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[A.M. No. MTJ-93-881. June 10, 2003]

GREFALDO vs. LACSON

EN BANC

Gentlemen:

Quoted hereunder for your information a resolution of this Court dated JUN 10 2003.

A.M. No. MTJ-93-881(Jocelyn Grefaldo vs. Judge Rica H. Lacson.)

In our Decision of 3 August 1998, Rica H. Lacson, Presiding Judge, MTC-Sorsogon, Sorsogon, was dismissed from the service for Gross Inefficiency, Falsification of Official Document, and for her defiant and contumacious refusal for three (3) years to heed repeated directives from this Court to answer the complaint against her. Concomitant with the penalty of dismissal, respondent's accrued retirement benefits and other privileges were ordered forfeited and her dismissal was with prejudice to re-employment in any branch, agency or instrumentality of the government, including any government-owned or controlled corporation.Her First and Second Motions for Reconsideration were denied on 22 September 1998 and 27 April 1999 respectively.

In her Letter of 30 October 2002 respondent requests that our Decision be modified by restoring to her all her accrued retirement benefits and other privileges.

In appealing for "compassionate understanding" respondent cites her financial woes and other difficulties she suffered since her dismissal from the service: foreclosure of her residential house, hospitalizations for nervous breakdown, and an operation for retinal detachment of the left eye which rendered her physically incapacitated to work for her daily sustenance and educational support of her children. Respondent likewise cites her thirty-five (35) years of government service in appealing for' a favorable' response from this Court.

Respondent claims she is now almost sixty-five (65) years old.

Even before accrued leave credits were explicitly excluded from those benefits liable for forfeiture, in whole or in part, concomitant to a penalty of dismissal,[1]cralaw this Court had already demonstrated compassion in a number of cases involving judges and court personnel by removing such penalty of forfeiture. To cite a few, we allowed the respondent judges in Cathay Pacific Airways, Ltd. v. Romillo, Jr.,[2]cralaw and Prudential Bank v. Castro,[3]cralaw to enjoy all vacation and sick leave benefits earned' during the period of their government service upon letters seeking the Court's compassion and out of humanitarian considerations. Again we granted the same benefit in' Sabitsana, Jr. v. Villamor[4]cralaw upon respondent's plea for compassion and mercy, allowing him to enjoy all vacation and sick leave benefits earned by him during the period of his government service.

Out of humanitarian consideration, we extend the same benevolence to respondent in the instant case. Moreover, we take note of the "Manifesto" dated 31 August 1998 signed by three (3) judges in Sorsogon, several law practitioners, and number of court employees who commiserated with the, plight of respondent, acclaimed her, as "conscientious, honest, approachable and compassionate to everyone regardless of status in life," and pleaded for mercy and temperance on her behalf.

ACCORDINGLY, the Court Resolves to GRANT, as it hereby grants respondent Rica H. Lacson, former' presiding judge, Municipal Trial Court, Sorsogon, Sorsogon, the money equivalent of all her accrued sick and vacation leaves. To this extent, the dispositive portion of our Decision of 5 August 1998 is MODIFIED.

Very truly yours,

(Sgd.)LUZVIMINDA D. PUNO
Clerk of Court



Endnotes:

[1]cralaw See Sec. 11, par. (1), Rule 140, Rules of Court, as amended, which took effect 1 October 2001.

[2]cralaw G.R. No. 64276, 12 August 1986, 143 SCRA 396.

[3]cralaw Adm. Case No. 2756, 27 June 1988, 162 SCRA 554.

[4]cralaw A.M. Nos. RTJ No. 90-4 74 & RTJ No. 90-606, 7 February 1992, 206 SCRA 1.


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