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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
 

   
February-2006 Jurisprudence                 

  • A.C. No. 6353 - SPS. DAVID AND MARISA WILLIAMS v. ATTY. RUDY T. ENRIQUEZ

  • A.C. No. 5653 - JOHN SIY LIM v. ATTY. CARMELITO A. MONTANO

  • A.C. No. 6651 - EDUARDO P. MENESES v. ATTY. RODOLFO P. MACALINO

  • A.C. No. 6712 - CRISANTA JIMENEZ v. ATTY. JOEL JIMENEZ

  • A.C. No. 6963 - VICTORINA BAUTISTA v. ATTY. SERGIO E. BERNABE

  • A.C. No. 6971 - QUIRINO TOMLIN II v. ATTY. SALVADOR N. MOYA II

  • A.C. No. 6973 - ROBERT FRANCIS F. MARONILLA, ET AL. v. ATTYS. EFREN N. JORDA, ET AL.

  • A.M. No. 04-6-313-RTC - LETTER OF ATTY. SOCORRO M. VILLAMER-BASILLA ETC.

  • A.M. No. 05-11-320-MCTC - REPORT ON THE FINANCIAL AUDIT ETC.

  • A.M. No. MTJ-02-1465 - CONSUELO VDA. DE CASTRO VS. JUDGE ALFONSO R. CAWALING ETC.

  • A.M. No. MTJ-02-1440 - OFFICE OF THE COURT ADMINISTRATOR v. JUDGE RICARDO P. LIWANAG, ET AL.

  • A.M. No. MTJ-05-1608 - BERNARDO P. BETOY, SR. v. JUDGE MAMERTO Y. COLIFLORES

  • A.M. No. MTJ-05-1609 - TRINIDAD O. LACHICA v. JUDGE ROSABELLA M. TORMIS

  • A.M. No. MTJ-05-1615 - ERLINDA P. VARCAS v. JUDGE RAFAEL P. OROLA, JR., ETC.

  • A.M. NO. P-04-1786 - ADELAIDA ESCOBAR VDA. DE LOPEZ v. ATTY. ANALIZA M. LUNA, ET AL.

  • A.M. No. P-04-1822 - SINFOROSO P. ANG VS. ARNIEL E. CRUZ ETC.

  • A.M. No. P-05-1987 - DR. EDWIN FONGHE, ET AL. v. CYNTHIA BAJARIAS-CARTILLA ETC.

  • A.M. No. P-06-2110 & A.M. No. P-03-1692 - SPS. ROMULO AND ESTIFANA ARELLANO v. CLERK OF COURT JESUS P. MANINGAS, ET AL.

  • A.M. No. P-06-2115 - ANGELES MANGUBAT v. JOEL FRANCIS C. CAMINO ETC.

  • A.M. No. RTJ-03-1796 - GARY P. ROSAURO v. JUDGE ALFREDO E. KALLOS ETC.

  • A.M. No. RTJ-05-1950 - RE: JUDICIAL AUDIT ETC.

  • G.R. No. 125283 - PAN PACIFIC INDUSTRIAL SALES CO., INC., v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 130260 - HILARIA RAMOS VDA. DE BRIGINO v. DOMINADOR RAMOS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 130871 - FIL-ESTATE MANAGEMENT INC., ET AL. v. GEORGE H. TRONO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 132284 - TELENGTAN BROTHERS & SONS, INC. v. UNITED STATES LINES, INC. ET AL .

  • G.R. No. 134154 - SPS. PEDRO M. REGALADO, ET AL. v. ABRAHAM M. REGALADO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 134617 - SPS. LUIS K.S. LIM AND CHUA SIAM ETC, ET AL. v. THE COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 134728 - RICARDO O. MONTINOLA, JR, ET AL. v. REPUBLIC PLANTERS BANK, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 138381 & G.R. No. 141625 - Government Service Insurance System v. Commission On Audit

  • G.R. No. 138033 - RENATO BALEROS, JR. v. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES

  • G.R. No. 138592 - ELSA TAGUNICAR, ET AL. v. LORNA EXPRESS CREDIT CORP.

  • G.R. No. 140102 - UNION INDUSTRIES, INC. v. GASPAR VALES, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 143185 - NESTOR MENDIZABEL, ET AL. v. FERNANDO APAO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 143361 - PAULO BALLESTEROS v. ROLANDO ABION

  • G.R. No. 144723 - LARRY ESTACION v. NOE BERNARDO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 143487 - TOMMY FERRER v. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES

  • G.R. No. 144732 - ROLANDO LIMPO v. COURT OF APPEALS, AT AL.

  • G.R. No. 145938 - OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN v. THE HONORABLE AUGUSTO V. BREVA, ET AL.

  • G.R. NOS. 146653-54 and G.R. NOS. 147407-08 - WESTMONT PHARMACEUTICALS, INC., ET AL. v. RICARDO C. SAMANIEGO

  • G.R. No. 146818 - JAN-DEC CONSTRUCTION CORPORATION v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 146853 - SALVADOR COMILANG v. FRANCISCO BURCENA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 147989 - ROLANDO CLAVECILLA v. TERESITO QUITAIN, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 149118 - FLAVIANA LIM CAJAYON, ET AL. v. SPS. SANTIAGO AND FORTUNATA BATUYONG

  • G.R. No. 149138 - TPI PHILIPPINES CEMENT CORPORATION, ET AL. v. BENEDICTO A. CAJUCOM VII

  • G.R. No. 149449 - DANIEL C. VALENZUELA, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 150910 - BIENVENIDO GONZALUDO v. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES

  • G.R. No. 151376 - FILOMENO G. GONZALES v. QUIRINO G. GONZALES ETC.

  • G.R. No. 152133 - ROLLIE CALIMUTAN v. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 153758 - FELICITAS YCONG, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 152644 - JOHN ERIC LONEY, ET AL. v. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES

  • G.R. No. 153860 - VALERIANO B. CANO v. SPS. VICENTE AND SUSAN JUMAWAN

  • G.R. No. 153979 - REGINO SY CATIIS v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 154286 - MAGDALENA CORU A, ET AL. v. SATURNINO CINAMIN, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 154665 - MANUEL LEYCANO, JR. v. COMMISSION ON AUDIT

  • G.R. No. 155027 - THE VETERANS FEDERATION OF THE PHILIPPINES ETC. v. HON. ANGELO T. REYES, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 155076 - LUIS MARCOS P. LAUREL v. HON. ZEUS C. ABROGAR, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 156402 - SPS. ALFREDO MENDOZA, ET AL. v. MARIA CORONEL ETC.

  • G.R. No. 157307 - Agustin Rivera, et al. v. Nemesio David

  • G.R. No. 157696-97 - MARICALUM MINING CORPORATION v. HON. ARTURO D. BRION, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 157977 - EDUARDO TOLENTINO RODRIGUEZ, ET AL. v. THE HONORABLE PRESIDING JUDGE, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 158613-14 - EMMANUEL T. PONTEJOS v. OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 158149 - BOSTON BANK OF THE PHILIPPINES v. PERLA P. MANALO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 158791 - CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION v. DEPARTMENT OF BUDGET AND MANAGEMENT

  • G.R. No. 158895 - SPS. THELMA AND GREGORIO, ET AL. v. HEIRS OF AUGUSTO F. SALAS, JR. ETC.

  • G.R. No. 159200 - PHILIPPINE PORTS AUTHORITY, ET AL. v. COMMISSION ON AUDIT, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 159654 - NICANOR T. SANTOS DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION v. HON. SECRETARY DAR, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 159296 - ALLGEMEINE-BAU-CHEMIE PHILS., INC., v. METROPOLITAN BANK TRUST CO., ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 159660 - SPOUSES ANTONIO AND SOLIDAD DIVINAGRACIA, ET AL. v. LEONIDISA N. COMETA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 159949 - VADM. MARIANO J. DUMANGCAS, JR. v. HON. SIMEON V. MARCELO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 160016 - ABACUS SECURITIES CORPORATION v. RUBEN U. AMPIL

  • G.R. No. 160065 - FELINO EBREO, ET AL. v. GIL EBREO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 160445 - JOSE TEOFILO T. MERCADO, ET AL. v. SECURITY BANK CORPORATION

  • G.R. No. 160652 - HON. TOMAS N. JOSON III, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 160858 - ROLITO RABANAL v. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 160871 - TRIAD SECURITY & ALLIED SERVICES, INC, ET AL. v. SILVESTRE ORTEGA, JR., ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 160922 - JEANY-VI G. KIANI v. THE BUREAU OF IMMIGRATION, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 161836 - MANILA INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT AUTHORITY, ET AL. v. JOAQUIN RODRIGUEZ

  • G.R. No. 163087 - SILAHIS INTERNATIONAL HOTEL, INC., ET AL. v. ROGELIO S. SOLUTA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 163935 - NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF ELECTRICITY CONSUMERS FOR REFORMS (NASECORE), ET AL. v. ENERGY REGULATORY COMMISSION, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 164171 - HON. EXECUTIVE SECRETARY, ET AL. v. SOUTHWING HEAVY INDUSTRIES, INC., ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 164317 - ALFREDO CHING v. THE SECRETARY OF JUSTICE, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 164797 - JOSEFINA M. CRUZ, ET AL. v. THE HON. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 164953 - JOHN JOSEPH LUMANLAW Y BULINAO v. HON. EDUARDO B. PERALTA JR. ETC.

  • G.R. No. 165265 - MARIBEL B. JARDELEZA v. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES

  • G.R. No. 165341 - GILBERTO M. DE LOS REYES v. THE HONORABLE SANDIGANBAYAN, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 165403 - INTERNATIONAL EXCHANGE BANK v. HON. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 165546 - SOCIAL SECURITY SYSTEM v. ROSANNA H. AGUAS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 165570 - EDWIN SALUSIANO MATUTINA v. PHILIPPINE NATIONAL BANK

  • G.R. No. 165580 - MONEYTREND LENDING CORPORATION, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 165606 - DEUTSCHE BANK MANILA v. SPS. CHUA YOK SEE, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 166429 - REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, ET AL. v. HON. HENRICK F. GINGOYON, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 165644 - MANUEL B. ALORIA ETC. v. ESTRELLITA B. CLEMENTE

  • G.R. No. 166479 - RODOLFO C. VELASCO v. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES

  • G.R. No. 167234 - TEODORO C. BORLONGAN v. RAFAEL B. BUENAVENTURA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 167405 - ANA JOYCE S. REYES v. HON. CESAR M. SOTERO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 167412 - JUANITA NAVAL v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 167900 - SPS CRISOLOGO & PRISCILLA O. ABINES v. BANK OF THE PHILIPPINE ISLANDS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 168052 - POSEIDON FISHING/TERRY DE JESUS v. NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 168101 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. GREGORIO CORPUZ Y ESPIRITU

  • G.R. No. 168237 - THELMA BUDUHAN v. CURSON PAKURAO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 168267 - HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES ETC. v. ATTY. VICTORIA V. LOANZON

  • G.R. No. 168696 - MA. LUTGARDA P. CALLEJA, ET AL. v. JOSE PIERRE A. PANDAY, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 168719 - PHILIPPINE CARPET EMPLOYEES ASSOCIATION ETC. v. HON. PATRICIA STO. TOMAS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 169091 - DATU EDUARDO AMPO v. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 168237 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. EDGARDO BARCENA Y POCA

  •  





     
     

    A.M. No. MTJ-02-1440 - OFFICE OF THE COURT ADMINISTRATOR v. JUDGE RICARDO P. LIWANAG, ET AL.

      A.M. No. MTJ-02-1440 - OFFICE OF THE COURT ADMINISTRATOR v. JUDGE RICARDO P. LIWANAG, ET AL.

    PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT DECISIONS

    EN BANC

    [A.M. NO. MTJ-02-1440 : February 28, 2006]
    (Formerly A.M. No. 02-6-150-MTCC)

    OFFICE OF THE COURT ADMINISTRATOR, Complainant, v. JUDGE RICARDO P. LIWANAG of the Municipal Trial Court in Cities, San Jose del Monte City, Bulacan; CLERK OF COURT J. ROGELIO T. MONTERO III and COURT INTERPRETER MA. CORAZON D. ESPAÑOLA, Respondents.

    R E S O L U T I O N

    PER CURIAM:

    This administrative complaint stemmed from a report1 dated June 13, 2002 submitted by an audit team from the Office of the Court Administrator (OCA) which conducted a judicial audit and physical inventory of cases in the Municipal Trial Court in Cities, San Jose del Monte City, Bulacan (MTCC-SJDM) from January 30, 2002 to February 15, 2002. The audit was done in response to a referral from the Technical Staff of the Department of Justice forwarding to OCA a letter from a "Bantay Bayan" member requesting an investigation of alleged anomalies and irregularities perpetrated by then Judge Ricardo P. Liwanag, presiding judge, MTCC-SJDM, in collusion with two members of his staff, namely, clerk of court J. Rogelio T. Montero III and court interpreter Ma. Corazon D. Española.

    At the start of its investigation, the audit team complained of the lack of cooperation on the part of respondents Montero III and Española. After its investigation, the team reduced its findings via its aforementioned report of June 13, 2002. In said report, the team found respondents Montero III and Española responsible for the following: (1) sorry state of case management in the subject court; (2) some court exhibits were either missing or released under suspicious circumstances; and (3) questionable release of cash bonds to persons other than the accused.

    In the same report, the team detailed the shoddy record - keeping in MTCC-SJDM, as follows:

    The team underwent a hard time in conducting the audit. The Court has not submitted the required monthly report and semestral inventory of cases since the year 2000 up to the present. There is no effective method of filing of cases. Pending cases are mixed with dismissed, decided and archived cases. There was no compliance with the required actual and physical inventory of cases every semester. The docket books are not updated.

    The return of service of each and every case as well as the minutes of every order are not attached to or are nowhere to be found in the records. The exhibits are just placed at one corner of the room and are unprotected from the elements.

    The Clerk of Court is not even aware of the status of the cases when asked by the team. He did not even bother to define the duties and responsibilities of his staff especially on matters of receiving pleadings or other papers. There was no designation of employees who will take charge of the criminal and civil cases.

    At once, after going over the records of the available cases and considering the uncooperative or lackadaisical attitude of Clerk of Court Rogelio T. Montero III and the previous Officer-in-Charge, Ma. Corazon D. Española, Court Interpreter, the team got the impression that there is truth to the allegations of anomalies and irregularities in the court. In fact, Ms. Española even skipped reporting to office for almost two (2) weeks during the audit after she failed to answer the various questions concerning the status of cases.

    The team also reported that exhibits consisting of guns, ammunitions and gambling machines were missing from the court files. Respondent Montero III, when asked during the audit to account for the exhibits, failed to produce the following, to wit:

    Criminal Case No.

    Exhibits

    1.

    0393-01

    0394-01

    .22 cal. Magnum marked ROHM with six (6) live ammunitions

    2.

    0391-01

    0392-01

    .45 cal. Colt, SN 145313121, 1 magazine assembly with seven (7) live ammunitions

    3.

    9395-99

    .38 cal. paltik without serial number, three (3) live ammunitions

    4.

    0548-00

    .22 cal. magnum, SN 202550 with five (5) live ammunitions

    5.

    8092-98

    Four (4) video karera machines

    6.

    9466-99

    Two (2) video karera machines

    7.

    1032-00

    One (1) video karera machine

    Only after more than five (5) days of insistent requests from the team did respondent Montero III partially account for the missing exhibits when he produced the firearms and ammunitions submitted and marked as exhibits in Criminal Cases Nos. 0391-01 to 0394-01.2

    Likewise, the audit team discovered that at least six (6) criminal cases were dismissed by MTCC-SJDM based on alleged spurious documents, while cash bonds were released to persons other than the accused. We quote from the same report:

    There are various criminal cases which were dismissed by the court based on alleged "Pag-urong ng Habla" purportedly executed by the private complainant but comparison of the signature in the said documents with the "Sinumpaang Salaysay" executed before the police authorities readily shows that the signature in the "Pag-uurong" (sic) was forged. Likewise, there are discrepancies in the signatures of the accused appearing on "Cash Bailbond Undertaking" and those appearing on the vouchers for the release of the cash bond to the accused after the cases were dismissed. This indicates that the cash released after dismissal of the cases was pocketed by persons other than the accused.

    Some of the said cases are the following:

    Case No.

    Accused

    Nature

    1. 1024-00

    Francis D.V. Junio

    Malicious Mischief

    2. 0456-00

    Kudipolo Andrade

    Qualified Trespass to Dwelling

    3. 0506-01

    Epifanio Artiaga

    PD 1602

    4. 0616-01

    Nilo Maala

    5. 0526-01

    Lito Castro

    PD 1602

    6. 0002-00

    Rodel Aguirre

    PD 1602

    It is submitted that the improprieties could not have possibly occurred without the direct knowledge and participation of some personnel of the court.

    Based on its findings, the team recommended that an extensive investigation be conducted against respondents Judge Liwanag, Montero III and Española, and that pending investigation of the charges against them, they all be placed under preventive suspension.

    In a memorandum3 dated June 14, 2002 for then Acting Chief Justice Josue N. Bellosillo, Acting Court Administrator Jose Perez informed the Court of the report of the audit team.

    In a Resolution4 dated July 17, 2002, the Court, thru its Third Division, considered the report of the audit team, then docketed as Administrative Matter No. 02-6-150-MTCC, as a regular administrative complaint against the respondents and placed all three of them under preventive suspension, requiring them to submit their COMMENT on the report of the audit team. In the same resolution, the Court referred the complaint to Executive Judge Oscar Herrera, Jr. of the Regional Trial Court of Malolos City, Bulacan for investigation, report and recommendation. The Court also designated Rodelio Marcelo as acting clerk of court of MTCC-SJDM.5 Mr. Marcelo was formerly the clerk of court of the Municipal Trial Court at Angat, Bulacan who was assigned to MTCC-SJDM on September 14, 1999.6

    From Administrative Matter No. 02-6-150-MTCC, the report of the audit team was redocketed as Administrative Matter No. MTJ-02-1440.7

    Española submitted her comment on September 30, 2002 while Judge Liwanag and Montero III submitted theirs on October 8 and 10, 2002, respectively.8

    In his letter-report dated February 14, 2003, MTCC-SJDM's acting clerk of court Rodelio Marcelo informed Atty. Thelma C. Bahia of the Court Management Office, OCA, that after he had conducted a docket inventory of cases involving violations of Presidential Decree No. 18669, he discovered that several exhibits were missing from the files of MTCC-SJDM.10

    In its Resolution dated March 31, 2003, the Court considered the letter-report of Mr. Marcelo as part of the records of the administrative complaint against the herein Respondents. In another Resolution dated June 16, 2003, the Court referred the administrative complaint against the respondents to Judge Guillermo Agloro who had replaced Judge Herrera as Executive Judge of the Regional Trial Court of Malolos City, Bulacan.11

    In the memorandum she submitted during the investigation conducted by Judge Agloro, respondent Española claimed that she could not be held responsible for the poor court management in the subject court. When respondent Montero III took a study leave from May 1, 2000 to September 30, 2000 to prepare for the bar examinations, Judge Liwanag designated Española officer-in-charge of MTCC-SJDM.12 Española explained that while she was the officer-in-charge of MTCC-SJDM during the period that respondent Montero III was on leave, the preparation of monthly reports and the semestral inventory of cases were assigned by Judge Liwanag to Mr. Marcelo. Española placed squarely the responsibility on MTCC-SJDM's failure to file the required reports on the shoulders of Mr. Marcelo.13

    Also, respondent Española justified her absence during the conduct of the judicial audit, explaining that she had to file a leave of absence for four (4) days, from February 5-8, 2002, to attend the hearing of an administrative case against her docketed as A.M. OCA IPI No. 99-65-P entitled "Marquina v. Corazon Española" (sic) scheduled on February 6, 2002 at the Office of the Executive Judge of the Regional Trial Court of Malolos City, Bulacan. She allegedly reported for work on February 11, 2002, only to file again a leave of absence for February 12-15, 2002 to look for a counsel who could represent her in the aforesaid administrative case.14

    Judge Agloro found untenable respondent Española's explanation for her absence during the audit, holding that respondent Española took a leave of absence in order to avoid the inquiries of the audit team. According to the investigating judge, Española should have met with the audit team, even if just to inform it of her need to go on leave to attend to the administrative case against her, and Española's failure to do so showed her lack of intent to cooperate with the audit team.

    Judge Agloro gave little weight to respondent Española's excuse that the duty to submit the required monthly reports and semestral inventory of cases rested not on her, but on Mr. Marcelo. Judge Agloro noted that as the designated officer-in-charge of MTCC-SJDM during the absence of respondent Montero III, it was Española's duty to file the required reports and docket inventories for MTCC-SJDM.

    For his defense, respondent Montero III maintained in the memorandum he submitted during the investigation that had the audit team inquired from a certain Cresencia Reyes, a clerk in MTCC-SJDM, it would have known that the monthly reports until May, 2002 had already been submitted. As to the submission of the semestral inventory of cases, respondent Montero III admitted the truth of the audit team's findings that he failed to submit the required inventory reports for MTCC-SJDM for 2000-2002.15

    Judge Agloro held that the absence of an effort from respondent Montero III to show proof of compliance with the reportorial requirements was an indication of said respondent's failure, amounting to serious misconduct, to perform his duties under the 2002 Revised Manual for Clerks of Court16, to wit:

    2.2.4. REPORTS & REPORTING

    A. Monthly report of cases

    (1) xxx xxx xxx

    (2) xxx xxx xxx

    (3) The duplicate of the report should be kept on file by the concerned court and the triplicate is to be submitted to the Executive Judge for his appraisal and compilation. The original copy of the report, together with the lists of cases filed, raffled, disposed of, archived, transferred or re-raffled, or those with suspended proceedings per Administrative Circular No. 1-2001 dated 2 January 2001, must be filed with, or sent by registered mail to, the Supreme Court on or before the tenth (10th) calendar day of the succeeding month addressed to:

    The Chief

    Statistical Reports Division

    Court Management Office

    Office of the Court Administrator

    Supreme Court of the Philippines

    Taft Avenue, Ermita

    Manila 1000

    x x x

    b. Semestral inventory of cases

    b.1 Rules

    (1) All Presiding Judges of trial courts must, upon assumption of office, and every semester thereafter on June 30th and December 31st of every year conduct a physical inventory of their dockets for the purpose of determining the actual number of cases pending in their salas.

    (2) An inventory shall be prepared to indicate the cases pending trial, the cases submitted for decision and the cases that have been archived.

    (3) The Presiding Judge and the Clerk of Court shall initial the records or rollos of each case to indicate the date of actual inventory. The inventory shall include a list of cases submitted for decision, indicating the title and the case number and the date of filing of said case. An updated inventory is to be submitted to the Supreme Court every six (6) months thereafter.

    Respondent Montero III insisted he had already accounted for the exhibits in Criminal Case Nos. 0391-01 to 0394-01.17 Regarding the .38 cal. paltik with three (3) live ammunitions (exhibits in Criminal Case No. 9395-99) and the .22 cal. magnum with five (5) live ammunitions (exhibits in Criminal Case No. 0548-00) which the audit team had reported as missing from the court files, respondent Montero alleged that the said firearms and ammunitions have been in the possession of respondent Judge Liwanag and the latter had already returned them to the court.18

    Regarding the seven (7) video karera machines confiscated in Criminal Case Nos. 8092-98, 9466-99 and 1032-00, respondent Montero III alleged that no video karera machines were turned over to his possession.19

    Judge Agloro put little value to respondent Montero III's return of the exhibits earlier reported as missing by the audit team. The fact that Montero III failed to produce the subject exhibits during the audit reflected his lack of fidelity to his duty to safeguard the exhibits in his custody.

    Judge Agloro recommended that a separate investigation be conducted on the audit team's allegations relative to the questionable dismissal of various criminal cases in MTCC-SJDM and the irregularities attending the release of cash bail bonds.20

    Anent the letter-report dated February 14, 2003 submitted by the acting clerk of court Rodelio Marcelo, which is a docket inventory of PD No. 1866 cases filed in MTCC-SJDM from 1996 (the year when Montero III was appointed as clerk of court) up to August 5, 2002 (the date Montero III received his order of suspension), Judge Agloro doubted the veracity of the said letter-report considering that Mr. Marcelo failed to appear despite notice for him to testify on the contents of thereof.21

    Judge Liwanag never appeared during the investigation to present his side, which prompted Judge Agloro to defer judgment on the allegation that Judge Liwanag had improperly dismissed several cases before his sala. Nonetheless, Judge Agloro held Judge Liwanag accountable for appropriating the firearms used as evidence in Criminal Case Nos. 0393-01, 0394-01, 0391-01 and 0392-01 and for his co-respondents' failure to submit the monthly reports and the semestral inventory of cases of MTCC-SJDM.22

    After conducting the investigation, Judge Agloro found the respondents liable for various offenses and in his report23 dated December 12, 2003, he recommended the following:

    1. Acting Clerk of Court Mr. Rodelio Marcelo be directed to return to his station at MTC-Angat, Bulacan;

    2. The corresponding penalty be imposed to respondents Liwanag, Montero and Española for violation of Administrative Circular No. 61-2001 dated December 10, 2001 for serious misconduct towards the non-submission of the required monthly report and the semestral inventory of cases as found out (sic) by the audit team per its report dated June 13, 2002;

    3. The corresponding penalty be imposed to respondent Liwanag for taking custody of the firearms used as evidence in Criminal Case Nos. 0393-01, 0394-01, 0391-01 and 0392-01; and the corresponding penalty be imposed to respondent Montero for his negligence in securing the missing exhibits as reported by the audit team per its report dated June 13, 2002;

    4. Formation of a new audit team to conduct a comprehensive investigation regarding transactions relative to CASH BAILBOND UNDERTAKINGS at MTCC-San Jose del Monte City, Bulacan; andcralawlibrary

    5. An investigation be conducted solely for the purpose of determining whether respondent Liwanag gravely abused his discretion in dismissing cases/orders as reported by the audit team per its report dated June 13, 2002 and should be held liable therefor.

    On December 15, 2003, the Office of the Deputy Court Administrator received the report of Judge Agloro.24

    Time and again, the Court has emphasized the heavy burden and responsibility which court officials and employees are mandated to observe, in view of their exalted position as keepers of the public faith. They are constantly reminded that any impression of impropriety, misdeed or negligence in the performance of official functions must be avoided. The Court will never countenance any conduct, act or omission on the part of all those involved in the administration of justice which would violate the norm of public accountability and diminish the people's faith in the judiciary.

    Insofar as Judge Liwanag is concerned, the instant administrative complaint has been rendered moot by this Court's per curiam decision25 of March 5, 2003 in A.M. No. MTJ-01-1383, entitled "Perlita Avanceña v. Judge Ricardo P. Liwanag," where the Court en banc found Judge Liwanag guilty of violating Republic Act No. 3019 (otherwise known as the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act) and ordered him "DISMISSED from the service with prejudice to re-employment in any government agency and government-owned or controlled corporation and with forfeiture of all retirement benefits except accrued leave credits," and also required him "to show cause xxx why he should not also be disbarred from the practice of law for conduct unbecoming of a member of the bar."

    In its per curiam resolution of July 17, 2003,26 the Court denied with finality Judge Liwanag's motion for reconsideration, and, finding as wanting in merit his explanations against disbarment, disbarred him from the practice of law, thus:

    WHEREFORE, the instant motion for reconsideration is DENIED with finality, there being no compelling reason to warrant a reconsideration of our Decision promulgated on March 5, 2003. Further, pursuant to A.M. No. 02-9-02-SC,27 respondent is DISBARRED from the practice of law for violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Law (R.A. 3019) or conduct unbecoming of a member of the bar.

    SO ORDERED.

    What is left to be determined then is the liability of respondents J. Rogelio Montero III and Ma. Corazon Española, clerk of court and court interpreter, respectively, of the audited court.

    The Court finds respondent Rogelio T. Montero III guilty of gross negligence and grave misconduct. Under subsection A(2) and (3) of Section 52 of Rule IV of the Revised Uniform Rules on Administrative Cases in the Civil Service, gross neglect of duty and grave misconduct are considered grave offenses punishable by dismissal from the service.

    Montero III was grossly negligent in his duties as clerk of court when he failed to submit the required monthly reports of cases and semestral docket inventories as required under the 2002 Revised Manual for Clerks of Court.

    According to the memorandum submitted by the OCA dated October 26, 2004, records from its Statistical Reports Division revealed that the monthly reports of MTCC-SJDM for the months of January to March 2002 were submitted only on May 15, 2002.28

    The OCA further reported that the semestral docket inventory of cases for the 1st and 2nd semesters of 2001 were submitted only on November 4, 2002, while no docket inventories were submitted for the 1st and 2nd semesters of 2002.29

    Respondent Montero III's grave misconduct is demonstrated by his appalling failure to observe Section 7 of Rule 136 of the Rules of Court which reads:

    Sec. 7. Safekeeping of property - The clerk of court shall safely keep all records, papers, files, exhibits and public property committed to his charge, including the library of the court, and the seals and furniture belonging to his office.

    Respondent Montero III betrayed the trust reposed on him to safeguard the exhibits in his custody. He has no right to remove the subject exhibits outside of the court's premises; neither can he allow others to appropriate the same.

    Republic Act No. 6713, otherwise known as the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees, enunciates the State's policy of promoting a high standard of ethics and utmost responsibility in the public service. No other office in the government service exacts from its occupant a greater demand for moral righteousness and uprightness than in the judiciary. Hence, everyone involved in the administration of justice, from the lowliest employee to the highest official, ought to live up to the exacting standard of honesty, integrity and uprightness.

    Certainly, respondent Montero is a misfit in the judiciary. He should not be allowed to stay in the service a minute longer.

    Respondent Ma. Corazon D. Española is guilty of inefficiency and incompetence in the performance of official duties. Her contention that the non-submission of the monthly reports of cases and semestral docket inventories for MTCC-SJDM should not be blamed on her is unacceptable. From the time she assumed the position of officer-in-charge of MTCC-SJDM, it became her duty to ensure that MTCC-SJDM complied with its reportorial requirements. The total absence of any effort on her part to fulfill such duty illustrates her inefficiency and utter lack of competence. Under subsection A(16) of Section 52 of Rule IV of the Revised Uniform Rules on Administrative Cases in the Civil Service, respondent Española's infraction is considered a grave offense punishable by suspension of six (6) months and one (1) day to one (1) year on the first offense.

    After conducting his investigation, Judge Agloro found no sufficient evidence to allocate among the respondents the blame for the alleged anomalous release of cash bail bonds. The need for further investigation on this matter, as suggested by Judge Agloro in his report, is already mooted by our imposition of the supreme penalty of dismissal on respondents Judge Liwanag and Montero III. As regards respondent Española, the Court feels that she should be spared of another investigation on a matter which was within the scope of Judge Agloro's inquiry. Also mooted is the recommendation of Judge Agloro to transfer Mr. Marcelo, acting clerk of court of MTCC-SJDM. In its Resolution dated June 27, 2005, the Court revoked his designation as acting clerk of court of MTCC-SJDM.30

    WHEREFORE, respondent J. Rogelio T. Montero III is FOUND GUILTY of grave misconduct and gross neglect of duty and is hereby DISMISSED from the service with prejudice to re-employment in any government agency and government-owned and controlled corporations and with forfeiture of all retirement benefits except accrued leave credits.

    Respondent Ma. Corazon D. Española is FOUND GUILTY of inefficiency and incompetence in the performance of official duties and is hereby SUSPENDED for six (6) months with a warning that repetition of the same or similar offense shall be dealt with more severely.

    SO ORDERED.

    Endnotes:


    1 Rollo, pp. 3-9.

    2 Consisting of cal. 45 pistol marked Colt with seven (7) live ammunitions and cal. 22 magnum revolver pistol marked Rohm with six (6) live ammunitions. See Rollo, pp. 4, 7.

    3 Rollo, pp. 1-8.

    4 Rollo, pp. 89-90. The relevant portion of the said Resolution reads:

    "Administrative Matter No. 02-6-150-MTCC (Report on the Judicial Audit in the Municipal Trial Court in Cities, San Jose Del Monte City, Bulacan) - Considering the Court Administrator's memorandum dated June 14, 2002, the Court Resolved:

    (a) to REDOCKET the report of the team as a regular administrative complaint against Judge Ricardo P. Liwanag, Clerk of Court Rogelio T. Montero III and Interpreter Ma. Corazon D. Española;

    (b) to DIRECT Judge Ricardo Liwanag, Clerk of Court J. Rogelio Montero III and Interpreter Ma. Corazon Española to COMMENT on the partial report of the team within a non-extendible period of ten (10) days from notice;

    (c) to REFER after the receipt of their comments, this administrative matter to Executive Judge Oscar C. Herrera, Jr., Regional Trial Court, Malolos, Bulacan, for investigation, report and recommendation within ninety (90) days from receipt of the records of the case;

    (d) xxx

    (e) to DESIGNATE Mr. Rogelio F. Marcelo, Clerk of Court of Municipal Trial Court, Angat, Bulacan, detailed at the Municipal Trial Court in Cities of San Jose del Monte City, Bulacan as acting clerk of court thereat effective immediately and to CONTINUE until further orders form this Court; xxx"

    5 Rollo, p. 89.

    6 Rollo, p. 599.

    7 Rollo, p. 104.

    8 Rollo, pp. 328-353, 354-398, 252-268.

    9 The law penalizes illegal possession of firearms and ammunitions.

    10 Rollo, p. 600.

    11 Paging of rollo of the instant case has two cycles. The 1st cycle ends at rollo page no. 705, followed by a memorandum from OCA dated October 26, 2004, then by the 2nd cycle consisting of rollo page nos. 1-120. Resolutions dated March 31, 2003 and June 16, 2003 are on pp. 89 and 119, respectively, of the 2nd cycle of rollo paging.

    12 Rollo, p. 226.

    13 Española Memorandum, pp. 3-4; Records, pp. 369-370.

    14 Agloro Report, p. 4; Rollo, p. 601; Española Memorandum, pp. 5-6; Rec., pp. 371-372.

    15 Rec., p. 396.

    16 Agloro Report, pp. 5-7, Rollo, pp. 602-604; see 2002 Revised Manual for Clerks of Court, Vol. 1, pp. 416-417, 425-426, April 2002 printing.

    17 Consisting of cal. 45 (pistol) marked Colt with seven (7) live ammunitions and cal. 22 magnum revolver (pistol) marked Rohm with six (6) live ammunitions; see Montero memorandum, rec., p. 399; Audit Team Report, Rollo, p. 7.

    18 Agloro Report, pp. 7-8; Rollo, pp. 604-605.

    19 Agloro Report, p. 8; Rollo, p. 605.

    20 Agloro Report, pp. 9-10; Rollo, pp. 606-607.

    21 Agloro Report, p. 10; Rollo, p. 607.

    22 Rollo, pp. 604, 606.

    23 Rollo, pp. 607-608.

    24 Rollo, p. 597.

    25 398 SCRA 541 (2003).

    26 406 SCRA 300 (2003).

    27 SC Res. 17 September 2002 Re: Automatic Conversion of Some Administrative Cases Against Justices of the Court of Appeals and the Sandiganbayan; Judges of Regular and Special Courts, et al.

    28 Memorandum of OCA dated October 26, 2004, un-numbered in the rollo pages, follows after the 1st cycle of rollo paging.

    29 OCA Memorandum, pp. 11-12.

    30 Resolution dated June 27, 2005, an un-numbered page in the rollo, is on the penultimate page of the rollo.

    A.M. No. MTJ-02-1440 - OFFICE OF THE COURT ADMINISTRATOR v. JUDGE RICARDO P. LIWANAG, ET AL.


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