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[A.M. NO.

P-10-2829 : JUNE 21,


2011]

JUDGE EDILBERTO G. ABSIN,


COMPLAINANT,
VS. EDGARDO A. MONTALLA,
STENOGRAPHER, REGIONAL TRIAL COURT,
BRANCH 29,
SAN MIGUEL, ZAMBOANGA DEL
SUR
RESPONDENT.
FACTS OF THE CASE:

AnadministrativecomplaintwasfiledbyfiledbyJudgeEdilbertoG.Absin
(JudgeAbsin),PresidingJudgeoftheRegionalTrialCourt,Branch29,San
Miguel,ZamboangadelSur(RTC-Branch29)againstEdgardoA.Montalla
(Montalla),stenographerofthesamecourt,withneglectofdutyinfailingto
submit the required transcripts of stenographic notes (TSNs) despite
repeated reminders from the court.
InhisCommentMontallaadmittedhewasthestenographerwhotookdownthe
notesofthehearingmentionedintheCAResolutionwhichboththepresidingjudge
andtheclerkofcourtrepeatedlyremindedhimtotranscribe.

Montalla,however,claimedhewaspreventedfromperforminghistasksduetopoor
healthandhesoughtthecompassionoftheCourtasheisallegedlystillrecovering
fromhisillnesses.

TheOfficeoftheCourtAdministrator(OCA)opinedthatMontallashouldhavebeen
fullyawarethatpublicofficersarerepositoriesofpublictrustandareunderobligation
toperformthedutiesoftheirofficehonestly,faithfully,andtothebestoftheirability.
For failure to submit the required TSNs, Montalla is guilty of gross neglect of
duty classified as a grave offense and punishable by dismissal.

However,forhumanitarianreasons,theOCArecommendedtheimpositionofthe
penaltyofsuspensionofsixmonthswithoutpaywithasternwarningthatarepetition
ofthesameorsimilarinfractioninthefutureshallbedealtwithmoreseverely.

On9February2011,theOCADissuedaResolutionorderingMontallatomanifestwhether
hehassubmittedtherequiredTSNs.

HeadmitsthattheClerkofCourtandJudgeAbsinhadremindedhim,repeatedly,to
transcribethestenographicnotes.Montallaadmitshistransgressionsbut this time his
excuse is that his failure to submit the required TSNs was due to poor health
(allegedlybecauseof"previouspulmonarytuberculosis,pepticulceranddiabetes")that
preventedhimfromperformingsimpletasks.But one thing is clear. Montalla still has
not submitted the required TSNs which were taken sometime in 2004, 2005, and
2006. Verily, Montalla has been remiss in his duty as a court stenographer.

Montallashouldberemindedthatitisthedutyofthecourtstenographerwhohasattended
asessionofacourttoimmediatelydelivertotheclerkofcourtallthenoteshehastaken,
thesametobeattachedtotherecordofthecase.Precisely,AdministrativeCircularNo.24-
90wasissuedinordertominimizedelayintheadjudicationofcasesasagreatnumberof
casescouldnotbedecidedorresolvedpromptlybecauseoflackofTSNs.

Thecircularrequiredallstenographerstotranscribeallstenographicnotesandtoattach
theTSNstotherecordofthecasenotlaterthan20 daysfromthetimethenotesare
taken.Failureand/orrefusaltosubmitit,hissalaryshallbewithheld.
The Court has ruled, in a number of cases that the failure to submit the TSNs within
the period prescribed under Administrative Circular No. 24-90 constitutes gross
neglect of duty. Gross neglect of duty is classified as a grave offense and
punishable by dismissal

ThisisnotthefirsttimethatMontallawaschargedwithneglectofdutyfordelayinthe
submissionoftheTSNs.Montallaadmittedlapsesintheperformanceofhisfunctionwhich
causedadelayinthespeedydispositionofcases.

MontallawasfoundguiltyofsimpleneglectofdutyandwasfinedP2,000withastern
warningthatarepetitionofthesameorsimilaroffenseinthefutureshallbedealtwithmore
severely.

Inthepresentcase,MontallaalsofailedtosubmittherequiredTSNsdespitethewarnings
andthechancesgiventohimtosubmitthesame.TheTSNsweretakenin2004,2005,
and2006andhewasrequiredtosubmitthesamein2009,2010andjustrecently,in
February2011.

Thisisnolongersimpleneglectofduty.Montalla,inrepeatedlyfailingtosubmitthe
requiredTSNsforseveralyearsnow,nolongerdeservesthecompassionand
understandingoftheCourt.
ISSUE:
W/N RESPONDENT EDGARDO MONTALLA IS GUILTY OF GROSS
NEGLECT OF DUTY AS COURT STENOGRPAHER?

RULING:

RespondentEdgardoA.MontallawasfoundGUILTYofGrossNeglectofDuty
andwasDISMISSEDfromtheservice.Allhisretirementbenefitsarehereby
orderedFORFEITED,exceptaccruedleavecredits. Heisfurtherdisqualified
fromreemploymentintheJudiciary.

ToavoidfurtherdelayinthedispositionofCA-G.R.No.01280-MIN(Heirs of
Victoriano Magallanes, et al. v. Ernesto Pono and Crispina Pono),Montallais
orderedtosubmit,withinanon-extendibleperiodofthirty(30)daysfromreceipt
hereof,thetranscriptsofstenographicnotesmentionedabove,underpainof
contempt.

Section17,Rule136oftheRevisedRulesofCourtprovides:

SEC.17.Stenographer.-Itshallbethedutyofthestenographerwhohas
attendedasessionofacourteitherinthemorningorintheafternoon,to
delivertotheclerkofcourt,immediatelyatthecloseofsuchmorningor
afternoonsession,allthenoteshehastaken,tobeattachedtotherecordof
thecase;anditshalllikewisebethedutyoftheclerktodemandthatthe
stenographercomplywithsaidduty.Theclerkofcourtshallstampthedate
onwhichsuchnotesarereceivedbyhim.Whensuchnotesaretranscribed,
thetranscriptshallbedeliveredtotheclerk,dulyinitialedoneachpage
thereof,tobeattachedtotherecordofthecase.

Wheneverrequestedbyaparty,anystatementmadebyajudgeoffirst
instance,orbyacommissioner,withreferencetoacasebeingtriedbyhim,
ortoanyofthepartiesthereto,ortoanywitnessorattorney,duringthe
hearingofsuchcase,shallbemadeofrecordinthestenographicnotes