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Prof. Joselito Guianan Chan's The Labor Code of the Philippines, Annotated Labor Standards & Social Legislation Volume I of a 3-Volume Series 2019 Edition (3rd Revised Edition)
 

 
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UNITED STATES SUPREME COURT JURISPRUDENCE
 

 
PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT JURISPRUDENCE
 

   
August-2003 Jurisprudence                 

  • A.M. No. P-02-1651 August 4, 2003 - ALEJANDRO ESTRADA v. SOLEDAD S. ESCRITOR

  • G.R. No. 138924 August 5, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. CRISANTO D. MANAHAN

  • G.R. No. 139767 August 5, 2003 - FELIPE SY DUNGOG v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 140868-69 August 5, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. NAZARIO B. BUATES

  • G.R. No. 142691 August 5, 2003 - HEIRS OF AMADO CELESTIAL v. HEIRS OF EDITHA G. CELESTIAL

  • G.R. No. 144317 August 5, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. MICHAEL A. MONTE

  • G.R. No. 148848 August 5, 2003 - JACINTO RETUYA, ET. AL. v. SALIC B. DUMARPA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 152611 August 5, 2003 - LAND BANK OF THE PHIL. v. SEVERINO LISTANA, SR.

  • G.R. No. 152845 August 5, 2003 - DRIANITA BAGAOISAN, ET AL. v. NATIONAL TOBACCO ADMINISTRATION

  • A.M. No. MTJ-03-1502 August 6, 2003 - ANASTACIO E. GAUDENCIO v. EDWARD D. PACIS

  • A.M. No. P-03-1675 August 6, 2003 - ELENA F. PACE v. RENO M. LEONARDO

  • A.M. No. RTJ-00-1545 August 6, 2003 - ANTONIO J. FINEZA v. BAYANI S. RIVERA

  • G.R. No. 133926 August 6, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. RUBEN H. DALISAY

  • G.R. Nos. 137256-58 August 6, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. RUFINO V. ERNAS

  • G.R. No. 142740 August 6, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ROBERTO A. TAMPOS

  • G.R. No. 142843 August 6, 2003 - OCTAVIO ALVAREZ, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 144428 August 6, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. JUAN M. ROSARIO

  • G.R. No. 144595 August 6, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. DANTE ILAGAN

  • G.R. Nos. 145383-84 August 6, 2003 - RUDY M. VILLAREÑA v. COMMISSION ON AUDIT

  • A.M. No. P-02-1627 August 7, 2003 - CARIDAD RACCA, ET AL. v. MARIO C. BACULI, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 127210 August 7, 2003 - ALVIN TAN v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 138956 August 7, 2003 - LOADSTAR SHIPPING CO., ET AL. v. ROMEO MESANO

  • G.R. No. 146341 August 7, 2003 - AQUILA LARENA v. FRUCTUOSA MAPILI, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 146382 August 7, 2003 - SYSTEMS PLUS COMPUTER COLLEGE OF CALOOCAN CITY v. LOCAL GOVERNMENT OF CALOOCAN CITY

  • G.R. No. 148557 August 7, 2003 - FELICITO ABARQUEZ v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 149075 August 7, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. RODRIGO P. BALLENO

  • G.R. No. 151833 August 7, 2003 - ANTONIO M. SERRANO v. GALANT MARITIME SERVICES

  • G.R. No. 153087 August 7, 2003 - BERNARD R. NALA v. JESUS M. BARROSO

  • G.R. No. 154183 August 7, 2003 - SPS. VICKY TAN TOH and LUIS TOH v. SOLID BANK CORP., ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 134241 August 11, 2003 - DAVID REYES v. JOSE LIM, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 139177 August 11, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ALVIN VILLANUEVA

  • A.M. No. 00-3-48-MeTC August 12, 2003 - REPORT ON THE JUDICIAL AUDIT AND PHYSICAL INVENTORY OF CASES IN THE MTC OF MANILA, BR. 2

  • A.M. No. MTJ-02-1388 August 12, 2003 - FELISA TABORITE, ET AL. v. MANUEL S. SOLLESTA, ET AL.

  • A.M. No. P-02-1588 August 12, 2003 - RUBY M. GONZALES v. ALMA G. MARTILLANA

  • G.R. No. 120474 August 12, 2003 - ANICETO W. NAGUIT, JR. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 133796-97 August 12, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. BERNANDINO M. ALAJAY

  • G.R. No. 133858 August 12, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. HERMINIANO SATORRE

  • G.R. No. 133892 August 12, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. JOVITO B. LLAVORE, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 137792 August 12, 2003 - SPS RICARDO ROSALES, ET AL. v. SPS ALFONSO and LOURDES SUBA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 145951 August 12, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. SANDIGANBAYAN, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 151908 & 152063 August 12, 2003 - SMART COMMUNICATIONS, INC. v. NATIONAL TELECOMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION

  • G.R. No. 152807 August 12, 2003 - HEIRS OF LOURDES SAEZ SABANPAN, ET AL. v. ALBERTO C. COMORPOSA, ET AL.

  • A.C. No. 4650 August 14, 2003 - ROSALINA BIASCAN v. MARCIAL F. LOPEZ

  • A.M. No. 00-6-09-SC August 14, 2003 - RE: IMPOSITION OF CORRESPONDING PENALTIES FOR HABITUAL TARDINESS, ETC.

  • A.M. No. RTJ-01-1631 August 14, 2003 - OFFICE OF THE COURT ADMINISTRATOR v. JAIME F. BAUTISTA

  • G.R. No. 126627 August 14, 2003 - SMITH KLINE BECKMAN CORP. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 140023 August 14, 2003 - RUDY LAO v. STANDARD INSURANCE CO.

  • G.R. Nos. 140034-35 August 14, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. RODOLFO B. ZABALA

  • G.R. No. 144402 August 14, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ROMEO ECLERA, SR.

  • G.R. No. 156039 August 14, 2003 - KARINA CONSTANTINO-DAVID, ET AL. v. ZENAIDA D. PANGANDAMAN-GANIA

  • A.M. No. MTJ-02-1401 August 15, 2003 - ARSENIA LARIOSA v. CONRADO B. BANDALA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 115925 August 15, 2003 - SPS. RICARDO PASCUAL, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 127128 August 15, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ROEL C. MENDIGURIN

  • G.R. No. 133841 August 15, 2003 - CAROLINA P. RAMIREZ, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 135697-98 August 15, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. PEDRITO C. ANDRES, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 137520-22 August 15, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ALFREDO BAROY, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 138074 August 15, 2003 - CELY YANG v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 138862 August 15, 2003 - MANUEL CAMACHO v. RICARDO GLORIA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 139895 August 15, 2003 - CIPRIANO M. LAZARO v. RURAL BANK OF FRANCISCO BALAGTAS (BULACAN), INC., ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 143258 August 15, 2003 - PHILIPPINE AIRLINES v. JOSELITO PASCUA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 144618 August 15, 2003 - JORGE CHIN, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 147662-63 August 15, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. FREDDIE FONTANILLA

  • G.R. No. 148222 August 15, 2003 - PEARL & DEAN (PHIL.) v. SHOEMART, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 151941 August 15, 2003 - CHAILEASE FINANCE CORP. v. SPS. ROMEO and MARIAFE MA

  • G.R. Nos. 153714-20 August 15, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. MARIO K. ESPINOSA

  • G.R. No. 154448 August 15, 2003 - PEDRITO F. REYES v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 154920 August 15, 2003 - RODNEY HEGERTY v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • A.M. No. RTJ-03-1744 August 18, 2003 - ROBERT M. VISBAL v. ROGELIO C. SESCON

  • A.C. No. 5299 August 19, 2003 - ISMAEL G. KHAN v. RIZALINO T. SIMBILLO

  • G.R. No. 138945 August 19, 2003 - FELIX GOCHAN AND SONS REALTY CORP., ET AL. v. HEIRS OF RAYMUNDO BABA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 144331 August 19, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. CRISTITO LATASA

  • G.R. No. 145930 August 19, 2003 - C-E CONSTRUCTION CORP. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 147246 August 19, 2003 - ASIA LIGHTERAGE AND SHIPPING, INC. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 148877 August 19, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ANGELITO B. BAGSIT

  • G.R. No. 149724 August 19, 2003 - DENR v. DENR REGION 12 EMPLOYEES

  • G.R. No. 150060 August 19, 2003 - PRIMARY STRUCTURES CORP. v. SPS. ANTHONY and SUSAN T. VALENCIA

  • A.M. No. MTJ-02-1437 August 20, 2003 - JAIME E. CONTRERAS v. EDDIE P. MONSERATE

  • A.M. No. MTJ-03-1473 August 20, 2003 - MYRA M. ALINTANA DE PACETE v. JOSEFINO A. GARILLO

  • A.M. No. RTJ-03-1745 August 20, 2003 - UNITRUST DEVELOPMENT BANK v. JOSE F. CAOIBES, JR., ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 125799 August 21, 2003 - DANILO CANSINO, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 148864 August 21, 2003 - SPS EDUARDO and EPIFANIA EVANGELISTA v. MERCATOR FINANCE CORP., ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 149495 August 21, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. SANDIGANBAYAN, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 150590 August 21, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. WILLIE A. ALMEDILLA

  • A.M. No. P-03-1673 August 25, 2003 - LOUIE TRINIDAD v. SOTERO S. PACLIBAR

  • G.R. No. 114172 August 25, 2003 - JUANITA P. PINEDA, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 129368 August 25, 2003 - LAND BANK OF THE PHIL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 129961-62 August 25, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. VIRGILIO CAABAY, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 137326 August 25, 2003 - ROSARIO TEXTILE MILLS, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 138334 August 25, 2003 - ESTELA L. CRISOSTOMO v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 142856-57 August 25, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ROBERTO NEGOSA

  • G.R. No. 151026 August 25, 2003 - SOLIDBANK CORP. v. CA, ET. AL.

  • G.R. No. 152221 August 25, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL v. JACINTO B. ALVAREZ, JR.

  • A.M. No. 01-4-133-MTC August 26, 2003 - RE: ELSIE C. REMOROZA

  • A.M. No. MTJ-03-1492 August 26, 2003 - DOMINGO B. MANAOIS v. LAVEZARES C. LEOMO

  • A.M. No. MTJ-03-1504 August 26, 2003 - FELICITAS M. HIMALIN v. ISAURO M. BALDERIAN

  • G.R. Nos. 146097-98 August 26, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. JUAN CARIÑAGA

  • A.C. No. 5474 August 28, 2003 - REDENTOR S. JARDIN v. DEOGRACIAS VILLAR

  • A.C. No. 5535 August 28, 2003 - SPS. STEVEN and NORA WHITSON v. JUANITO C. ATIENZA

  • A.M. No. MTJ-03-1506 August 28, 2003 - PABLO B. MABINI v. LORINDA B. TOLEDO-MUPAS

  • A.M. No. P-01-1507 August 28, 2003 - OFFICE OF THE COURT ADMINISTRATOR v. ROLANDO SAA

  • A.M. No. P-02-1579 August 28, 2003 - LETICIA L. NICOLAS v. PRISCO L. RICAFORT

  • A.M. No. P-02-1631 August 28, 2003 - RENATO C. BALIBAG v. HERMITO C. MONICA

  • A.M. No. P-02-1659 August 28, 2003 - OFFICE OF THE COURT ADMINISTRATOR v. LIZA MARIA E. SIRIOS

  • A.M. No. P-03-1710 August 28, 2003 - EDGARDO ANGELES v. BALTAZAR P. EDUARTE

  • A.M. No. RTJ-02-1676 August 28, 2003 - OFFICE OF THE COURT ADMINISTRATOR v. GUILLERMO R. ANDAYA

  • A.M. No. RTJ-03-1786 August 28, 2003 - ALFREDO Y. CHU v. CAMILO E. TAMIN

  • G.R. No. 134604 August 28, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ERNESTO HUGO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 138295 August 28, 2003 - PILIPINO TELEPHONE CORP. v. NTC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 143826 August 28, 2003 - IGNACIA AGUILAR-REYES v. SPS. CIPRIANO and FLORENTINA MIJARES

  • G.R. No. 146501 August 28, 2003 - FLORDELIZA RIVERA v. GREGORIA SANTIAGO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 149810 August 28, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. CRISPIN T. RUALES

  • G.R. No. 154049 August 28, 2003 - RAMON P. JACINTO, ET AL. v. FIRST WOMEN’S CREDIT CORP.

  • G.R. No. 133733 August 29, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. MAXIMO AQUINDE, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 136299 August 29, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ZOILO MAGALLANES

  • G.R. No. 137010 August 29, 2003 - ARK TRAVEL EXPRESS v. Presiding Judge of the Regional Trial Court of Makati, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 142383 August 29, 2003 - ASIAN TRANSMISSION CORP. v. CANLUBANG SUGAR ESTATES

  •  





     
     

    A.M. No. 01-4-133-MTC   August 26, 2003 - RE: ELSIE C. REMOROZA

     
    PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT DECISIONS

    EN BANC

    [A.M. No. 01-4-133-MTC. August 26, 2003.]

    RE: Withholding of Other Emoluments of the following Clerks of Court: ELSIE C. REMOROZA of the Municipal Trial Court (MTC) of Mauban, Quezon; ELENA P. REFORMADO of the MTC of Guinayangan, Quezon; EUGENIO STO. TOMAS of the MTC of Cabuyao, Laguna; MAURA D. CAMPAÑO of the MTC of San Jose, Occidental Mindoro; ELEANOR D. FLORES of the Municipal Circuit Trial Court (MCTC) of Taytay, Palawan; and JESUSA P. BENIPAYO of the MCTC of Ligao, Albay.

    D E C I S I O N


    PANGANIBAN, J.:


    Illness may impair the ability to perform official functions. It will not, however, completely exonerate the present respondent from administrative liability for her continuous violations of rules and regulations over a long period of time. Being aware of her serious health condition, she should have reported it to higher authorities and asked for relief from responsibilities she could not discharge by reason thereof.chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary

    The Case and the Facts


    This administrative case is rooted in acting Court Administrator Zenaida N. Elepaño’s written Memorandum, 1 which imputes neglect of duty to the following clerks of courts: Elsie C. Remoroza of the Municipal Trial Court (MTC) of Mauban, Quezon; Elena P. Reformado of the MTC of Guinayangan, Quezon; Eugenio Sto. Tomas of the MTC of Cabuyao, Laguna; Maura D. Campaño of the MTC of San Jose, Occidental Mindoro; Eleanor D. Flores of the Municipal Circuit Trial Court (MCTC) of Taytay, Palawan; and Jesusa P. Benipayo of the MCTC of Ligao, Albay.

    It was Mrs. Antonina Soria, officer-in-charge of the Financial Management Office of the Office of the Court Administrator (OCA), who discovered the failure of the aforementioned court officers to submit their required monthly reports on time. These were reports of monthly collections for the judiciary development fund, the fiduciary fund and the general fund, pursuant to Section 122 of Presidential Decree No. 1445 and Supreme Court (SC) Circular No. 32-93. 2 While the OCA had already withheld the salaries of these officers, it requested authority to withhold other emoluments due them, pending their full compliance with SC Circular No. 32-93.

    In a Resolution 3 dated May 4, 2001, the Court en banc resolved, among other courses of action, to direct the OCA to conduct an immediate audit of the cash and accounts of these court officers; to withhold further emoluments due them; and to impose administrative sanctions on them for their continued defiance of SC Circular No. 32-93.

    In a subsequent Resolution 4 dated August 7, 2001, upon the recommendation of the OCA, the Court suspended the erring clerks of court without pay, until they would have fully complied with SC Circular No. 32-93.

    On September 28, 2001, Elsie C. Remoroza, clerk of court of the MTC of Mauban, Quezon, moved for a reconsideration of the Court’s August 7, 2001 Resolution by filing a Motion to Lift Suspension and Withholding of Other Emoluments. 5 She explained that her failure to submit her reports on time was due to her poor health. She averred that at the time of the filing of her Motion, she had already submitted the required monthly reports. In an en banc Resolution 6 dated December 11, 2001, the Court noted her Motion, pending her full compliance with SC Circular No. 32-93.

    In a Memorandum 7 dated March 14, 2002, Deputy Court Administrator Jose P. Perez submitted a summary of the audit findings on the accounts of Clerk of Court Remoroza as follows:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

    "A. JUDICIARY DEVELOPMENT FUND (JDF)

    (Period covered: March 1985-August 31, 2001)

    Total Collections P125,363.10

    Less: Total Remittances 66,065.10

    Balance of Accountabilities

    as of 8/31/01 59,298.00

    Restitute on 11/20/01 under

    LBP SA #0591-0116-34 65,664.00

    —————

    Over remittance P(6,366.00)

    "As per entries reflected on the Subsidiary Ledger of the Accounting Division, FMO-OCA, the last Monthly Report of Collections and Deposits submitted for JDF was for the month of November 1998. Collections for 2000 and 2001 were remitted thru Manager’s Checks only on November 20, 2001 in the amount of SIXTY FIVE THOUSAND SIX HUNDRED SIXTY FOUR PESOS (P65,664.00).

    "B. CLERK OF COURT GENERAL FUND (CCGF)

    (Period Covered: May 1997-August 31, 2001)

    Total Collections P190,200.00

    Less: Total Remittances 0

    —————

    Balance of Accountabilities 190,200.00

    Paid under LBP

    SA #0012-2222-20

    dated 11/20/01 183,630.00

    Paid under LBP

    SA #0012-2222-20

    dated 1/15/02 200.00

    Paid under SC

    OR No. 12513751

    dated 1/22/02 6,370.00 190,200.00

    —————–

    Final Accountability P0

    ==========

    "As per entries reflected on the Subsidiary Ledger of the Accounting Division, FMO-OCA, she never submitted her Monthly Report of Collections and Deposits for Clerk of Court General Fund from May 1997 up to August 31, 2001. Collections for these periods were remitted on a staggered basis only on November 20, 2001 @ P183,630; January 22, 2002 @ P200.00; and January 22, 2002 @ P6,370.00 a total of ONE HUNDRED NINETY THOUSAND AND TWO HUNDRED PESOS (P190,200.00) thereby showing no accountabilities for this fund.

    "C. CLERK OF COURT FIDUCIARY FUND (CCFF)

    (Period Covered: August 1997-August 31, 2001)

    Total Collections from August 1997 to P298,000.00

    June 29, 1998 covered by Official

    Receipts of MTC, Mauban, Quezon

    Less: Total Withdrawals 168,500.00

    —————

    Total Unwithdrawn Fiduciary Fund P129,500.00

    receipted by MTC, Mauban, Quezon

    Less: Deposits made to MTO from 0

    August 1997 to June 29, 1998

    —————

    Shortage as of 8/31/2001 129,500.00

    Restitution of shortage deposited 129,500.00*

    to MTO on 9/20/01 —————

    Balance of Accountability P0

    =========

    Total Unwithdrawn Fiduciary Funds

    as of August 31, 2001 P234,800.00

    Less: Fiduciary Fund Collections

    directly deposited with MTO

    from September 14, 1994 to

    July 1997 and July 1998 to

    August 31, 2001 P105,300.00

    Fiduciary Fund Collections

    receipted by MTC,

    Mauban, Quezon and

    Restituted on Sept 30, P234,800.00

    2001 P129,500.00* —————

    Balance of Accountability P 0

    ==========

    "There were no entries reflected on the Subsidiary Ledger of the Accounting Division showing that she never submitted her Monthly Report of Collections and Withdrawals from August 1997 to August 31, 2001.cralaw : red

    "The above-cited presentation shows that guidelines set forth in the administration of these funds were clearly violated." 8

    On April 10, 2002, the Court issued another Resolution 9 directing Remoroza to explain in writing why she should not be charged administratively for her failure to remit collections on time. These collections amounting to P385,364 were for the judiciary development fund, the general fund and the fiduciary fund. She was also relieved of her duties and responsibilities as accountable officer.

    In her Explanation dated May 22, 2002, 10 she averred that her failure to remit the collections promptly was due to "factors beyond her control." She reasoned thus:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

    "Her failure to function efficiently i.e. erratically and below par in her duties and responsibilities as Accountable Officer from the middle of 1999 and onward was attributable mainly and unmistakably to no other but her gastric lymphoma (cancer of the stomach). The coincidence of her service faltering and her medication especially her surgery and chemotherapy . . . can be proved by documents . . ..

    x       x       x


    ". . . [I]nspite of [the hassle of medication and surgery and lingering after-effects of chemotherapy], she still tried very hard to keep her [act] together to at least [discharge] her administrative duties even if below par, aware of her responsibilities as Accountable Officer.

    "Such that even if she was supposed to be still on leave by doctor’s order until March 2000 and better still until 2001 because of continuing treatment, she acceded to the request of the Presiding Judge to report for work already in April 2000 to at least arrest the worsening mess which was not remedied with his designation of Clerk of Court Edwin Romero on 28 January 2000 as he was still a neophyte and could find nobody to do the work of undersigned. And work she did even with difficulty for the sake of the service until she was suspended on 7 July 2001.

    "At this point in time, all the delayed required reports have been submitted, likewise the amount of P385,364.50 representing collections for the Judiciary Development Fund, General Fund and Fiduciary Fund have been accounted for." 11

    Meanwhile, acting Judge Rodolfo D. Obnamia Jr. of the MTC of Mauban, Quezon, designated Stenographer Josefina Neri N. Alpajora as officer-in-charge (accountable officer) in place of Respondent. 12 This designation was later confirmed by the Court in a Resolution 13 dated April 22, 2003.

    Report and Recommendation of the OCA

    In its December 5, 2002 Memorandum, 14 the OCA found respondent guilty of misfeasance. It observed:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

    "While Ms. Remoroza has fully settled her accountability, the non-remittance thereof on time deprived the Court of the interest that may be earned if the said amounts were deposited in bank, as prudently required. She has the duty, being the Clerk of Court, to remit the collections within a prescribed period. . . .

    "It is the Clerk of Court’s duty to faithfully perform her duties and responsibilities as such ‘to the end that there was full compliance with circulars on deposits of collections.’ Shortages in the amounts to be remitted and the years of delay in the actual remittance constitute neglect of duty for which she shall be administratively liable." 15

    The OCA recommended that respondent be fined in the amount of P10,000, with a warning that a repetition of the same or a similar act in the future would be dealt with more severely. Further, it recommended that she be directed to submit herself to medical examination in the SC Clinic to determine if she was still physically fit to perform her functions as clerk of court.

    The Court’s Ruling


    The Court agrees with the findings and recommendations of the OCA.

    Administrative Liability of Respondent

    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. 16

    Clerks of court are officers of the law who perform vital functions in the administration of justice. 17 They keep the records and the seal of the court, issue processes, enter judgments and orders, and give certified copies of records upon request. 18 They are also the designated custodians of the court’s funds and revenues, records, properties, and premises. 19 Verily, they are expected to possess a high degree of discipline and efficiency in the performance of these functions.

    SC Circular No. 32-93 20 prescribes the guidelines for the collection and the custody of legal fees. This administrative Circular was issued to attain maximum efficiency and accountability in the handling of collections and deposits of court funds. It enjoins all clerks of court and accountable officers to submit "monthly report[s] of collections for all funds . . . not later than the 10th day of each succeeding month."cralaw virtua1aw library

    Respondent clearly violated SC Circular No. 32-93. The Financial Management Office of the OCA stated that the last monthly report of collections for the judiciary development fund (JDF) that respondent had submitted was for the month of November 1998. She likewise failed to submit her monthly reports for the clerk of court’s general fund (CCGF) from May 1997 to August 31, 2001. Finally, she did not submit her monthly report for the clerk of court’s fiduciary fund (CCFF) from August 1997 to August 31, 2001.

    SC Circular Nos. 13-92 21 and 5-93 22 provide the guidelines for the proper administration of court funds. Moreover, this Circular mandates that all fiduciary collections "shall be deposited immediately by the Clerk of Court concerned, upon receipt thereof, with an authorized government depository bank."cralaw virtua1aw library

    Furthermore, SC Circular No. 5-93 provides that collections for the JDF "shall be deposited every day with the local or nearest [Land Bank of the Philippines] branch . . .; or if depositing daily is not possible, deposits for the [f]und shall be every second and third Fridays and at the end of every month[;] provided, however, that whenever collections for the [f]und reach P500, the same shall be deposited immediately even before the days before indicated."cralaw virtua1aw library

    The audit report 23 of the OCA reveals that in making the necessary remittances for all three funds, respondent failed to comply with the said Circulars. As a result, she incurred a shortage totaling P378,998, broken down as follows: JDF-P59,298; CCGF-P190,200; and CCFF-P129,500.

    Evidently, the restitution of the shortage was belatedly done by Respondent. The Resolution ordering the audit of her books of account was issued on May 4, 2001. In anticipation of the actual audit, she remitted her accountabilities on a staggered basis, only from September 20, 2001 to January 22, 2002.

    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. 24 They are reminded to deposit immediately, with authorized government depositories, the various funds they have collected, because they are not authorized to keep those funds in their custody. 25 Unwarranted failure to fulfill these responsibilities deserves sanction. Not even full payment of collection shortages will exempt the accountable officer from liability. 26

    Respondent does not dispute her shortcomings as custodian of the court’s funds. However, she asserts that her failure to perform her tasks efficiently was born, not of malice or bad faith, but of her physical illness. In 1999, she had been diagnosed to have gastric lymphoma or cancer of the stomach, for which she had to undergo chemotherapy. Her medical records support her claim.

    We sympathize with the plight of Respondent. Nevertheless, her serious illness cannot completely exonerate her from liability. Such illness may have impaired her ability to perform her official functions, but it cannot fully excuse her continuous violation of rules and regulations over a long period of time. The Court has to enforce what is required by law and to impose a reasonable punishment for violations thereof. 27 The OCA correctly observed:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

    ". . . [H]er failure to remit on time her collections was due to her gastric lymphoma. Her medical records will attest to the veracity of her allegations. Indeed, it is public knowledge how enduring and painful one has to suffer when [one is] afflicted with cancer. What is even worse is the feeling of never-ending agony when [one is] undergoing chemotherapy. These are reasonable enough to mitigate the liability of Ms. Remoroza. While we [sympathize] with Ms. Remoroza in her previous unfortunate condition, the fact remained that she was [remised] in her duties and responsibilities. She could have easily transferred her accountabilities to one of her subordinates but she never did. The records disclosed that she began feeling ill in the month of June 1999. But since May 1997, she already failed to submit the required monthly report and to remit the collections." 28

    Verily, we agree with the recommendation of the OCA that respondent be administratively sanctioned for her neglect of duty. Her failure to observe due diligence as custodian of the court’s funds constitutes neglect of duty which, under the Civil Service Law and the Omnibus Rules implementing it, 29 is a less grave offense penalized with suspension of one (1) month and one (1) day to six (6) months for the first offense; and dismissal for the second offense.

    However, in determining the applicable penalty in this case, we take into consideration the physical illness 30 and the lack of bad faith 31 of respondent as mitigating circumstances. We also take into account that this is her first infraction, that she has fully remitted all her collections, and that she has no outstanding accountabilities.chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary

    We understand the difficult situation in which her serious illness has placed her. Bearing in mind the mitigating circumstances and for humanitarian considerations, we find the imposition of a fine — instead of a suspension — a sufficient penalty.

    Respondent’s Physical Fitness to Perform Her Functions as Clerk of Court

    We now come to the physical fitness of respondent to continue with her functions as clerk of court. Upon the recommendation of the OCA, the Court ordered her, in a Resolution 32 dated January 21, 2003, to submit herself to medical examination in the SC Clinic.

    In a Memorandum 33 dated May 29, 2003, Senior Chief Staff Officer Prudencio P. Banzon Jr. of the SC Clinic Services submitted a report on the medical condition of Respondent. He said that on May 19, 2003, she had brought along with her all her medical records and presented herself for a physical examination at the clinic. After the checkup, he was convinced that she had clinically recovered from her illness. He opined thus:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

    "On the basis of clinical history, medical documents, and physical examination, the undersigned physician is convinced that subject, Ms. Elsie C. Remoroza, has clinically recovered from her operation and illness, ‘Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.’

    "Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma is a form of malignancy, or cancer, arising out of the lymphatic system of the body. Its clinical course may vary, so that it may either be slow growing or rapidly progressive. In general, relatively young patients, who are diagnosed early and medically managed with proper intervention, including chemotherapy, have a fair chance of survival and longevity which may be true in this case.

    "In her present physical condition, the undersigned physician is of the opinion that subject, Ms Elsie C. Remoroza, will be able to engage in any gainful pursuit of occupation, and may be expected to function normally." 34

    Accordingly, we noted Dr. Banzon’s findings that respondent was still physically fit to perform her functions as clerk of court of the MTC of Mauban, Quezon.

    WHEREFORE, Elsie C. Remoroza, clerk of court of the Municipal Trial Court (MTC) of Mauban, Quezon, is found guilty of simple neglect of duty and is FINED P10,000, with a WARNING that a repetition of the same or similar acts shall be dealt with more severely.

    SO ORDERED.chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary

    Davide, Jr., C.J., Bellosillo, Puno, Vitug, Quisumbing, Ynares-Santiago, Sandoval-Gutierrez, Carpio, Austria-Martinez, Callejo, Sr., Azcuna and Tinga, JJ., concur.

    Corona and Carpio Morales, JJ., are on leave.

    Endnotes:



    1. Dated April 20, 2001; rollo, pp. 1–2.

    2. Entitled "Guidelines in the Collection of Legal Fees and Submission of Monthly Reports of Collections."cralaw virtua1aw library

    3. Rollo, p. 6.

    4. Id., p. 9.

    5. Id., p. 53–54.

    6. Id., p. 254.

    7. Id., pp. 317–319.

    8. OCA Memorandum dated March 14, 2002, pp. 1–2; rollo, pp. 317–318.

    9. Rollo, p. 320.

    10. Id., pp. 303–306.

    11. Respondent’s Explanation, pp. 1–2; rollo, pp. 303–304.

    12. See letter dated May 10, 2002; id., p. 301.

    13. Rollo, p. 322.

    14. Id., pp. 309–315.

    15. OCA Memorandum dated December 5, 2002, p. 5; rollo, p. 313.

    16. Santos v. Arlegui-Hernandez, AM No. P-02-1556, February 22, 2002.

    17. Reyes-Domingo v. Morales, 342 SCRA 6, October 4, 2000.

    18. Office of the Court Administrator v. Saguyod, AM Nos. P-96-1229-30, March 25, 2002.

    19. B, Chapter I, Manual for Clerk of Courts.

    20. Issued on July 9, 1993.

    21. Issued on March 1, 1992.

    22. Issued on April 30, 1993.

    23. See OCA Memorandum dated March 14, 2002; rollo, pp. 317–319.

    24. Re. Financial Audit Conducted on the Book of Accounts of Clerk of Court Pacita T. Sendin, MTC, Solano, Nueva Vizcaya, AM No. 01-4-119-MTC, January 16, 2002.

    25. Ferriols v. Hiam, 225 SCRA 205, August 9, 1993; OCA v. Galo, 373 Phil 483. September 21, 1999; Re: Report on the Judicial and Financial Audit of RTC-Br. 4, Panaboa, Davao del Norte, 351 Phil 1, March 13, 1998.

    26. Re: Report of Regional Coordinator Felipe Kalalo on Alleged Anomalies Involving JDF Collections in MTCC, Angeles City and MCTC, Minalin, Pampanga, 326 Phil 703, May 15, 1996; Office of the Court Administrator v. Galo, supra.

    27. Office of the Court Administrator v. Quizon, AM No. RTJ-01-1636, February 13, 2002.

    28. OCA Memorandum dated December 5, 2002, p. 6; rollo, p. 314.

    29. 52, b(1) of the Uniform Rules on Administrative Cases in the Civil Service.

    30. Id., 53 (a).

    31. Id., 53 (b).

    32. Rollo, p. 316.

    33. Id., pp. 323–325.

    34. Memorandum dated May 29, 2003, p. 3; rollo, p. 325.

    A.M. No. 01-4-133-MTC   August 26, 2003 - RE: ELSIE C. REMOROZA


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