Muyco v. Saratan : AM P-03-1761 : April 2, 2004 : J. Quisumbing : Second
Division : Resolution
[A.M. NO. P-03-1761.
April 2, 2004]
ATTY. RAUL A. MUYCO,
Complainant, v. EVA B. SARATAN, Branch Clerk of
Court, Branch 32, RTC, Iloilo City,
R E S O L U T I O N
In his verified complaint1 dated July 14, 2003, complainant Atty. Raul A. Muyco charges respondent Eva B.
Saratan, Clerk of Court, Branch 32 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Iloilo
City, with violation of Section 5 (a) of Republic Act No. 6713,2 neglect of duty, refusal to perform official duty, and conduct unbecoming a
Complainant is the counsel for the plaintiff-appellee in an
unlawful detainer case entitled F &
C Lending Investor/Marcelino Florete, Jr. v. Rexie Protasio originally
docketed as Civil Case No. 2000(459) before Branch 3 of the MTCC of Iloilo
He alleges that he secured a
favorable judgment for his client, and immediately filed a motion for
Unfortunately, the court a
quo did not resolve the motion because the defendant had appealed the
judgment to the RTC of Iloilo City and the records had been transmitted to
Branch 32, where the appeal had been raffled.
Even with the appeal having been taken, however, complainant
discovered that no supersedeas bond had been posted and no monthly rentals had
He again sought to
execute the judgment in a motion for execution pending appeal, but the motion
was likewise denied on May 30, 2003.
The presiding judge justified his denial on considerations of equity and
the existence of a prejudicial question.
Complainant considered the denial a palpable violation and
disregard of Section 19,3 Rule 70 of the Rules of Court, and thought of seeking a writ of mandamus
from the Court of Appeals.4 To prepare his petition, complainant
requested on June 16, 2003, a certification from respondent that based on the
records (1) the defendant-appellant has not posted a supersedeas bond to stay
the execution and (2) that the defendant-appellant has likewise not made the
monthly deposit of rents awarded in the decision of the court of origin.5 Respondent ignored the request so he
reiterated it in a letter6 dated July 4, 2003.
respondent of her duties under Rep. Act No. 6713 and advised her that her
continued refusal to issue the requested certification would constrain him to
institute administrative charges against her. Undaunted, respondent continued
to ignore the request.
Hence, on July
15, 2003, complainant filed the instant complaint.crvll
In her comment7 dated August 25, 2003, respondent explains that while she had the ministerial
duty to issue the certification she hesitated to issue it immediately.
According to her, the parties to the appeal
were still arguing on the appellants failure to post the supersedeas bond and
to make the monthly deposits.
certification requested of her also concern facts related to these litigated
matters, she became confused whether she was indeed required to issue the
She adds that she was
also fearful that her issuance of the certification might expose her to
In perhaps an attempt to cite a possible mitigating, if not
absolving, circumstance, respondent further cites that complainant sought a
reconsideration of the order denying the motion for execution pending
complainant moved for the inhibition of the presiding judge before the latter
could resolve the motion for reconsideration.
On December 10, 2003, the Court resolved to have the case
re-docketed as a regular administrative matter.
The facts of this case make out a clear case of simple neglect of
Section 5 (a) and (d) of Rep. Act No. 6713 or the Code of Conduct
and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees provides:chanroblesvirtua1awlibrary
Sec. 5.Duties of
Public Officials and Employees. In the performance of their duties, all
public officials and employees are under obligation to:chanroblesvirtua1awlibrary
(a) Act promptly on letters and requests.
All public officials and employees shall, within fifteen (15) working days from
receipt thereof, respond to letters, telegrams or other means of communications
sent by the public. The reply must contain the action taken on the request.
(d) Act immediately on the public's
personal transactions. All public officials and employees must attend to
anyone who wants to avail himself of the services of their offices and must, at
all times, act promptly and expeditiously.
In Administrative Circular No. 08-99 dated July 2, 1999, we
emphasized the importance of complying with these provisions.
The Circular reads:chanroblesvirtua1awlibrary
TO:ALL OFFICIALS AND
PERSONNEL OF THE JUDICIARY
RE:PROMPT ACTION ON LETTERS
AND REQUESTS ANDPUBLICS PERSONAL
It has been observed by, and brought to the attention of, the Chief
Justice that in some instances complaints, letters or requests from the public addressed
to the officials of the Judiciary are belatedly answered or not answered at
All concerned are reminded of paragraphs (a) and (d) of Section 5
of R.A. No. 6713, otherwise known as the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards
for Public Officials and Employees, which explicitly mandate as follows:chanroblesvirtua1awlibrary
The Presiding Justices of the Court of Appeals and the
Sandiganbayan, the Court Administrator, the Deputy Court Administrators, the
Assistant Court Administrators, the Clerk of Court of the Supreme Court, the
Presiding Judge of the Court of Tax Appeals, and all Executive Judges and
clerks of court of all other courts shall see to it that this Circular is
immediately disseminated and strictly observed.
This Circular shall take effect immediately.
City of Manila, 02 July 1999.
(Sgd.) HILARIO G.
Thus, as a public employee, it is respondents duty to act on the
letters and requests of the public within 15 working days from the time she
receives them and to attend promptly and expeditiously to anyone who wants to
avail of the services of her office.
this case, however, respondent issued the requested certifications only on July
23, 2003,8 more than a month the time complainant requested it.
Respondent is reminded of her sacred duty as an officer of the
court to attend to the publics query. As we held in Reyes-Domingo v. Morales :9 cralawred
A Clerk of Court is an essential and a ranking officer of our
judicial system who performs delicate administrative functions vital to the
prompt and proper administration of justice. A Clerk of Courts office is the
nucleus of activities both adjudicative and administrative, performing, among
others, the functions of keeping the records and seal, issuing processes,
entering judgments and orders and giving, upon request, certified copies from
Even if she were truly at a loss on what action to take on
complainants request, as she claims, respondent should have communicated to
complainant her alleged dilemma instead of sitting on the letter, thus giving
the impression that she ignored the same.
Repeatedly, we have emphasized the heavy burden and responsibility which
the court officials and employees are mandated to observe, in view of their
exalted positions as keepers of the public faith.10 They are constantly reminded that any impression of impropriety, misdeed or
negligence in the performance of official functions must be avoided.11 We will never countenance any conduct, act or omission on the part of all those
involved in the administration of justice that would violate the norm of public
accountability and diminish the faith of the people in the judiciary.12 cralawred
Under Section 52(C) (15),
Rule IV of CSC Memorandum Circular No.
19, Series of 1999 or the Revised Uniform Rules on Administrative Cases in the
Civil Service, respondents infraction is classified as a light offense
punishable as follows:chanroblesvirtua1awlibrary
Section 15. Classification of Offenses.Administrative offenses with
corresponding penalties are classified into grave, less grave or light,
depending on their gravity or depravity and the effect on the government
C. The following are Light Offenses with
to attend to anyone who wants to avail himself of the services of the office,
or act promptly and expeditiously on public transaction
Suspension 130 days
3rd Offense Dismissal
Considering that this is respondents first offense, the penalty
of reprimand is warranted.13 cralawred
EVA B. SARATAN, Branch Clerk of Court in Branch 32 of the Regional Trial Court
of Iloilo City, is REPRIMANDEDand
STERNLY WARNED that commission
of similar acts would be dealt with more severely. cra
Austria-Martinez, Callejo, Sr., and
TINGA, JJ., concur.
Puno, (Chairman), J., on
Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees.
Immediate execution of judgment; how to stay same
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
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
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.
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
so paid to the appellate court shall be deposited with said court or authorized
government depositary bank, and shall be held there until the final disposition
of the appeal, unless the court, by agreement of the interested parties, or in
the absence of reasonable grounds of opposition to a motion to withdraw, or for
justifiable reasons, shall decree otherwise.
Should the defendant fail to make the payments above prescribed from
time to time during the pendency of the appeal, the appellate court, upon
motion of the plaintiff, and upon proof of such failure, shall order the
execution of the judgment appealed from with respect to the restoration of
possession, but such execution shall not be a bar to the appeal taking its
course until the final disposition thereof on the merits.
A.M. No. P-99-1285, 4 October 2000, 342 SCRA 6, 15.
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