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September-2003 Jurisprudence                 

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  • A.M. No. P-02-1562 September 11, 2003 - ROMULO SG. VILLANUEVA v. CHARLIE C. LARCENA

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  • G.R. Nos. 136286-89 September 11, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. EFREN G. DE TAZA

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  • A.M. No. MTJ-01-1347 September 18, 2003 - BENJAMIN TUDTUD v. MAMERTO Y. COLIFLORES

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  • G.R. No. 156259 September 18, 2003 - GROGUN, INC. v. NAPOCOR

  • G.R. No. 157957 September 18, 2003 - CHARITO NAVAROSA v. COMELEC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 142974 September 22, 2003 - SPS. SHEM G. ALFARERO and AURELIA TAGALOG v. SPS. PETRA and SANCHO SEVILLA

  • G.R. No. 152529 September 22, 2003 - SPS. HENDRIK and ALICIA S. BIESTERBOS v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • A.M. No. MTJ-02-1450 September 23, 2003 - RAMIRO S. DE JOYA v. AUGUSTUS C. DIAZ

  • A.M. No. MTJ-03-1509 September 23, 2003 - HELEN GAMBOA-MIJARES v. MANUEL Q. LIMSIACO, JR., ET AL.

  • A.M. No. P-03-1732 September 23, 2003 - ROSENINA O. UY, ET AL. v. LOLITA R. EDILO

  • G.R. No. 123140 September 23, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. BERNARDO CORTEZANO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 135446 September 23, 2003 - COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE v. BPI

  • G.R. No. 136729 September 23, 2003 - ASTRO ELECTRONICS CORP., ET AL. v. PHIL. EXPORT AND FOREIGN LOAN GUARANTEE CORP.

  • G.R. Nos. 138716-19 September 23, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. JOSE PILLAS

  • G.R. No. 138725 September 23, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ALBERTO OLIVAR

  • G.R. No. 139360 September 23, 2003 - HLC CONSTRUCTION AND DEV’T. CORP., ET AL. v. EHSHA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 140982 September 23, 2003 - MARIO GUTIERREZ v. SINGER SEWING MACHINE COMPANY, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 141434 September 23, 2003 - ANTONIO LO v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 143132 September 23, 2003 - VAN MELLE PHILS. ET AL. v. VICTOR M. ENDAYA

  • G.R. No. 144533 September 23, 2003 - JIMMY L. BARNES v. TERESITA C. REYES, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 146786-88 September 23, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ANDRES T. DAÑO

  • G.R. No. 149295 September 23, 2003 - PHILIPPINE NATIONAL BANK v. GENEROSO DE JESUS

  • G.R. No. 149370 September 23, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. MARTIN ALEJO

  • G.R. No. 150905 September 23, 2003 - CITIBANK v. EFREN S. TEODORO

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  • G.R. No. 156295 September 23, 2003 - MARCELO R. SORIANO v. SPS. RICARDO and ROSALINA GALIT

  • G.R. No. 156983 September 23, 2003 - In the Matter of the Application for the Habeas Corpus of JOSE VICTOR RIGOR y DANAO v. The Superintendent

  • A.M. No. P-00-1418 September 24, 2003 - OFFICE OF THE COURT ADMINISTRATOR v. CELESTINA B. CORPUZ

  • G.R. No. 124293 September 24, 2003 - JG SUMMIT HOLDINGS v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 130087 September 24, 2003 - DIANA M. BARCELONA v. CA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 136726 September 24, 2003 - PANFILO V. VILLARUEL v. REYNALDO D. FERNANDO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 148924 September 24, 2003 - TOYOTA MOTOR PHILS. v. CA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 153781 September 24, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. MATEO GREGORIO, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 153885 & 156214 September 24, 2003 - LEPANTO CONSOLIDATED MINING CO. v. WMC RESOURCES INTERNATIONAL PTY. LTD.

  • A.M. No. RTJ-03-1746 September 26, 2003 - ROGER F. BORJA v. ZORAYDA H. SALCEDO

  • G.R. No. 130330 September 26, 2003 - FERNANDO GO v. MICHAEL TAN and LOLITA TAN

  • G.R. No. 141217 September 26, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. EUSEBIO DUBAN

  • G.R. No. 144037 September 26, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. NOEL P. TUDTUD, ET AL.

  • A.C. No. 5480 September 29, 2003 - LEILANI OCAMPO-INGCOCO, ET AL. v. ALEJANDRO G. YRREVERRE, JR.

  • G.R. Nos. 137370-71 September 29, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. RAUL OCO

  • G.R. No. 139185 September 29, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ALFONSO RIVERA

  • G.R. No. 148902 September 29, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. DANILO ANDRADE

  • G.R. No. 149718 September 29, 2003 - MARIO VALEROSO v. PEOPLE OF THE PHIL.

  • G.R. No. 152057 September 29, 2003 - PT & T CORP. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • A.C. No. 5854 September 30, 2003 - NORA E. MIWA v. RENE O. MEDINA

  • G.R. No. 127593 September 30, 2003 - CLARA C. DE LA CRUZ, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 136742-43 September 30, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. DANILO Y. ALFARO

  • G.R. Nos. 140514-15 September 30, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. JUNE IGNAS

  • G.R. No. 142751 September 30, 2003 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. RODRIGO OPELIÑA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 143010 September 30, 2003 - MIGUEL DANOFRATA v. PEOPLE OF THE PHIL.

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  • G.R. No. 148332 September 30, 2003 - NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT COMPANY v. MADRIGAL WAN HAI LINES CORP.

  •  





     
     

    A.M. No. P-02-1562   September 11, 2003 - ROMULO SG. VILLANUEVA v. CHARLIE C. LARCENA

     
    PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT DECISIONS

    FIRST DIVISION

    [A.M. No. P-02-1562. September 11, 2003.]

    (formerly, A.M. OCA IPI No. 00-968-P)

    JUDGE ROMULO SG. VILLANUEVA, Presiding Judge of the Regional Trial Court of Ligao, Albay, Branch 12, Complainant, v. CHARLIE C. LARCENA, Utility Worker I of the Regional Trial Court of Ligao, Albay, Branch 12, Respondent.

    D E C I S I O N


    CARPIO, J.:


    The Facts


    Judge Romulo SG. Villanueva ("Judge Villanueva"), presiding judge of the Regional Trial Court of Branch 12, Ligao, Albay ("RTC-Branch 12"), issued a Memorandum dated 3 July 2000 to respondent Charlie Larcena ("Larcena"), a Utility Worker I of the court. The Memorandum stated that in the afternoon of 30 June 2000, a Friday, Larcena was not in the office during office hours in violation of a previous memorandum requiring the physical presence of employees in office premises during office hours. When Larcena returned to the office, he was "reeking (with) liquor" in violation of Civil Service Rules and Supreme Court regulations. The Memorandum required Larcena to explain within seventy-two hours why no administrative complaint should be filed against him.

    In compliance with the Memorandum, Larcena explained that at around 3:30 p.m. of 30 June 2000, he left the office to take his "merienda." After 10 to 15 minutes, he went back to the office and continued cleaning the session hall, a work he regularly performed every afternoon. He further claimed that he did not take even a single shot of liquor that afternoon.chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary

    Atty. Wilfredo Gerardo T. Guerrero, Jr. and Domingo B. Uvero, Branch Clerk of Court and Court Interpreter III, respectively, of RTC-Branch 12, executed a Joint Affidavit dated 11 August 2000. In their Joint Affidavit, they stated that in the afternoon of 30 June 2000, they noticed that Larcena was nowhere within the immediate vicinity of their workstation. They stated further in their Joint Affidavit that at around 4 o’clock that afternoon, while they were at their workstation, Larcena arrived reeking with liquor. Upon inquiry, Larcena told them that he just had his snack somewhere.

    In his 1st Indorsement dated 16 August 2000, Judge Villanueva forwarded the Memorandum, Joint Affidavit and explanation of Larcena to the Office of the Court Administrator ("OCA") for proper administrative sanction against Larcena, if warranted.

    In this Court’s Resolution dated 13 February 2002, we required the parties to manifest if they were willing to submit this case based on the pleadings and records already filed and submitted. Judge Villanueva manifested that he was so submitting the case. Larcena did not file any manifestation despite receipt of this Court’s Resolution. Hence, in the Resolution of 3 March 2003, we considered this case submitted for decision.

    OCA Report and Recommendation

    The OCA found that Larcena left the office in the afternoon of 30 June 2000 during office hours, and reeked with liquor when he came back to the office, also during office hours. The Joint Affidavit of the Branch Clerk and Court Interpreter established these acts of Larcena. There was no reason for these responsible court officials to accuse falsely Larcena. Thus, the OCA recommended the suspension of Larcena for three days without pay for violation of Civil Service Rules, with warning that a repetition of the same or similar acts in the future would warrant a more severe penalty.

    The Court’s Ruling


    We adopt the OCA’s findings of fact that Larcena left the office during office hours and returned to work reeking with liquor. Larcena did not refute this accusation except to make a bare denial. Larcena’s bare denial cannot overcome the clear and categorical assertions of the Branch Clerk and Court Interpreter.

    The men and women who work in the Judiciary must always act with propriety and decorum. Their actuations should embody prudence, restraint, courtesy and dignity. It is true that Larcena is a mere court aide or utility worker. However, Larcena’s actuations still reflect adversely on the integrity and efficiency of the Judiciary. Leaving the office during office hours at his pleasure and returning to work reeking with liquor impair his efficiency as a court employee. Larcena’s actuations also diminish the respect of the public for the men and women who work in the Judiciary. Thus, as held in Basco v. Gregorio: 1

    The exacting standards of ethics and morality imposed upon court employees and judges are reflective of the premium placed on the image of the court of justice, and that image is necessarily mirrored in the conduct, official or otherwise, of the men and women who work thereat. It thus becomes the imperative and sacred duty of everyone charged with the dispensation of justice, from the judge to the lowliest clerk, to maintain the courts’ good name and standing as true temples of justice. Circumscribed with the heavy burden of responsibility, their conduct at all times must not only be characterized with propriety and decorum, but above all else, must be above suspicion. Indeed, every employee of the Judiciary should be an example of integrity, probity, uprightness, honesty and diligence.chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary

    A public office is a public trust. The conduct of all those involved in the administration of justice — from the presiding judge to the lowliest utility worker — is circumscribed with the heavy burden of responsibility, accountability, integrity, uprightness and honesty. 2 Improper behavior, particularly during office hours, exhibits not only paucity of professionalism at the workplace but also a great disrespect to the court itself. Such demeanor is a failure of circumspection demanded of every public official and employee. 3

    Due to the nature and functions of their office, the 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. Inherent in this mandate are the observance of prescribed office hours and the efficient use of time for public service. 4 Leaving the office for non-official business and drinking liquor during office hours are violations of reasonable office rules. 5 They constitute light offenses under Section 22, Rule XIV (Discipline) of the Omnibus Rules Implementing Book V of Executive Order No. 292 6 and Other Pertinent Civil Service Laws for which the penalties are:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    1st offense — Reprimand

    2nd offense — Suspension for one (1) to thirty (30) days

    3rd offense — Dismissal

    The OCA’s recommendation of suspension for three days is not proper since there is no showing that this is Larcena’s second offense. Thus, under existing rules, reprimand is the proper penalty for a first offense.

    WHEREFORE, Charlie C. Larcena, Utility Worker I of the Regional Trial Court of Ligao, Albay, Branch 12, is REPRIMANDED for violating Civil Service Rules and Supreme Court regulations. He is sternly warned that a repetition of the same or similar acts in the future will result in a more severe penalty from this Court.

    SO ORDERED.

    Davide, Jr., C.J., Vitug and Ynares-Santiago, JJ., concur.

    Azcuna, J., on official leave.

    Endnotes:



    1. 315 Phil. 681 (1995).

    2. Villanueva v. Milan, A.M. No. P-02-1642, 27 September 2002.

    3. Gratela v. Yonzon, Jr., 326 Phil. 595 (1996).

    4. Administrative Circular No. 2-99, 15 January 1999.

    5. Ibid., also Administrative Circular No. 1-99, 15 January 1999.

    6. Revised Administrative Code of 1987.

    A.M. No. P-02-1562   September 11, 2003 - ROMULO SG. VILLANUEVA v. CHARLIE C. LARCENA


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