is considered a privilege, not a right, bestowed by the State on
those who show that they possess and continue to possess the legal qualifications required for the conferment of
such privilege.

The Canons of the Code of Professional Responsibility provide:


CANON 17 A LAWYER OWES FIDELITY TO THE CAUSE OF HIS CLIENT AND HE SHALL BE MINDFUL OF THE TRUST
AND CONFIDENCE REPOSED IN HIM.
CANON 18 A LAWYER SHALL SERVE HIS CLIENT WITH COMPETENCE AND DILIGENCE.
Rule 18.02 A lawyer shall not handle any legal matter without adequate preparation.
Rule 18.03 A lawyer shall not neglect a legal matter entrusted to him, and his negligence in connection therewith
shall render him liable.
Rule 18.04 A lawyer shall keep the client informed of the status of his case and shall respond within a reasonable
time to the clients request for information.
CANON 19 A lawyer shall represent his client with zeal within the bounds of the law.
From the foregoing, it is clear that Atty. Elayda is duty bound to uphold and safeguard the interests of his clients.
He should be conscientious, competent and diligent in handling his clients cases. Atty. Elayda should give
adequate attention, care, and time to all the cases he is handling. As the spouses Arandas counsel, Atty. Elayda is
expected to monitor the progress of said spouses case and is obligated to exert all efforts to present every remedy
or defense authorized by law to protect the cause espoused by the spouses Aranda.
Regrettably, Atty. Elayda failed in all these. Atty. Elayda even admitted that the spouses Aranda never knew of the
scheduled hearings because said spouses never came to him and that he did not know the spouses whereabouts.
While it is true that communication is a shared responsibility between a counsel and his clients, it is the counsels
primary duty to inform his clients of the status of their case and the orders which have been issued by the court.
He cannot simply wait for his clients to make an inquiry about the developments in their case. Close coordination
between counsel and client is necessary for them to adequately prepare for the case, as well as to effectively
monitor the progress of the case. Besides, it is elementary procedure for a lawyer and his clients to exchange
contact details at the initial stages in order to have constant communication with each other. Again, Atty. Elaydas
excuse that he did not have the spouses Arandas contact number and that he did not know their address is simply
unacceptable.
Moreover, his defense that he cannot be faulted for what had happened during the hearing on February 14, 2006
because he was just at the other branch of the RTC for another case and left a message with the court
stenographer to just call him when [the spouses Aranda] come, is lame, to say the least. In the first place, the
counsel should not be at another hearing when he knew very well that he has a scheduled hearing for the [spouses
Arandas+ case at the same time. His attendance at the hearing should not be made to depend on the whether *the
spouses Aranda] will come or not. The Order submitting the decision was given at the instance of the other partys
counsel mainly because of his absence there. Again, as alleged by the [the spouses Aranda] and as admitted by
[Atty. Elayda] himself, he did not take the necessary remedial measure in order to ask that said Order be set aside.
The resolution of the IBP board of Governors finds the Decision of the Investigating Commissioner correct and
hereby affirms the respondent Atty. EMMANUEL F. ELAYDA is hereby SUSPENDED from the practice of law for a
period of SIX MONTHS, with a stern warning that a repetition of the same or a similar act will be dealt with more
severely.

A.M. No. RTJ-06-2015

December 15, 2010

ATTY. NORLINDA R. AMANTE-DESCALLAR, Petitioner,


Vs.
HON. REINERIO (ABRAHAM) B. RAMAS, Respondent.
Facts:
This case started with the complaint of Judge Reinero B. Ramas of the RTC branch 18, against Atty. Norlinda R.
Amante-Descallar, clerk of court of the same court for grave misconduct. Atty. Descallar allegedly showed the
unopened ballot boxes inside Judge Ramas Chambers to Allan Singedas.
In a counter-complaint Atty. Descallar vehemently denied the accusations against her and countercharged Judge
Ramas of bringing home a complete set of computer, which was submitted as evidence in Criminal Case Nos. 5294
and 5295, entitled People v. Tesoro, Jr., for Theft. She also accused Judge Ramas of dishonesty when the latter did
not reflect in his Certificates of Service for May and June 2005 his absences on May 12 and 13, 2005; for several
more days after promulgation of the decision in Election Protest Case No. 0001-2K4 on May 16, 2005; and from
June 1 to 21, 2005.
Judge Ramas manifested his momentary desistance from performing judicial functions from May 24, 2005
onwards, to wit:

In view of the precarious situation with which the undersigned presiding judge has been despicably
subjected to, which incidentally has been caused by a detestable betrayal, his continued active
participation in the administration of justice would be far too risky - for him, for the Court and for the
entire judiciary.
Upon such ground, he has to momentarily cease from performing judicial functions until after the present
and real threat on his own life shall have been properly resolved.
On May 16, 2005, the decision in Election Protest Case No. 0001-2K4 was promulgated. The undersigned
wore a bullet proof vest when the decision was read. Threats in Pagadian City and Zamboanga del Sur
could just not be taken lightly. Under tight security escorts, the undersigned had to stay in a safehouse.
Meanwhile, masked riders passed by his residence even in the wee hours of the night.
It was not cowardice to shy away from imminent danger [;] it was the best thing to do under the
circumstances. He was betrayed by his own Clerk of Court. Such betrayal is the subject of the
Administrative Complaint ( AM No. P-06-2149, for Gross Misconduct).
May 23, respondent judge issued an omnibus order expressing his intention to cease hearing cases up
until the threat on his life dissipates.

Issue:
Whether or not Judge Ramas is Guilty of making untruthful statements in his Certificates of Service for the months
of May and June 2005
Held:
Yes. Based on records, he only reported for work on May 12, 2005 to solemnize marriage; May 13, 2005 to issue an
Order setting the date of promulgation of the Election Protest No. 0001-2K4 on 16 May 2005; and June 8, 2005 to

sign his Certificate of Service for the month of May. For the period of May 24, 27 until June 7 and 9 until 20, there
is no showing that he reported for duty and performed his judicial functions. There were no evidence,
documentary or otherwise, adduced by the respondent judge to prove that he had rendered services for the said
period in compliance with his Certification of Service for the months of May and June.13
Judge Ramas cannot escape liability by raising the defense of threat to his life to justify his absences on May 24,
May 27 to June 7, and June 9 to June 20, 2005. The Court quotes with approval Justice Lopezs commentary on this
regard
Indeed, there may be threats to his life as alleged and indicated in his Order, and which claim was not refuted by
the complainant. But such threats do not justify his cessation from performing judicial functions. Threats are
concomitant peril in public office especially in the judiciary, where magistrates decide and determine sensitive
issues that normally generate or provoke reprisals from losing litigants. This is a consequence that judges should
be prepared of. Their exalted position entails a great responsibility unyielding to ones personal convenience.
To be sure, "it was not cowardice to shy away from imminent danger [;] it was the best thing to do under the
circumstances." But then, the most prudent thing that respondent judge should have done was to secure
protection from local police force or from the Supreme Court. Respondent judge may had also requested from the
Supreme Court to hold office elsewhere, or change of venue, whichever is appropriate under the circumstances,
but not motu proprio issue an Order for him to desist temporarily from performing judicial functions. At the very
least, he could have filed a leave of absence informing the Supreme Court of his predicament, thereby not
subjecting his actions in serious doubts for dereliction of duty. It must be stressed that judges should be imbued
with a lofty sense of responsibility in the discharge of their duties for the proper administration of justice. One who
occupies an exalted position in the administration of justice must pay a high price for the honor bestowed upon
him, for his private as well as his official conduct which must at all times be free from the appearance of propriety.
Respondent judge was oblivious of the demands of his official duties which require sacrifice of ones personal
interest and convenience for the public good.141awphi1
All told, the Court views Judge Ramas conduct as inexcusable.
Judge Ramas is presumed to be aware of his duties and responsibilities under the Code of Judicial Conduct. Canon
3 generally mandates that a judge should perform official duties honestly, and with impartiality and diligence. Rule
3.01 requires that a judge be faithful to the law and maintain professional competence, while Rule 3.09 commands
a judge to observe high standards of public service and fidelity at all times. Judge Ramas irrefragably failed to
observe these standards by making untruthful statements in his Certificates of Service to cover up his absences.
The court hereby finds Judge Reinerio (Abraham) B. Ramas, guilty of making untruthful statements in his
Certificates of Service for the months of May and June 2005 and is hereby FINED in the amount of Fifteen
Thousand Pesos (P15,000.00), with a WARNING that a repetition of the same or similar infraction shall be dealt
with more severely.

A.M. No. P-07-2383

December 15, 2010

CRISPIN SARMIENTO, Complainant,

Vs.
LUISITO P. MENDIOLA, Sheriff III, Metropolitan Trial Court, Branch 20, Manila, Respondent.
This Case started from a verified complaint against Crispin Sarmiento who was charged with eight counts of
violation of Batas Pambansa Blg. 22 before the Metropolitan Trial Court of Manila docketed as Criminal Case Nos.
345095-102-CR . On 22 September 2003, he was acquitted of the charges for failure of the prosecution to prove his
guilt. However, upon the prosecutions manifestation and motion that the decision did not mention any civil
liability that was impliedly instituted in the criminal action, the trial court amended its decision on 3 February 2004
ordering Crispin to pay the private complainants, spouses Daniel and Blesilda Inciong the amount of P295,000 as
actual damages plus legal interest of 12% per annum to be reckoned from the filing of the case. After the decision
became final and executory, the spouses Inciong filed a motion for writ of execution which motion was granted in
the Order dated 18 April 2006. A writ of execution was issued on 8 August 2006.
Crispin filed a Verified Complaint against respondent Luisito P. Mendiola, charging the latter with Grave
Misconduct, Manifest Partiality, Abuse of Authority and Oppression. Crispin alleged that, respondent and his
companion, Claro Bacolod, a policeman employed in the Warrant Section of the Manila Police Department, forcibly
took the Mercedes Benz of his brother, Tirso Sarmiento (Tirso), without presenting any writ of execution from the
court. Crispin allegedly explained to them that he is not the owner of the vehicle but a mere caretaker. He showed
to them the Deed of Sale of the subject vehicle executed on 24 January 2007 between the seller, Efren Panganiban
(Efren), and the buyer, Tirso. He asserted that respondents levy of the subject vehicle was illegal since a sheriff is
not authorized to attach property not belonging to the judgment debtor.
In his Comment, respondent denied the charges. He alleged that he showed to Crispin the copy of the Order dated
18 April 2006 granting the issuance of the writ of execution and a Notice of Levy Upon Personal Property but
Crispin refused to acknowledge these documents. Respondent further averred that he went to the house of Efren,
the alleged seller, prior to the implementation of the writ of execution and he was assured by the latters son that
the car was already sold to Crispin about two or three years ago. Respondent contended that if Tirso was indeed
the owner, then he should have been the one to have filed the instant administrative case. Respondent pointed
out that he was not remiss in his duties as a court personnel and did not violate RA 3019 because he acted in good
faith during the implementation of the writ of execution.
Issue:
Whether or not Sheriff Luisito P. Mendiola is guilty of Simple Misconduct
Held:
Yes. As admitted by respondent in his Comment, he levied a 1984 model Mercedes Benz with plate number PKY
703 but Crispin refused to hand the key of the car thus prompting him to engage the services of a wrecker to tow
and bring the car to the court compound. He claims he acted in good faith and only performed his official duty in
implementing the writ of execution. The court does not agree.
Sheriff Clavier M. Cachombo, Jr. (Clavier) was the one who first implemented the writ of execution on the same
Mercedes Benz with plate number PKY 703. Apparently, respondent failed to read thoroughly the Sheriffs Partial
Return dated 15 September 2006 which was annexed in his Comment. It was stated therein that "upon verification
with the Land Transportation Office, it was found out that the said motor vehicle was registered under the name of
Efren Panganiban since June 2002 and until March 31, 2006 in San Juan, Metro Manila and was never registered

under the name of the defendant." Thus, the service of the writ of execution was temporarily held in abeyance
until such time that any property of the defendant, complainant in this administrative case, had been positively
identified. Clearly, respondent should have refrained from implementing the writ of execution on the same
vehicle.
Respondent claims the son of the registered owner of the subject vehicle assured him that the car was sold to
Crispin, but respondent failed to present concrete evidence to prove his claim. Moreover, the Deed of Sale
presented by Crispin showed that Efren sold the subject vehicle to Tirso and not to Crispin. This clearly shows that
the subject vehicle did not belong to Crispin.
It is a basic principle of law that money judgments are enforceable only against property unquestionably belonging
to the judgment debtor. In the execution of a money judgment, the sheriff must first make a demand on the
obligor for payment of the full amount stated in the writ of execution. Property belonging to third persons cannot
be levied upon. Moreover, the levy upon the properties of the judgment obligor may be had by the executing
sheriff if the judgment obligor cannot pay all or part of the full amount stated in the writ of execution. If the
judgment obligor cannot pay all or part of the obligation in cash, certified bank check or other mode acceptable to
the judgment obligee, the judgment obligor is given the option to immediately choose which of his property or
part thereof, not otherwise exempt from execution, may be levied upon sufficient to satisfy the judgment. If the
judgment obligor does not exercise the option immediately, or when he is absent or cannot be located, he waives
such right, and the sheriff can now first levy his personal properties, if any, and then the real properties if the
personal properties are insufficient to answer for the judgment. Therefore, the sheriff cannot and should not be
the one to determine which property to levy if the judgment obligor cannot immediately pay because it is the
judgment obligor who is given the option to choose which property or part thereof may be levied upon to satisfy
the judgment. Since Crispin is not the owner of the subject vehicle that respondent levied on, it was improper for
respondent to have enforced the writ of execution on a property that did not belong to Crispin, the judgment
debtor/obligor. Respondent evidently failed to perform his duty with utmost diligence.
The Court agrees with the OCAs finding that respondent is guilty of simple misconduct. Since this is respondents
first offense, we find the OCAs recommendation imposing a fine of P10,000 to be in order.
The Court hereby declares Luisito P. Mendiola, Sheriff III of the Metropolitan Trial Court of Manila, Branch 20,
guilty of Simple Misconduct. We fine him P10,000, with a warning that a repetition of the same or similar offense
in the future shall be dealt with more severely.