JUDGE PASCUAL F. FOJAS, JR., Municipal Trial Court, Indang Cavite, complainant, v. GALICANO M. ROLLAN, Clerk of Court, Municipal Trial Court in Cities, Tagaytay City (then with MCTC, Indang Cavite), respondent.
D E C I S I O N
Before us is an Administrative complaint filed by Judge Pascual F. Fojas, Jr., presiding Judge of the Municipal Circuit Trial Court of Indang Mendez Nuez, Indang Cavite, against Galicano M. Rollan, former clerk of court of said MCTC, who is now with the Municipal Trial Court in Cities, Tagaytay City.
This complaint stemmed from an audit examination conducted by the
Commission on Audit on the cash accountabilities or respondents Galicano M. Rollan, who was
transferring to the MTCC, Tagaytay
City from his post in the MCTC, Indang Cavite effective April
The audit covered the period from
Respondent's cash collections were found to be in order. However, members of the audit team discovered that the original copy of official receipt no. 2130901 was missing. The team was informed that the booklet containing said receipt was found in the drawer of a cabinet previously used by respondent. However, the same booklet of receipt was not included in the statement of accountable forms submitted by respondent to the incoming clerk of court, Wilma de Fiesta.3 Consequently, the audit team leader requested Judge Fojas to conduct an investigation into the matter and to submit a report thereon to the Office of the Provincial Auditor.4cräläwvirtualibräry
In connection with the investigation, De Fiesta executed an affidavit5 on July 18, 1999, stating that she was appointed officer-in-charge/clerk of court by Judge Fojas on April 19, 1999; that she took for her use two booklets of official receipts numbered 2130901-2130950 and 2130951-2131000; that she used the booklet with receipts numbered 2130951-2131000 since the original copy of receipt no. 2130901 was missing; that respondent arrived at that moment and she asked him why said original copy was missing; that she advised him to report the matter to this court for proper action; and that respondent took the entire booklet with receipt numbered 2130901-2130950.
De Fiesta stated that she was audited during the period June 8,
While the NBI investigation was pending, respondent executed a
second affidavit on
In his report dated
In a situation like this, it has always been an effective protective scheme to deny and again positional advantage in a possible investigation. But as a result of an afterthought, when the questioned document was being subjected to a technical examination by the N.B.I., Mr. Rollan became remorseful as it appears that he has apparent motive to contrive or devise.
Since Mr. Rollan is the only person who
stood to benefit by the use of the missing Official Receipt, it follows that he
is the material
author of its disappearance. A person who changes his statement as he wants to suit his
convenience, is unreliable. Mr. Rollan is not entitled to credit because if his affidavit
is obviously the result of an afterthought and if he could have lied in his
Judge Fojas recommended that respondent
be removed from the service. He
furnished the Office of the Court Administrator with a copy of his report,
which this court treated as a complaint against respondent. In a resolution dated
In his undated answer received by the OCA on
Attached to respondent's answer was a joint affidavit executed by two persons who knew him, attesting to his good character.
After a careful examination of the records of the case, it is clear
that respondent had been remiss in his duties as an accountable
officer. Part of his duty before leaving
his post as Clerk of Court of MCTC, Indang, Cavite is to turn-over all the accountable forms, and that
includes official receipts, to his successor.
In case of loss of any of the accountable
forms, he ought to report the same to the proper authorities as mandated by COA
Circular No. 84-233 dated
The purpose of the aforesaid circular to prevent the fraudulent use of the missing form. Apparently, respondent failed to comply with said circular inasmuch as he failed to report the said loss of the Office of the Court Administrator.
Moreover, this Office took notice of respondent's conflicting
statements as contained in his Affidavit of Loss dated
The most telling pieces of evidence pointing to respondent's culpability for the loss of receipt no. 2130901 are the two affidavits he executed which contained conflicting statements as regards the missing receipt. In the first affidavit, he denied having used said receipt. He even reported the loss to the police and had it recorded in the police blotter. He submitted the affidavit to Judge Fojas, together with a copy of the report appearing in the police blotter. However, in his second affidavit , respondent made a complete turnaround and expressly admitted that he used the missing receipt, although he said it bore serial no. 2130401. What could have motivated respondent to contradict himself?
This Court agrees with the observation made by Judge Fojas that the second affidavit was executed as an afterthought, during the period when the duplicate and triplicate copies of the missing receipt were being examined by the NBI. Respondent obviously feared being caught lying in case the NBI found out that the trace handwriting on the duplicate and triplicate copies were his. Thus, he executed the second affidavit, though his statements therein were still not forthcoming. We find it hard to believe that he would issue a receipt to an unknown person. Moreover, if the receipt was used in 1996, then the other receipts in the same booklet would have also been used by the time of the audit examination in 1999. However, the entire booklet containing receipts numbered from 2130901 up to 2130950 was intact except the original copy of receipt no. 2130901 was missing.
Respondent assails as hearsay the statements made by Constante that the trace handwriting on the duplicate and
triplicate copies appeared to be respondent's.
While the NBI later on failed to find anything conclusive as regards the
trace handwriting, we find that Constante's statements and
respondent's account, in his second affidavit, tally in their material
points. On one hand, Constante
stated that he could glean the words and figures "fine", "P.D.
1602", and "
Given the flip-flopping affidavits of the respondent, it is difficult to accept his self-serving defense in his answer that he did not use the missing receipt in any transaction, or for personal gain. His cavalier attitude in changing sworn statements indeed does not speak well of his candor and honesty.
Whether respondent misused the original copy of receipt no. 2130901 for a purpose other than what it was officially for, or lost said original by sheer negligence, would not exculpate him from liability. Further, it is immaterial whether or not he used it for his personal gain. He committed an act of gross negligence and dishonesty that merits administrative sanction, as found by the Court Administrator. On this finding, we are in full agreement.
The OCA recommends that respondent be fined in the amount of
Moreover, as the Court Administrator well observed, respondent's position as an accountable officer carries a degree of trust of the highest order. But he certainly lost the trust and confidence reposed on him by the court which would be very hard to restore.
We are, thus, constrained to impose upon respondent, for his dishonesty, the supreme penalty of dismissal from the service, together with the administrative disabilities inherent in said penalty.
WHEREFORE, respondent GALICANO M. ROLLAN, formerly clerk of court of MCTC of Indang-Mendez Nuez, Indang, Cavite, and now clerk of Court in Cities, Tagaytay City, is found GUILTY of dishonesty and hereby ordered DISMISSED from the service, with forfeiture of all retirement benefits except leave credits, and with prejudice to reemployment in any branch of the government, including government-owned and controlled corporations. This dismissal shall be immediately executory.
Davide, Jr., C.J., Bellosillo, Melo, Puno, Vitug, Kapunan, Mendoza, Panganiban, Quisumbing, Buena, Ynares-Santiago, De Leon, Jr., Sandoval-Gutierrez, and Carpio, JJ., concur.
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