A.M. No. P-03-1758 :
JOSEFA C. CHUPUNGCO, complainant, vs. BENJAMIN L. CABUSAO, JR., Deputy Sheriff III, Metropolitan Trial Court, Pasig City, Branch 68, respondent.
R E S O L U T I O N
CALLEJO, SR., J.:
Before the Court is the Affidavit-Complaint dated
The complainant, Chupungco, was one of the defendants in Civil Case No. 4199, an unlawful detainer case, entitled Spouses Francisco and Juanita Sotto v. Josefa Chupungco and Amariley Genova. She filed the present administrative complaint against the respondent relative to his allegedly malicious, oppressive and unlawful implementation of the writ of execution issued in the aforesaid case.
It appears that on
When the complainant and her co-defendant failed to comply with
the alias writ of execution, the MeTC on
In her affidavit-complaint, the complainant alleged that the
respondent, accompanied by thirteen (13) members of the demolition team,
despite notice of her absence, broke, destroyed and shattered in violent,
harsh and inhuman manner her cherished sanctuarial home.2
The respondent and his cohorts ransacked her house of its valuables amounting
The complainant further alleged that the respondent, together with the demolition team, hauled the complainants belongings and the materials of the house onto a truck. Some of these belongings were dumped on the nearby river while the materials of the demolished house were sold off to a buyer in Mandaluyong City.
In support of her affidavit-complaint and its annexes, the complainant likewise submitted the affidavit of her sister Asuncion Camacan. Camacan stated that she witnessed the demolition of the complainants house and saw the respondent and his team haul the complainants personal belongings on a truck.
For his part, the respondent categorically denied the charges against him. He averred that the complainant had also filed a motion to cite him for indirect contempt before the RTC of Pasig City, Branch 70, in connection with the same incident. The same was denied for lack of merit.
Upon the recommendation of Deputy Court Administrator Christopher
O. Lock, the Court, in the Resolution of
In compliance therewith, Judge Hernandez conducted the investigation. In addition to the affidavit-complaint and its annexes, the complainant likewise submitted to the investigating judge the affidavits of Rossana Genova, Rowena Gallano and Ismael Mejia. The respondent, on the other hand, manifested his willingness to submit the case for resolution.
In his Report dated
According to the investigating judge, the complainant failed to
substantiate her claim that her house was worth
The investigating judge, however, noted that the respondent failed to give any explanation as to what happened to the belongings of the complainant and the materials of her house that the respondent and the demolition team hauled onto a lipat-bahay truck. According to the investigating judge, the respondents lack of vigilance over the complainants personal properties is inexcusable. The investigating judge thus recommended:
Sheriff Cabusao should be strongly reprimanded for failing to observe vigilance over the materials of the house demolished pursuant to the writ of demolition issued by MeTC Branch 68 in Civil Case No. 4199. This should be without prejudice to whatever civil action Chupungco may institute to recover the materials of the demolished house or their actual value against the parties responsible for the appropriation.
Be that as it may, the charges of oppression and grave abuse of authority against Sheriff Cabusao should be dismissed for lack of sufficient evidence.5cräläwvirtualibräry
The Court agrees with the investigating judge that the respondent is administratively liable. Time and again, we have emphasized the heavy burden and responsibility which court personnel are saddled with in view of their exalted positions as keepers of public faith. They must be constantly reminded that any impression of impropriety, misdeed or negligence in the performance of official functions must be avoided.6cräläwvirtualibräry
Specifically, sheriffs and deputy sheriffs, being ranking officers of the court and agents of the law, must discharge their duties with great care and diligence. In serving and implementing court writs, as well as processes and orders of the court, they cannot afford to err without affecting adversely the proper dispensation of justice.7 Sheriffs play an important role in the administration of justice and as agents of the law, high standards are expected of them.8cräläwvirtualibräry
Good faith on the part of the respondent sheriff, or lack of it, in proceeding to properly execute his mandate would be of no moment, for he is chargeable with the knowledge that being an officer of the court tasked therefor, it behooves him to make due compliance. He is expected to live up to the exacting standards of his office and his conduct must at all times be characterized by rectitude and forthrightness, and so above suspicion and mistrust as well.9cräläwvirtualibräry
We do not agree, however, that the respondent should be merely reprimanded for his actuations. By his lack of vigilance over the personal properties belonging to the complainant which were placed in his (the respondents) custody upon the implementation of the writ of demolition, the respondent failed to live up to the exacting standards required of an officer of the Court.
For his failure to exercise reasonable diligence in the
performance of his duties as an officer of the court,10
respondent Benjamin L. Cabusao, Jr., Deputy Sheriff III of the Metropolitan
Trial Court (MeTC) of Pasig City,
Branch 68, is hereby FINED an amount of
Puno, (Chairman), Quisumbing, Austria-Martinez, and Tinga, JJ., concur.
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