Philippine Supreme Court Jurisprudence


Philippine Supreme Court Jurisprudence > Year 2010 > December 2010 Decisions > [A.M. No. P-10-2753 [FORMERLY A.M. OCA IPI NO. 09-3088-P] : December 15, 2010] DONNABELLE D. RUBEN, COMPLAINANT, VS. RAMIL L. ABON, UTILITY WORKER I, RESPONDENT,:




THIRD DIVISION

[A.M. No. P-10-2753 [FORMERLY A.M. OCA IPI NO. 09-3088-P] : December 15, 2010]

DONNABELLE D. RUBEN, COMPLAINANT, VS. RAMIL L. ABON, UTILITY WORKER I, RESPONDENT,

D E C I S I O N


CARPIO MORALES, J.:

By Affidavit-Complaint[1] dated February 20, 2009, Donnabelle D. Ruben (complainant), Clerk IV of the Office of the Clerk of Court (OCC), Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Bayombong, Nueva Vizcaya, charged Ramil L. Abon (respondent), Utility Worker I of the same office, with conduct unbecoming a court employee.

From the rollo, it is gathered that in the morning of February 3, 2009, while respondent and an officemate Hartly Fernandez (Fernandez) were conversing, complainant heard respondent utter in the Ilocano dialect a comment which, when translated to English, means "there's a colleague here who stabs you at your back."  Complainant at once inquired from respondent to whom he was referring, to which respondent answered that he was referring to her.  At that instant, respondent asked complainant if she wanted to hear a voice record proving that she was trying to malign him.  Respondent in fact started playing the voice record but stopped it after the first word and left the room, albeit he returned.

By complainant's claim, respondent shouted at her during the incident that occurred before he left the room, and when respondent returned, he was drunk and threatened her with a gun.

Respondent denied having shouted at complainant or being drunk when he returned to the office or having threatened her with a gun.[2]

The Office of the Court Administrator (OCA),[3] by Report of December 1, 2009, came up with the following findings, quoted verbatim:

Respondent Abon failed to rebut complainant's allegations that he shouted at her and drew and loaded his .45 caliber pistol in front of her.  He claims that he was with Fernandez at the time he went back to the office after a few minutes, and that he immediately proceeded to his table which was about 7 meters away from the complainant, and near the table of Clerk of Court Atty. Augusto Solonio, Jr., who was there seated.  Being charged with a serious offense, the natural course will be to prove one's innocence.  But respondent did not even bother to submit any affidavit neither from the said Fernandez nor from the Clerk of Court to buttress his allegations.  Instead, he offered empty denials that are self-serving and deserving scant consideration.

The Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officers and Employees requires public employees to respect at all times the rights of others and to refrain from any acts contrary to good morals and good customs [citing Republic Act No. 6713, Sec. 4 (c)].  This, respondent miserably failed to observe.  The rude and belligerent behavior exhibited by him against his woman co-employee, threatening her verbally and with a gun is indeed conduct unbecoming of a court employee and cannot be countenanced.  His act was not only an assault upon a female co-employee but more so, upon the integrity and authority of the court.

The alleged settlement of the differences between complainant and respondent cannot absolve the latter from administrative liability.  Respondent merely alleges the same in his Comment without any proof whatsoever, i.e., written assent thereto of the complainant. His claim of a settlement is a lame attempt to escape from administrative liability, especially with the settled rule that the withdrawal of an administrative complaint or subsequent desistance by the complainant does not free the respondent from liability as the purpose of an administrative proceeding is to protect the public service, based on the time-honored principle that a public office is a public trust.  The issue in administrative cases is whether or not the respondent has breached the norms and standards of service in the judiciary.

x x x x

Under the Implementing Rules of the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees, any violation of the Code shall be punished with a fine not exceeding the equivalent of six (6) months salary or suspension not exceeding one (1) year, or removal depending on the gravity of the offense [citing Rule XI, Sec. 1 thereof].  As this is respondent's first administrative case, and since he has settled his differences with complainant, the imposition of one (1) month suspension without pay is in order.[4] (emphasis and underscoring supplied)

The OCA accordingly recommended as follows:

x x x Mr. Ramil L. Abon be SUSPENDED from office for one (1) month without pay, with a STERN WARNING that a repetition of the same, or the commission of a similar offense in the future, will be dealt with more severely.[5]

By Resolution[6] of January 13, 2010, the Court resolved:

(1)
to NOTE: (a) the aforesaid First Indorsement; (b) the verified affidavit-complaint dated 20 February 2009 of Donnabelle D. Ruben charging Utility Worker I Ramil L. Abon x x x with conduct unbecoming a court employee, with enclosures; (c) the respondent's compliance-comment; x x x;

(2)
to RE-DOCKET the instant administrative complaint as a regular administrative matter; and

(3)
to require the parties to MANIFEST if they are willing to submit the case for decision/resolution on the basis of the records/pleadings filed, within ten (10) days from notice hereof.

Complainant and respondent filed their separate Manifestations[7] dated February 19, 2010 informing the Court that they are submitting the case for decision/resolution on the basis of the records and pleadings filed.

The resolution of the case hinges on which of the parties' version should be believed.

The Court finds the evaluation and recommendation by the OCA well-taken.  Indeed, while respondent mentioned Fernandez and the Clerk of Court to have been present at the incident that spawned the filing of the present complaint against him, he failed to get any of them to corroborate his claim.   Absent any showing of ill motive on complainant's part to falsely charge respondent, her tale must be believed.

As detailed above then, respondent's acts of disrespect towards the rights of complainant are contrary to law, good morals and good customs, which constitute a violation of the prescribed norms of conduct for public officials and employees that calls for disciplinary sanction.

Respondent need to be reminded that as court employee, his conduct must at all times be characterized by propriety and decorum.  He is expected to be well-mannered in his actuations not only towards the transacting public, but also in his relationship with co-workers. Boorishness and belligerent behavior have no place in government service as its personnel are enjoined to act with self restraint and civility at all times.[8]

WHEREFORE, this Court finds Ramil L. Abon, Utility Worker I of the Office of the Clerk of Court, Regional Trial Court of Bayombong, Nueva Vizcaya, guilty of violation of the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees[9] and is SUSPENDED from office for one (1) month without pay, with STERN WARNING that a repetition of the same or commission of a similar offense in the future will be dealt with more severely.

SO ORDERED.

Bersamin,Villarama, Jr., Mendoza,* and Sereno, JJ., concur.

Endnotes:


* In lieu of Associate Justice Arturo D. Brion per Special Order No. 921, dated December 13, 2010.

[1] Rollo, pp. 1-4.

[2] See Compliance (comment), id. at 16-18.

[3] Through then Court Administrator Jose P. Perez, now a Member of the Court, and then Deputy Court Administrator Jose Midas P. Marquez, now Court Administrator.

[4] Rollo, pp. 28-30.

[5] Id. at 30.

[6] Id. at 31.

[7] Id. at 40, 45.

[8] See Dalmacio-Joaquin v. Dela Cruz, A.M. No. P-07-2321 [formerly OCA I.P.I. No. 07-2492-P], April 24, 2009, 586 SCRA 344, 351.

[9] Republic Act No. 6713.



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  • [A. M. No. P-10-2833 : December 14, 2010] RETIRED EMPLOYEE, MUNICIPAL TRIAL COURT, SIBONGA, CEBU, COMPLAINANT, VS. MERLYN G. MANUBAG, CLERK OF COURT II, MUNICIPAL TRIAL COURT, SIBONGA, CEBU, RESPONDENT.

  • [A.M. No. 09-5-2-SC : December 14, 2010] IN THE MATTER OF THE BREWING CONTROVERSIES IN THE ELECTION IN THE INTEGRATED BAR OF THE PHILIPPINES, [A.C. NO. 8292] ATTYS. MARCIAL M. MAGSINO, MANUEL M. MARAMBA AND NASSER MAROHOMSALIC, COMPLAINANTS, VS. ATTYS. ROGELIO A. VINLUAN, ABELARDO C. ESTRADA, BONIFACIO T. BARANDON, JR., EVERGISTO S. ESCALON AND RAYMUND JORGE A. MERCADO, RESPONDENTS.

  • [G.R. No. 149548 : December 14, 2010] ROXAS & COMPANY, INC., PETITIONER, VS. DAMBA-NFSW AND THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRARIAN REFORM, RESPONDENTS. [G.R. NO. 167505] DAMAYAN NG MGA MANGGAGAWANG BUKID SA ASYENDA ROXAS-NATIONAL FEDERATION OF SUGAR WORKERS (DAMBA-NFSW), PETITIONER, VS. SECRETARY OF THE DEPT. OF AGRARIAN REFORM, ROXAS & CO., INC. AND/OR ATTY. MARIANO AMPIL, RESPONDENTS. [G.R. NO. 167540] KATIPUNAN NG MGA MAGBUBUKID SA HACIENDA ROXAS, INC. (KAMAHARI), ET AL., PETITIONERS, VS. SECRETARY OF THE DEPT. OF AGRARIAN REFORM, ROXAS & CO., INC., RESPONDENTS. [G.R. NO. 167543] DEPARTMENT OF LAND REFORM, FORMERLY DEPARTMENT OF AGRARIAN REFORM (DAR), PETITIONER, VS.ROXAS & CO, INC., RESPONDENT. [G.R. NO. 167845] VS. ROXAS & CO., INC., PETITIONER, VS. DAMBA-NFSW, RESPONDENT. [G.R. NO. 169163] DAMBA-NFSW REPRESENTED BY LAURO V. MARTIN, PETITIONER, VS. ROXAS & CO., INC., RESPONDENT. [G.R. NO. 179650] DAMBA-NFSW, PETITIONER, VS. ROXAS & CO., INC., RESPONDENT.

  • [G.R. No. 178030 : December 15, 2010] PHILIPPINE FISHERIES DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY (PFDA), PETITIONER, VS. CENTRAL BOARD OF ASSESSMENT APPEALS, LOCAL BOARD OF ASSESSMENT APPEALS OF LUCENA CITY, CITY OF LUCENA, LUCENA CITY ASSESSOR AND LUCENA CITY TREASURER, RESPONDENTS.

  • [G.R. No. 189841 : December 15, 2010] PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, APPELLEE, VS. EFREN DITONA Y MONTEFALCON, BERNARD FERNANDEZ AND ERNESTO EMNAS, ACCUSED. EFREN DITONA Y MONTEFALCON, APPELLANT.

  • [G.R. No. 188560 : December 15, 2010] PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE, VS. RICKY ALFREDO Y NORMAN, ACCUSED-APPELLANT.

  • [G.R. No. 188901 : December 15, 2010] PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE, VS. GILBERT CASTRO Y AGUILAR, ACCUSED-APPELLANT.

  • [G.R. No. 189776 : December 15, 2010] AMELIA P. ARELLANO, REPRESENTED BY HER DULY APPOINTED GUARDIANS, AGNES P. ARELLANO AND NONA P. ARELLANO, PETITIONER, VS. FRANCISCO PASCUAL AND MIGUEL PASCUAL, RESPONDENTS.BR

  • [G.R. No. 149433 : December 15, 2010] THE COCA-COLA EXPORT CORPORATION, PETITIONER, VS. CLARITA P. GACAYAN, RESPONDENT.

  • [G.R. No. 182147 : December 15, 2010] ARNEL U. TY, MARIE ANTONETTE TY, JASON ONG, WILLY DY, AND ALVIN TY, PETITIONERS, VS. NBI SUPERVISING AGENT MARVIN E. DE JEMIL, PETRON GASUL DEALERS ASSOCIATION, AND TOTALGAZ DEALERS ASSOCIATION, RESPONDENTS.

  • [G.R. No. 177355 : December 15, 2010] PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE, VS. MONTANO FLORES Y PARAS, ACCUSED-APPELLANT.

  • [G.R. No. 152086 : December 15, 2010] FEDERICO SORIANO, CIPRIANO BAUTISTA, JOSE TORALBA, CILODONIO TANTAY, MARIANO BRAVO, ROLANDO TORALBA, FAUSTINO BRAVO, CRISTINA TORALBA, BENJAMIN LACAYANGA, ROSALIA TANTAY, GABRIEL DELA VEGA, ROGELIO BRAVO, AND ROMEO TANTAY, REPRESENTED BY THEIR ATTORNEY-IN-FACT, TEODORICO GAMBA, PETITIONERS, VS. ANA SHARI B. BRAVO, REBECCA BENITO, JOHN MEJIA, MILA BRAVO, BENITO BRAVO, ERNESTO BRAVO, JOSE ISRAEL BRAVO, JUANA BRAVO, DARAB CENTRAL, AND THE HON. COURT OF APPEALS, FORMER FIFTH DIVISION, RESPONDENTS.

  • [A.M. No. RTJ-06-2015 (Formerly OCA I.P.I. No. 05-2348-RTJ) : December 15, 2010] ATTY. NORLINDA R. AMANTE-DESCALLAR, PETITIONER, VS. HON. REINERIO (ABRAHAM) B. RAMAS, RESPONDENT.

  • [G.R. No. 162575 : December 15, 2010] BEATRIZ SIOK PING TANG, PETITIONER, VS. SUBIC BAY DISTRIBUTION, INC., RESPONDENT.

  • [G.R. No. 172841 : December 15, 2010] RENATO REYES, REPRESENTED BY RAMON REYES, PETITIONER, VS. LEOPOLDO BARRIOS, SUBSTITUTED BY LUCIA MANALUS-BARRIOS, RESPONDENT.

  • [G.R. No. 179395 : December 15, 2010] MAXWELL HEAVY EQUIPMENT CORPORATION, PETITIONER, VS. ERIC UYCHIAOCO YU, RESPONDENT.

  • [A.M. No. P-07-2383 : December 15, 2010] CRISPIN SARMIENTO, COMPLAINANT, VS. LUISITO P. MENDIOLA, SHERIFF III, METROPOLITAN TRIAL COURT, BRANCH 20, MANILA, RESPONDENT.

  • [G.R. No. 167363 : December 15, 2010] SEALOADER SHIPPING CORPORATION, PETITIONER, VS. GRAND CEMENT MANUFACTURING CORPORATION, JOYCE LAUNCH & TUG CO., INC., ROMULO DIANTAN & JOHNNY PONCE, RESPONDENTS. [G.R. NO. 177466] TAIHEIYO CEMENT PHILIPPINES, INC. (FORMERLY GRAND CEMENT MANUFACTURING CORPORATION), PETITIONER, VS. SEALOADER SHIPPING CORPORATION, JOYCE LAUNCH & TUG CO., INC., ROMULO DIANTAN & JOHNNY PONCE, RESPONDENTS.

  • [G.R. No. 149261 : December 15, 2010] AZUCENA B. CORPUZ, PETITIONER, VS. ROMAN G. DEL ROSARIO, RESPONDENT.

  • [G.R. No. 174833 : December 15, 2010] MYRNA P. MAGANA, PETITIONER, VS. MEDICARD PHILIPPINES, INC., AND COURT OF APPEALS, RESPONDENTS.

  • [G.R. No. 182229 : December 15, 2010] PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, APPELLEE, VS. JUN-JUN ASUELA, APPELLANT.

  • [G.R. No. 165266 : December 15, 2010] AIR FRANCE, PETITIONER, VS. BONIFACIO H. GILLEGO, SUBSTITUTED BY HIS SURVIVING HEIRS REPRESENTED BY DOLORES P. GILLEGO, RESPONDENT.

  • [A.M. No. P-10-2753 [FORMERLY A.M. OCA IPI NO. 09-3088-P] : December 15, 2010] DONNABELLE D. RUBEN, COMPLAINANT, VS. RAMIL L. ABON, UTILITY WORKER I, RESPONDENT,

  • [G.R. No. 157852 : December 15, 2010] HEIRS OF DOMINGO VALIENTES, PETITIONERS, VS. HON. REINERIO (ABRAHAM) B. RAMAS, ACTING PRESIDING JUDGE, RTC, BRANCH 29, 9TH JUDICIAL REGION, SAN MIGUEL, ZAMBOANGA DEL SUR AND VILMA V. MINOR, RESPONDENTS.

  • [G.R. No. 173326 : December 15, 2010] SOUTH COTABATO COMMUNICATIONS CORPORATION AND GAUVAIN J. BENZONAN, PETITIONERS, VS. HON. PATRICIA A. STO. TOMAS, SECRETARY OF LABOR AND EMPLOYMENT, ROLANDO FABRIGAR, MERLYN VELARDE, VINCE LAMBOC, FELIPE GALINDO, LEONARDO MIGUEL, JULIUS RUBIN, EDEL RODEROS, MERLYN COLIAO AND EDGAR JOPSON, RESPONDENTS.

  • [G.R. No. 173081 : December 15, 2010] ERNESTO MARCELO, JR. AND LAURO LLAMES, PETITIONERS, VS. RAFAEL R. VILLORDON, ASSISTANT CITY PROSECUTOR OF QUEZON CITY, RESPONDENT.

  • [G.R. No. 180979 : December 15, 2010] NATIONAL POWER CORPORATION, PETITIONER, VS. TERESITA DIATO-BERNAL, RESPONDENT.

  • [G.R. No. 182645 : December 15, 2010] IN THE MATTER OF THE HEIRSHIP (INTESTATE ESTATES) OF THE LATE HERMOGENES RODRIGUEZ, ANTONIO RODRIGUEZ, MACARIO J. RODRIGUEZ, DELFIN RODRIGUEZ, AND CONSUELO M. RODRIGUEZ AND SETTLEMENT OF THEIR ESTATES, RENE B. PASCUAL, PETITIONER, VS. JAIME M. ROBLES, RESPONDENT.

  • [G.R. No. 173798 : December 15, 2010] PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE, VS. RENE CELOCELO, ACCUSED-APPELLANT.

  • [G.R. No. 171717 : December 15, 2010] RAMON B. BRITO, SR., PETITIONER, VS. SEVERINO D. DIANALA, VIOLETA DIANALA SALES, JOVITA DIANALA DEQUINTO, ROSITA DIANALA, CONCHITA DIANALA AND JOEL DEQUINTO, RESPONDENTS.BR>

  • [A.C. No. 7907 : December 15, 2010] SPOUSES VIRGILIO AND ANGELINA ARANDA, PETITIONERS, VS. ATTY. EMMANUEL F. ELAYDA, RESPONDENT.

  • [G.R. No. 184177 : December 15, 2010] PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE, VS. ANDRES C. FONTILLAS ALIAS "ANDING," ACCUSED-APPELLANT.

  • [G.R. No. 188637 : December 15, 2010] ARNALDO G. GABUNAS, SR., PETITIONER, VS. SCANMAR MARITIME SERVICES INC., MR. VICENTE BRILLANTES AND IUM SHIP MANAGEMENT, RESPONDENTS.

  • [G.R. Nos. 169965-66 : December 15, 2010] CARLOS V. VALENZUELA, PETITIONER, VS. CALTEX PHILIPPINES, INC., RESPONDENT.

  • [G.R. Nos. 169965-66 : December 15, 2010] CARLOS V. VALENZUELA, PETITIONER, VS. CALTEX PHILIPPINES, INC., RESPONDENT.

  • [G.R. No. 174570 : December 15, 2010] ROMER SY TAN, PETITIONER, VS. SY TIONG GUE, FELICIDAD CHAN SY, SY CHIM, SY TIONG SAN, SY YU BUN, SY YU SHIONG, SY YU SAN, AND BRYAN SY LIM, RESPONDENTS.

  • [G.R. No. 182367 : December 15, 2010] CHERRYL B. DOLINA, PETITIONER, VS. GLENN D. VALLECERA, RESPONDENT.

  • [G.R. No. 189301 : December 15, 2010] PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE, VS. JOSE PEPITO D. COMBATE A.K.A. "PEPING," ACCUSED-APPELLANT.

  • [G.R. No. 186091 : December 15, 2010] EMMANUEL BABAS, DANILO T. BANAG, ARTURO V. VILLARIN, SR., EDWIN JAVIER, SANDI BERMEO, REX ALLESA, MAXIMO SORIANO, JR., ARSENIO ESTORQUE, AND FELIXBERTO ANAJAO, PETITIONERS, VS. LORENZO SHIPPING CORPORATION, RESPONDENT

  • [G.R. No. 152423 : December 15, 2010] SPOUSES MARCOS R. ESMAQUEL AND VICTORIA SORDEVILLA, PETITIONERS, VS. MARIA COPRADA, RESPONDENT.

  • [G.R. No. 174251 : December 15, 2010] RAUL PALOMATA, PETITIONER, VS. NESTOR COLMENARES AND TERESA GURREA, RESPONDENTS.

  • [G.R. No. 175595 : July 28, 2010] PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE, VS. TEDDY MAGAYON, ACCUSED-APPELLANT.