[A.M. No. OCA IPI 02-1367-P. May 19, 2004]




Quoted hereunder, for your information, is a resolution of this Court dated MAY 19 2004 .

A.M. No. OCA IPI 02-1367-P (Virginia R. Estacio vs. Atty. Concepcion N. Samonte, Clerk of Court VI, RTC, OCC, Sta. Cruz, Laguna.)

Considering the Report dated January 20, 2004 of Court Administrator Presbitero J. Velasco, Jr., to wit:

This is a complaint for grave abuse of authority and grave misconduct filed by Virginia R. Estacio against Atty. Concepcion N. Samonte, Clerk of Court, RTC, OCC, Sta. Cruz, Laguna, relative to the alleged extra-judicial foreclosure sale conducted on 20 March 2002.


On 28 September 1999, complainant Estacio obtained a loan in the amount of P226,656.00 from a financing firm, High-Grade Credit Corporation (firm for brevity). To secure her obligation, she executed a promissory note and constituted a mortgage on her Kia van bearing plate number UGH-901 in favor of the firm. She failed to fully comply with her obligation.

On 22 January 2001, a complaint for replevin was filed by the firm in the MTC, Sta. Cruz, Laguna. A writ of replevin was issued ex-parte on the same date. The subject vehicle was put under the custody of Sheriff Reynaldo V. Estrella, RTC, OCC, same station.

Meanwhile, on 27 March 2001, the firm filed with the Office of the Clerk of Court, RTC, Sta. Cruz, Laguna, an application for extra-judicial foreclosure of chattel mortgage of the above-mentioned vehicle. Complainant Estacio filed a letter dated 04 April 2001 requesting the respondent to desist from proceeding with the foreclosure due to a pending case involving the said vehicle. Respondent, nevertheless, issued a Notice of Sale dated 18 May 2001 of a scheduled public auction on 26 May 2001 at 10:30 a.m. An objection thereto was filed by the complainant.

Complainant Estacio filed motions to dismiss and to lift the writ of replevin. Unfortunately, both motions were denied by the said court. A certiorari was thereafter filed with the RTC, Branch 27, Sta. Cruz, Laguna, questioning the denial of her motions.

On 10 September 2001, the appellate court issued an order with the following disposition:

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the writ of replevin issued by the court a quo on January 22, 2001 is hereby declared NULL and VOID for having been issued without jurisdiction.

The provincial Sheriff of Laguna is ordered to return the subject Kia van bearing license plate number UGH 901 to the possession of defendant Virginia Estacio.


The firm's motion for reconsideration was also denied on 26 February 2002.

A Motion to Hold in Abeyance the Release of the Subject Vehicle was filed by the firm on 08 March 2002. An Opposition thereto was filed by the complainant on 11 March 2002.

On the other hand, complainant Estacio inquired from the respondent, thru a letter dated 08 March 2002, of any action the latter has undertaken on her previous request-letter. The respondent replied, also thru a letter dated 11 March 2002, that she held in abeyance the auction sale until the pending issues have been resolved with finality.

However, on the same date, the respondent issued another Notice of Sale scheduling anew a public auction of the subject vehicle on 20 March 2002 at 10:00 o'clock in the morning at the Office of the Clerk of Court.

Complainant Estacio claims that the public auction proceeded as scheduled without prior notice and notwithstanding the pendency of Civil Case No. SC-4108 in the RTC, Branch 27, Sta. Cruz, Laguna. This actuation of the respondent allegedly constitutes grave abuse of authority and grave misconduct warranting administrative sanction from this Court.


In her comment, respondent averred that the instant complaint is totally frivolous, unfounded and devoid of any legal and factual basis since the scheduled public auction on 20 March 2002 did not materialize. She attached a copy of the Order dated 12 April 2002 issued by the RTC, Branch 91, Sta. Cruz, Laguna, in Civil Case No. 4185 entitled "Estacio vs. High-Grade Credit Corporation," which reads:

Considering that there is no foreclosure sale effected last March 20, 2002, there is no basis for the application for the Temporary Restraining Order or Writ of Preliminary Injunction. Hence, the application is DENIED for lack of proper basis. As regards the main issue, the counsel for the defendants, Atty. Cayetano T. Santos, is directed to file his answer.


Further, respondent explained that she has not defied the court's order issued on 10 September 2001, in Civil Case No. 4108 since there is no showing that it had become final and executory. And besides, the execution of the same lies within the province of the trial court, not the appellate court.Additionally, there are still pending incidents for resolution of the said court.

Obviously, respondent claimed that she has never committed any grave abuse of authority resulting to serious and irreparable damage to the complainant.

On 20 June 2003, this Office received a letter dated 10 June 2003, from complainant Estacio attaching a letter dated 11 February 2003, of respondent addressed to the former. Hereunder reproduced is the content of the said letter, to wit:

This is to inform you that Auction Sale did materialize as schedule on December 20, 2002.

This Office has obligation to issue Certificate of Sale to the buyer which CERTIFICATE OF SALE is pending signature of the Executive Judge.

This Office has no obligation to issue Certificate of Sale to the Debtor/mortgagor.


This administrative matter is apparently a product of over reaction on the part of complainant Estacio due to her disgust to untangle her uncanny situation. She could not probably conceive that a mere failure to faithfully comply her obligation with the firm would result to multiple suits. The situations would not have gone astray if only the complainant and the firm have complied with their obligations. The parties initiated suits against each, perhaps to snatch a better advantage and position in the pursuit of their cause, thus, abusing the legal remedy allowed by law.

Be that as it may, the issue here is not novel. Complainant Estacio is protesting the precipitate action of respondent in proceeding with the scheduled public auction on 20 March 2002, notwithstanding the lack of prior notice and the pendency of a case involving the subject vehicle.

In order to ascertain any administrative culpability on the part of the respondent, the scheduled public auction should have taken place. Otherwise, no real issue could be discussed hereon.

Is the public auction on 20 March 2002, proceeded as scheduled? The answer is in the negative.This can be verified from the Order dated 12 April 2002, issued by Judge Florencio S. Arellano, RTC, Branch 91, Sta. Cruz, Laguna, in Civil Case No. 4185, entitled "Estacio vs. High-Grade Credit Corp., etc." In the said order, complainant Estacio's application for temporary restraining order or writ of preliminary injunction was denied by the court considering that there was no foreclosure sale effected on 20 March 2002.

In view of the foregoing, complainant Estacio's allegations of grave abuse of authority and grave misconduct have no leg to stand. Hence, the instant complaint should be outrightly dismissed.


Before putting an end to this report, it is perhaps worthy to tackle, in passing, the legal consequences of the attachments of complainant Estacio in her letter dated 10 June 2003. In effect, the complainant is trying to impress that, indeed, an auction was conducted on 20 December 2002.

It is to be noted that the cause of action of complainant Estacio is anchored mainly on the alleged public auction on 20 March 2002. Accordingly, the respondent is expected to comment only in this aspect. And besides, we cannot verify the authenticity of the said attachments since they are mere xerox copies.

Among the requisites before complaints against judicial officers and employees can be acted upon by this Court are: 1) The complaint must be written in a clear, simple and concise language and in a systematic manner as to apprise the respondent of the nature of the charge against him and to enable him to prepare his defense; and 2) The complaint must be accompanied by certified true copies of the documentary evidence.

In administrative proceedings, the complainant has the burden of proving by substantial evidence the allegations in his complaint. In the absence of contrary evidence, what will prevail is the presumption that the respondents have regularly performed their official duties.

We must emphasize that a mere charge or allegation of wrongdoing does not suffice. Accusation is not synonymous with guilt. There must always be sufficient evidence to support the charge. This brings to the fore the application of the age-old but familiar rule that he who alleges must prove his allegations. In the case under consideration, complainant Estacio must show in an epigrammatic and lucid manner the improprieties committed by the respondent and not merely attach xerox copies of documents and put the burden on this Court in forecasting the charges, the facts and the invocation of the complainant. This, we cannot tolerate.

Nonetheless, complainant Estacio can still pursue her case against the respondent in view of the information, assuming to be true, in her letter dated 10 June 2003. Provided, she should comply with the provisions as above discussed.


WHEREFORE, the administrative complaint against Atty. Concepcion N. Samonte, Clerk of Court VI, RTC, OCC, Sta. Cruz, Laguna, is hereby DISMISSED for utter lack of basis. However, she must be advised to be more careful in the exercise of her duties and responsibilities.

and finding the evaluation to be in accord with law and( the facts of the case, the Court hereby approves and adopts the same.

However, the recommendation of Court Administrator Velasco that respondent be advised to be more careful in the exercise of her duties and responsibilities has already been rendered moot by the retirement of respondent on June 17, 2003.

ACCORDINGLY, the administrative complaint against Clerk of Court Concepcion N. Samonte is DISMISSED for lack of merit.


Very truly yours,

Clerk of Court

Back to Home | Back to Main






ChanRobles Legal Resources:

ChanRobles On-Line Bar Review

ChanRobles Internet Bar Review :

ChanRobles MCLE On-line

ChanRobles Lawnet Inc. - ChanRobles MCLE On-line :