Re: Mr Datu Ashary M Alauya : AM 02-4-03-SDC : May 27, 2004 : J.
Ynares-Santiago : En Banc : Decision
[A.M. NO. 02-4-03-SDC : May 27, 2004]
RE: WITHHOLDING OF ALL THE SALARIES AND ALLOWANCES OF MR.
DATU ASHARY M. ALAUYA, CLERK OF COURT, 4TH SHARIA DISTRICT COURT,
[A.M. NO. SDC-03-4-P : May 27, 2004]
MINOMBAO M. ABUBACAR, Complainant, v. DATU ASHARY M. ALAUYA, Clerk of Court, Sharia District Court, Marawi
D E C I S I O N
The case before us is a consolidation of two administrative
matters filed against Datu Ashary M. Alauya, Clerk of Court, Sharia District
Court of Marawi City.
In A.M. No. 02-4-03-SDC, Alauya was charged with failure to
submit to the Fiscal Monitoring Division, Court Management Office, Office of
the Court Administrator, the actual records of collections and deposits for the
Judiciary Development Fund and Clerk of Court General Fund needed for audit
examination.1 Upon further examination by Deputy Court Administrator Christopher Lock, it was
found that though there were neither shortages nor overages found in the
accounts, there was deliberate delay in the remittance of the collections.
More importantly, it was discovered that the
actual official receipts issued were not reflected in the cashbook or in the
Monthly Report of Collections and Deposits.
The Office of the Court Administrator conducted an inventory and found
that several official receipt booklets supposedly in the possession of Alauya,
both used or unused, were not accounted for.
Thus, in a letter dated March 20, 2002, Deputy Court Administrator Lock
directed Alauya to produce and submit the missing official receipts and explain
why he should not be charged administratively and criminally for falsifying
records of collections and deposits for Judiciary Development Fund and Clerk of
Court General Fund and for passing the blame on his predecessors.
Deputy Court Administrator Lock further
recommended the withholding of Alauyas salaries and other allowances pending
the submission of all the unaccounted receipts.2 cralawred
In the Resolution dated April 30, 2002, this Court ordered Alauya
to show cause why his salaries and allowances should not be withheld in
accordance with Administrative Circular No. 2-2000.3 By way of compliance, Alauya submitted his letter dated May 20, 2002, wherein
he alleged that after he assumed office of Clerk of Court on March 9, 1992, the
former OIC-Clerk of Court, Ali P. Guro, failed to formally turnover to him the
records and other properties of the court much less inform him of the actual
number of official receipt booklets which were issued to the court.
Thus, the only official receipts Alauya
obtained were those he found kept in the office of the judge when he assumed
He did not request or receive
from the Supreme Court any of the booklets in question.
He also claimed that some of the missing official
receipt booklets were stolen by a dismissed court employee.4 cralawred
The Court, in its Resolution dated July 2, 2002, referred the
matter to the Office of the Court Administrator for evaluation, report and
On the other hand, A.M. No. SDC-03-4-P arose from two
letter-complaints dated August 10, 2001 and August 27, 2001 filed by Ms.
Minombao M. Abubacar, Court Process Server of the Sharia District Court of
Marawi City,6 charging Alauya with the following: (1) falsification of monthly reports and
deposits; (2) falsification of cash remittances; (3) issuing two official
receipts O.R. Nos. 2344451 and 2344380 for a single transaction accruing to
a single fund; (4) non-submission of Sheriff Trust Fund Report; (5) holding
office and discharging of official functions at his place of residence; (6)
bringing office equipment, particularly a typewriter, to his house; and (7)
unlawful encashment of Ms. Abubacars JDF and salary checks.7 Ms. Hedeliza F. Alacaraz, Chief of the Accounting Division of the Supreme
Court, recommended the immediate investigation of Alauya.8 On October 15, 2001, Alauya filed his Comment to the letter-complaints, denying
the allegations leveled against him, which he classified as mere attempts to
malign his reputation.
In fact, Ms.
Abubacar and her husband were the ones engaged in anomalous activities such as
stealing court properties and encashing of salary checks which Ms. Abubacar was
not entitled to as she has been absent from work without official leave (AWOL)
for several months.9 cralawred
On November 20, 2002, Deputy Court Administrator Lock, acting on
the two Administrative Matters, made the following recommendations, which the
Court En Banc adopted on January 14, 2003, to wit:chanroblesvirtua1awlibrary
a) Direct Mr. Datu Ashary M. Alauya, Clerk
of Court, Sharia District Court to COMMENT on the alleged falsification of
reports and cash
remittances by the
issuance of two (2) sets of official receipts, within ten (10) days from notice
b) REFER this matter to Executive Judge
VALERIO M. SALAZAR, RTC, Iligan City, for investigation, report and
recommendation thereon within sixty (60) days from receipt of the records
c) DETAIL Clerk of Court Alauya at the
Office of the Clerk of Court, RTC, Marawi City, to prevent tampering of court
records, pending investigation of this matter.10 cralawred
Alauya submitted his Comment11 dated February 5, 2003 where he denied the charges of falsifications and
reiterated that the complaints were part of a plot to cause his removal from
He requested that his case
be referred instead to Executive Judge Amer R. Ibrahim of the Regional Trial
Court of Marawi City, alleging that he can only have fair, just and equitable
justice if his case was investigated by a fellow Muslim.
This Court noted the Comment submitted by
Alauya and referred these cases to Executive Judge Salazar.
On June 25, 2003, the Court re-docketed Ms. Abubacars
letter-complaint as a separate administrative matter and ordered its
consolidation with A.M. No. 02-4-03-SDC.
Meanwhile, Judge Salazar, after conducting separate
investigations on the two cases, submitted his Report and Recommendation as
regards A.M. No. 02-4-03-SDC.
that Alauya assumed office on March 9, 1992 as OIC-Clerk of Court, Sharia
District Court of Marawi City; that no formal turnover was made to Alauya by
the former OIC-Clerk of Court, Ali P. Guro; that the fifteen booklets of
official receipts bearing serial numbers 2344251-2345000 were mailed by the
Property Division to the Sharia District Court on 16 March 1992;12 that on September 15, 1992, a letter was received by the Property Division
acknowledging receipt of the booklets with the information that one booklet was
taken by a former employee of the court; that according to Mr. Tribiana of the
Property Division, a copy of such letter could no longer be found as their
storage room was flooded in 1999; that when the booklets were sent, Alauya had
already assumed office and is the accountable officer for such matters; that
Alauya, in his comment, admitted that he had in his possession nine out of the
fifteen booklets of official receipts sent by the Property Division; that one
of the receipts illegally issued, Official Receipt No. 2344451, is part of one
of the booklets which Alauya admitted was with him but which he claims was
already incomplete when it came into his possession; that the other receipt,
Official Receipt No. 2344380, was taken from one of the booklets which cannot
be accounted for; that it was Alauya who received the petition in Sp. Proc. No.
18-98 for filing and for which the questioned receipts were issued; that, as
testified to by Alejandrea Guro, the current OIC-Clerk of Court of the Sharia
District Court of Marawi City, the records of Sp. Proc. No. 18-98 were
discovered lost after a physical inventory was conducted while all the other
records remained intact; and that notwithstanding the foregoing, the evidence
is insufficient to prove that it was indeed Alauya who issued the questioned
Hence, he recommended that
the charges against Alauya on the matter of having issued two sets of receipts
in Sp. Proc. No. 18-98 and reporting lesser amounts be dismissed, but Alauya
should be made to explain the loss of the records of Sp. Proc. No. 18-98 and
the six booklets of official receipts for which he is accountable.13 cralawred
On September 25, 2003, Judge Salazar submitted his Report and
Recommendation, as regards A.M. No. SDC-03-4-P.He stated that despite several notices, Ms. Abubacar and her
witness, Minang Magadapa Abubacar, failed to appear and testify at the
Judge Salazar concluded
that the apparent lack of resolve of Ms. Abubacar to present evidence to
substantiate her letter-complaints indicates that the charges were merely
intended to harass, annoy and inconvenience Alauya.Thus, he recommended the dismissal of the charges against Alauya
for failure of Ms. Abubacar to prosecute.
Upon receipt of the two reports, Deputy Court Administrator Lock
1) Respondent Datu Ashary M. Alauya be
SUSPENDED for a period of ONE (1) MONTH WITHOUT PAY for negligence in the
custody of court property;chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
2) Respondent be required to explain in
writing the loss of the six (6) booklets to wit: 2344251-2344300;
2344301-2344350; 2344351-23434400; 2344501-2344550; 2344551-2344600; and
2344651-2344700 and the records in Sp. Proc. No. 18-98; andcralawlibrary
3) Letter-Complaints dated 10 August 2001
and 27 August 2001 of Minambao M. Abubacar be DISMISSED for apparent lack of
interest on the part of the complainant to prosecute said complaint.14 cralawred
On January 5, 2004, Alauya wrote to the Court praying for the
immediate dismissal of the cases against him for lack of merit, for his
immediate reinstatement to his position as Clerk of Court of the Sharia
District Court of Marawi City and the release of his RATA from May to December
2003.15 The Court, upon recommendation of the Office of the Court Administrator,
resolved to:16 cralawred
a) INFORM Clerk of Court Datu Ashary M.
Alauya that the resolution of his request to dismiss A.M. Nos. 02-4-03-SDC and
SDC-03-4-P and the release of the withheld RATA for the months of May to
December 2003 depend on the final outcome of the administrative charges against
b) DENY the request of Clerk of Court
Alauya for the revocation of his detail, considering that he has yet to explain
the loss of the six (6) booklets, with serial nos. 2344251-2344300;
2344301-2344350; 2344351-23434400; 2344501-2344550; 2344551-2344600; and
2344651-2344700 and the records in Sp. Proc. No. 18-98.
We agree with the findings of the Deputy Court Administrator
Christopher Lock that, based on the evidence gathered, Clerk of Court Datu
Ashary M. Alauya incurred culpability for his negligence in the custody of
court records and properties.
we find that the recommended penalty is not commensurate to the gravity of his
It is clear that a clerk of court and the administrative
functions he performs are vital to the prompt and proper administration of
Section A, Chapter II (3) of
the 1991 Manual for Clerks of Court provides that it is the clerk of court's
duty to safely keep all records, papers, files, exhibits and public property
committed to his charge, including the library of the court and the seal and
furniture belonging to his office. As court custodian, a clerk of court has the
responsibility to ensure that records are safely kept and the same are readily
available upon the request of the parties or order of the court. He must be
diligent and vigilant in performing his official duties and in supervising and
managing court dockets and records.17 Section C, Chapter VII also provides that the clerk of court is in charge of
allocating and distributing court properties and supplies and exercises control
and supervision over the possession, custody and safekeeping of court
properties and supplies.18 cralawred
It appears from the records that Alauya was appointed as Clerk of
Court on March 2, 1992 and assumed office on March 9, 1992.
The Property Division of the Supreme Court
sent the booklets of official receipts to the Sharia District Court of Marawi
City on March 16, 1992, well within the effectivity of Alauyas term as clerk
Granting for the sake of
argument that Alauya was not the one who received the booklets, the tracer
letter sent by the Property Division of the Supreme Court, which the Sharia
District Court of Marawi City responded to on September 15, 1992, should have
alerted Alauya on the booklets of official receipts that were sent to his
Had he been more circumspect in
his duties, Alauya would have discovered the missing booklets and reported the
incident to this Court.
the evidence does not categorically show that Alauya issued O.R. Nos. 2344451
and 2344380, the similarity of Alauyas handwriting to the one appearing on the
receipts, coupled with his own admission that one of said receipts came from a
booklet in his possession cast a shadow of doubt to his claimed innocence.
Alauya is presumed to have knowledge of the
courts acceptance of the delivered booklets, and his negligence in the custody
of these court properties is palpable in the illegal issuance of said receipts.
Alauyas negligence is more pronounced in light of the missing
records of Sp. Proc. No. 18-98.
testified before Judge Salazar, he admitted that he was the one who received
the case when it was filed.19 The sheer coincidence that the missing court records pertain to the very same
case for which O.R. Nos. 2344451 and 2344380 were issued does not escape
However, no evidence was presented
which points to Alauya as the mastermind behind the disappearance of the
Nonetheless, it is Alauyas
duty as clerk of court to safely keep all records, papers, files, exhibits and
public property committed to his charge.
As custodian of judicial records, it is incumbent upon him to ensure an
orderly and efficient record management system in the court and to supervise
the personnel under his office to function effectively.20 A clerk of court plays a key role in the complement of the court and cannot be
permitted to slacken on his job under one pretext or another. He must be
assiduous in performing his official duties and in supervising and managing
court dockets and records.21 cralawred
We have said time and again that persons involved in the administration
of justice, from the highest official to the lowest clerk, must live up to the
strictest standards of honesty and integrity in the public service, especially
since the image of a court of justice is necessarily mirrored in the conduct,
official or otherwise, of the personnel who work thereat.22 As an officer of the court, Alauya was duty-bound to use reasonable skill and
diligence in the performance of his officially designated duties as clerk of
He fell short of this standard.
Therefore, respondent is guilty of gross neglect of duty.
While his offense is punishable by dismissal
from the service,23 we believe that penalty of suspension for eighteen months without pay is more
appropriate in the circumstances.
As regards the charges against Alauya arising from the
letter-complaints of Ms. Minombao Abubacar, we agree with the view of Executive
Judge Salazar that Ms. Abubacars failure to appear at the investigation
proceedings despite repeated notice shows her evident lack of concern for the
prosecution of the case.
Indeed, it is
incumbent upon Ms. Abubacar to present evidence to support the allegations she
made in her letters.
absence during the proceedings, which she failed to justify, leads us to
conclude that she does not possess any such evidence.We are therefore constrained to order the dismissal of the same.
WHEREFORE, in view of
all the foregoing, Clerk of Court Datu Ashary M. Alauya of the Sharia District
Court of Marawi City is found guilty of gross neglect of duty in the custody of
court property and is SUSPENDED for a period of EIGHTEEN (18) MONTHS WITHOUT
PAY, effective immediately.
Administrative Matter No. SDC-03-4-P arising from the letter-complaints
of Minambao Abubacar dated August 10, 2001 and August 27, 2001, is DISMISSED
for lack of evidence.
Vitug (Acting Chief Justice),
Sandoval-Gutierrez, Carpio, Austria-Martinez, Corona, Carpio-Morales, Callejo,
Sr., Azcuna, and TINGA, JJ., concur.
Davide, Jr., C.J., and
Puno, J., on official leave.
1 Based on the notice sent to Alauya on 30 August 2001 and 25 September 2001 by
Ms. Verina F. Yap, Chief Judicial Staff Officer of the Fiscal Monitoring
Division, Court Management Office, Office of the Court Administrator,
requesting Alauya to submit the required documents for audit purposes,
Administrative Matter No. 02-4-03-SDC Rollo, pp. 60-63.
6 The letters were addressed to Ms. Hedeliza F. Alacaraz, Chief of the Accounting
Division of the Supreme Court, and Justice Zenaida N. Elipao, Acting Court
7 A.M. No. SDC-03-4-P 1stRollo,
10 Administrative Matter No. 02-4-03-SDC Rollo,
12 Per letter sent by Mr. Gil Tribiana, Chief Judicial Staff Officer of the
Property Division, to Executive Judge Valerio Salazar dated 5 May 2003,
Administrative Matter No. SDC-03-4-P 2ndRollo, p. 144.
14 A.M. No. SDC-03-4-P 1stRollo,
18 The same principles were carried over to the 2002 Revised Manual for Clerks of
Court Prepared by the 2001 Ad Hoc
Committee for the Revision of the Manual for Clerks of Court.
Printed by the Supreme Court Printing
Service, Manila, April 2002.
19 TSN, 10 March 2003, A.M. No. SDC-03-4-P 2ndRollo, p. 239.
21 Report On The Judicial Audit
Conducted In Regional Trial Court, Branch 61, Gumaca, Quezon; Regional Trial
Court, Branch 63, Calauag, Quezon; Municipal Trial Court, Calauag, Quezon, And
Municipal Trial Court, Tagkawayan, Quezon, A.M. No. 98-8-262-RTC,
2000, 328 SCRA 543, citing Lloveras v. Sanchez, A.M. No. P-93-817, 18 January 1994, 229 SCRA 302; Office of the Court
Administrator v. Banalan, A.M. No.
P-93-945, 24 March 1994, 231 SCRA 408; RTC Makati Movement Against Graft and
Corruption v. Dumlao, A.M. No.
P-93-800, 9 August 1995, 247 SCRA 108; Nidua v. Lazaro, A.M. No. R-465 MTJ, 29 May 1989, 174 SCRA 581.
23 Rule IV, Section 52, Uniform Rules on Administrative Cases in the Civil Service
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