Philippine Supreme Court Resolutions


Philippine Supreme Court Resolutions > Year 2008 > December 2008 Resolutions > [A.M. No. P-08-2463 (Formerly OCA I.P.I No. 05-2229-P) : December 10, 2008] DINDO SIM, HEAD GUARD, HALL OF JUSTICE BUILDING, ILIGAN CITY V. ROMEO AREVALO, UTILITY WORKER; ARQUIPA COLAO, COURT INTERPRETER AND SHERYL NERICUA, CLERK III, ALL OF THE REGIONAL TRIAL COURT, BRANCH 4, ILIGAN CITY :




THIRD DIVISION

[A.M. No. P-08-2463 (Formerly OCA I.P.I No. 05-2229-P) : December 10, 2008]

DINDO SIM, HEAD GUARD, HALL OF JUSTICE BUILDING, ILIGAN CITY V. ROMEO AREVALO, UTILITY WORKER; ARQUIPA COLAO, COURT INTERPRETER AND SHERYL NERICUA, CLERK III, ALL OF THE REGIONAL TRIAL COURT, BRANCH 4, ILIGAN CITY

Sirs/Mesdames:

Quoted hereunder, for your information, is a resolution of this Court dated 10 December 2008:

RESOLUTION

A.M.  No. P-08-2463 (Formerly OCA I.P.I No. 05-2229-P) - (Dindo Sim, Head Guard, Hall of Justice Building, Iligan City v. Romeo Arevalo, Utility Worker; Arquipa Colao, Court Interpreter and Sheryl Nericua, Clerk III, all of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 4, Iligan City)

Dindo Sim (complainant), Head Guard of the Hall of Justice Building, Bigan City wrote a letter to Executive Judge Valerio M.. Salazar (Judge Salazar) of the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Iligan City dated November 23, 2004 informing him that Romeo Arevalo (Arevalo), Utility Worker of Branch 4, was caught by Clerk of Court Carmen Inocian (Inocian) and Security Guard Jemichael Ba´┐Żo punching the bundy cards of his co-employees Sheryl Nericua (Nericua), Clerk III, and. Arquipa Colao (Colao), Court Interpreter in the bundy clock that day.[1]

Judge Salazar referred the matter to Judge Moslemen Macarambon, Presiding Judge of Branch 4 on December 2, 2004 for investigation, report and recommendation.[2] Judge Macarambon then conducted an investigation and required the concerned personnel to file their respective comments.[3]

In his Comment dated December 6, 2004, Arevalo admitted the charge and asked for forgiveness claiming that he decided to punch the bundy cards of Nericua and Colao out of kindness and concern for them; that on the date in question, he arrived at around 7:00 a.m and around 7:38 a.m. after doing his usual chores, he went downstairs and punched his bundy card; seeing that Nericua and Colao were not in the premises, which was unusual as he always sees them at about that time punching their cards, he decided to punch their bundy cards thinking that they might have been just caught in traffic; he later saw Colao arrive in the building before 8:00 , am, which arrival was noted by complainant; later, he learned that Nericua had previously filed a leave of absence. Arevalo claims that he did the said act in good faith, without malice, and without regard to any imputation of an offense or any legal implication considering his low education, having finished only Grade 2.[4]

Colao in her Comment dated December 6, 2004 meanwhile alleged that she arrived in the building at around 7:48 a.m. on November 23, 2004 which fact was seen by complainant; she looked for her bundy card and saw that there was already an entry for the morning session; she only learned, upon reaching the office, that it was Arevalo who punched her bundy card, who might have done said act out of kindness for her considering that he always sees her arrive before 8 a.m.[5]

Nericua for her part averred in her Comment dated December 6, 2004 that: on the November 23, 2004, she was on leave of absence as she brought her son to the Health Center for immunization; Arevalo punched her bundy card that morning without her knowledge; she thinks however that he did so out of kindness for her thinking that she might be late as he used to see her arrive in the office ahead of him; she promises that no similar incident will happen again.[6]

Judge Macarambon in his Resolution dated December 22, 2004 held that Colao and Nericua should be exonerated since they had no knowledge of Arevalo's act, neither did they instruct him to do such offense; Arevalo meanwhile should be given a mere "warning" since this is his first administrative case in his 23 years of service and considering his low education.[7]

The Office of the Court Administrator (OCA) through Judge Macarambon directed complainant to file his comment on the explanation of Colao aid to submit a certified true copy of the logbook of employees' attendance on the subject date.[8] In his Comment dated July 22, 2005, complainant affirmed Colao's statement that she arrived before 8:00 am on said date. He also attached a certified copy of the logbook that day attesting to such fact.[9]

In its report dated October 16, 2007, the OCA found that: Arevalo is guilty of misconduct for punching the bundy cards of Colao and Nericua; there is no evidence however that Arevalo did the said act with malice or bad faith; there is also no evidence that he did such act in the past; as to Colao and Nericua, there is no evidence showing that they had prior knowledge of what respondent had done neither was there a prior instruction for them to do so.[10] The OCA then recommended that Arevalo be suspended for one month for simple misconduct with a stem warning that a repetition of the same or similar acts in the future will be dealt with more severely, and that Colao and Nericua be admonished to avoid the repetition of a similar act in the future.[11]

In the Resolution dated December 12,2007, the Court required the parties to manifest whether they are willing to submit the case for decision based on the pleadings filed.[12]

Arevalo filed his Manifestation expressing his willingness to have the case submitted for decision. He also asked for compassion from the Court considering that he has been in government service for 28 years and is about to retire on February 20, 2008.[13] Attached to said Manifestation is an Affidavit from retired RTC Judge of Branch 4, Felipe G. Javier Jr., who said that he personally knows Arevalo as he was the one who recommended him as Court Janitor in 1979; that Arevalo is conscientious, honest, always reports to work early, leaves only after office hours and has not committed any infraction: Arevalo is now sickly and will need whatever amount he can get from his retirement for his medical needs and the sustenance of Ms family; he also committed the present offense not for Ms personal interest.[14] Also attached to the Manifestation is a letter from Inocian stating that she knows Arevalo since 1976 and has found him to be of good character and of good working habits; although lacking in formal education, he is industrious, cooperative and kind; she asks for consideration for Arevalo's offense considering that this is his first infraction, and has committed the offense without malice and out of kindness to his officemates, completely unaware of the consequences of his act.[15]

Colao and Nericua submitted their Manifestations expressing their willingness to have the case submitted for decision based on pleadings already filed.[16] Complainant, however, failed to submit any manifestation within the period given, thus he is deemed to have agreed to have the case thus submitted.

The Court agrees with the findings and recommendation of the OCA.

Punching of one's daily time record is a personal act of the holder[17] as mandated by the word "every" in OCA Circular No. 7-2003 which states that:

  1. After the end of each month, every official and employee of each court shall accomplish the Daily Time Record (Civil Service Form No. 48) Bundy Card, indicating therein truthfully and accurately the time of arrival in and departure from the office.

This circular clearly requires every court official and employee to truthfully and accurately indicate the time of his or her arrival at and departure from the office.[18]

While Arevalo did not directly benefit Scorn punching Colao and Nericua's time cards, he caused the commission of a wrong that minted the integrity of the office of which he is part.[19]

The Court has never wavered in reminding every member of the judiciary, from the presiding judge to the lowest clerk, that they must be beyond, reproach and must be circumscribed with the heavy burden of responsibility. This is because the administration of justice is a sacred task, thus the persons involved in it ought to live up to the strictest standards of honesty and integrity.[20]

Arevalo's act of punching other employees' time cards falls within the ambit of falsification[21] since he made it appear that Colao and Nericua themselves punched their time cards, when the truth is that Colao, arrived minutes later, and Nericua was absent that day. Furthermore, falsification of daily time records amounts to dishonesty, which carries the extreme penalty of dismissal from the service.[22]

In several administrative cases, however, the Court refrained from imposing the actual penalties in view of mitigating factors such as respondent's length of service, respondent's acknowledgment of his infractions and feeling of remorse, and family circumstances, among other things.[23]

Arevalo has been in the service since January 2, 1980[24] and this is his first administrative infraction.[25] He readily admitted his wrongdoing and asked forgiveness from the Court, explaining that he committed the said act out of compassion for his officemates who were not yet in the office premises at the time. He also invokes understanding for his failure to foresee the extent of his infraction citing his lack of education, having finished only Grade 2. He also presented an affidavit and a letter from his previous judge and the Clerk of Court who reported his infraction, attesting to his good moral character and commendable working habits. There is also no showing that he personally benefitted from said offense. Considering the foregoing, the Court finds the recommended penalty of the OCA, i.e., suspension of one month from office to be proper. In view, however, of his retirement in February 2008, a fine equivalent to am month's salary shall be imposed instead to be deducted from his retirement benefits.[26]

As there is no showing that Colao and Nericua ordered Arevalo to punch their time cards for them, the Investigating Judge and the OCA correctly exonerated them of any offense.

WHEREFORE, Utility Worker Romeo Arevalo is found GUILTY of falsification of official document and dishonesty for which he is FINED in an amount equivalent to his one-month's salary to be deducted from his retirement benefits.

The Complaints against Court Interpreter Arquipa Colao and Clerk III Sheryl Nericua are DISMISSED for lack of merit.

Very truly yours,

(Sgd.) LUCITA ABJELINA-SORIANO
Clerk of Court

Endnotes:


[1] Rollo, pp. 6, 29.

[2] Id at 5.

[3] Id at3, 7.

[4] Id at8 .

[5] Rollo, p. 9.

[6] Id. at 10.

[7] Id. at 4.

[8] Id. at 14.

[9] Id. at 18

[10] Id. at 23-24.

[11] Id. at 25.

[12] Id. at 26.

[13] Rollo, p. 27.

[14] Id. at 28.

[15] Id. at 29.
 
[16] Id. at 32, 38.

[17] In re: Irregularities in the Use of logbook and Daily Time Records by Clerk of Court Raquel DJ. Razon Cash Clerk Joel M. Magtuloy and Utility  Worker Tiburcio O. Morales, All of the Municipal Trial Court-OCC Guagua, Pampanga, A.M. No. P-06-2243, September 26, 2006, 503

 [18] SCRA 52; Servino v. Adolfo, November 30, 2006, A.M. No. P-06-2204, 509 SCRA 42.

[19] Garcia v. Bada, A.M. No. P-07-2311, August 23, 2007, 530 SCRA 779.

[19] See Garcia v. Bada, id.

[20] Servino v. Adolfo, supra note 17.

[21] Garcia v. Bada, supra note 18.  

[22] In re: Irregularities in the Use of Logbook, supra note 17; Servino v. Adolfo, supra note 17.

[23] Garcia v. Bada, supra note 18; Servino v. Adolfo, supra note 17.

[24] Per Records Division, Office of the Court Administrator (OCA)-Office of Administrative Services (OAS).

[25] Per OCA Docket Legal Division.

[26] Verification with the Retirement Division of the OCA yielded that Arevalo has not yet received his benefits.



Back to Home | Back to Main


chanrobles.com





ChanRobles On-Line Bar Review

ChanRobles Internet Bar Review : www.chanroblesbar.com

ChanRobles MCLE On-line

ChanRobles Lawnet Inc. - ChanRobles MCLE On-line : www.chanroblesmcleonline.com






December-2008 Jurisprudence                 

  • [G.R. No. 180264 : December 17, 2008] PHILIPPINE NATIONAL BANK V. SANDIGANBAYAN, ET. AL

  • Name[G.R. No. 185061 : December 17, 2008] CARINA P. BAUTISTA V. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES

  • [G.R. No. 184337 : December 17, 2008] HEIRS OF FEDERICO C. DELGADO AND ANNALISA PESICO, PETITIONERS, - VERSUS- LUISITO Q. GONZALEZ AND ANTONIO T, BUENAFLOR, RESPONDENTS AND G.R. NO. 184507 -ACTING SECRETARY OF JUSTICE AGNES VST DEVANADERA, HEIRS OF FEDERICO C. DELGADO AND ANNALISA D. PESICO, PETITIONERS, - VERSUS - LUISITO Q. GONZALEZ AND ANTONIO T. BUENAFLOR, RESPONDENTS

  • Name[A.M. No. 08-11-667-RTC : December 16, 2008] RE: REQUEST OF JUDGE RAPHAEL B. YRASTORZA, SR., RTC, BRANCH 14, CEBU CITY, FOR RELIEF OF HIS BRANCH AS SPECIAL COURT FOR FAMILY CASES

  • [A.M. No. 08-11-667-RTC : December 16, 2008] RE: REQUEST OF JUDGE RAPHAEL B. YRASTORZA, SR., RTC, BRANCH 14, CEBU CITY, FOR RELIEF OF HIS BRANCH AS SPECIAL COURT FOR FAMILY CASES

  • [G.R. No. 177597 : December 16, 2008] BAI SANDRA S.A. SEMA, PETITIONER, V. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, ET AL., RESPONDENTS. [G.R. NO. 178628] PERFECTO F. MARQUEZ, PETITIONER, V. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, ET AL., RESPONDENTS. ALI PENDINATAR, INTERVENOR.

  • [G.R. No. 175175 : December 15, 2008] LAND BANK OF THE PHILIPPINES V. HEIRS OF ELEUTERIO CRUZ, ET AL

  • [A.M. No. 7-11-306-MCTC : December 15, 2008] RE: ABSENCE WITHOUT OFFICIAL LEAVE [AWOL] OF MS. CATHERINE S. RENIEDO, INTERPRETER, 4TH MUNICIPAL CIRCUIT TRIAL COURT, SIASI, SULU

  • [A.M. No. P-01-1513 : December 15, 2008] JUDGE LYLIHA I. ABELLA-AQUINO, REGIONAL TRIAL COURT, BRANCH 4, TUGUEGARAO, CAGAYAN V. ATTY. BLAISE G. SAMBOLLEDO, CLERK OF COURT V, REGIONAL TRIAL COURT, BRANCH 4, TUGUEGARAO, CAGAYAN

  • [G.R. No. 184871 : December 10, 2008] RICARDO SARMIENTO Y PRUDENCIO V. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES

  • [A.M. No. P-08-2476 : December 10, 2008] MARIE JUNE RIESGO V. ATTY. LAURENCE JOEL M. TALIPING, BRANCH CLERK OF COURT, RTC, BR. 50, MANILA

  • [A.M. No. MTJ-05-1594 (Formerly OCA I.PI No. 04-1561-MTJ) : December 10, 2008] ARIEL MARSHALL DIVINAGRACIA V. JUDGE EVELIO E. ILANGA

  • [A.M. No. P-08-2463 (Formerly OCA I.P.I No. 05-2229-P) : December 10, 2008] DINDO SIM, HEAD GUARD, HALL OF JUSTICE BUILDING, ILIGAN CITY V. ROMEO AREVALO, UTILITY WORKER; ARQUIPA COLAO, COURT INTERPRETER AND SHERYL NERICUA, CLERK III, ALL OF THE REGIONAL TRIAL COURT, BRANCH 4, ILIGAN CITY

  • [G.R. No. 156208 : December 10, 2008] NPC DRIVERS AND MECHANICS [NPC DAMA], REPRESENTED BY ITS PRESIDENT ROGER SAN JUAN, SR., ET AL. VS. THE NATIONAL POWER CORPORATION, ET AL.

  • [G.R. No. 178276 : December 10, 2008] PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES VS. LEO ACTUB CANETE, ACCUSED-APPELLANT; FELECITO AMANDORON [AT LARGE! AND AMIR ACUB [AT LARGE], ACCUSED

  • [OCA IPI No. 08-137-CA-J : December 09, 2008] TERESA R. IGNACIO AND ROBERTO R. IGNACIO V. JUSTICES MONINA AREVALO ZEÑAROSA AND ESTELA AL PERLAS-BERNABE, COURT OF APPEALS, MANILA

  • [G.R. No. 177786 : December 09, 2008] THEODORE M. AQUINO V. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS AND BENIGNO SIMEON C. AQUINO III

  • [A.M. No. 11838-Ret. : December 09, 2008] RE: REQUEST OF RETIRED DEPUTY COURT ADMINISTRATOR BERNARDO T. PONFERRADA FOR AUTOMATIC ADJUSTMENT OF HIS RETIREMENT BENEFITS TO INCLUDE SPECIAL ALLOWANCE UNDER R.A. 9277

  • [G.R. No. 184728 : December 08, 2008] ZENAIDA REYES V. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES

  • [OCA IPI No. 08-2085-MTJ : December 08, 2008] RE: HADJI KAMALUDDIN GUMBAHALI V. JUDGE JUAN GABRIEL HIZON ALANO, ACTING PRESIDING JUDGE, AND MR. ABDEL AZIZ T. AMILBANGSAI CLERK OF COURT, BOTH OF THE MUNICIPAL CIRCUIT TRIAL COURT, BONGAO-LANGUYAN, TAWI-TAWI

  • [G.R. No. 178623 : December 03, 2008] ELVIRA DIAZ V. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES

  • [G.R. No. 180191 : December 03, 2008] DANNY CACAO MIGUEL V. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES

  • [G.R. Nos. 167707 & 173775 : December 02, 2008] THE SECRETARY OF THE DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENT AND NATURAL RESOURCES, ET A., V. MAYOR JOSE S. YAP, ET AL

  • [A.M. No. 08-11-15-CA : December 02, 2008] RE: REQUEST OF JUSTICE REGALADO E. MAAMBONG, CA, TO PURCHASE ON HIS RETIREMENT ONE (1) UNIT TOYOTA COROLLA ALTIS 2 001 MODEL.

  • [A.M. No. 08-10-05-SB : December 02, 2008] RE: LETTER OF PRESIDING JUSTICE DIOSDADO M. PERALTA OF SANDIGANBAYAN REQUESTING ADVICE AS TO THE PROPRIETY OF INHIBITIONS INVOKED BY THE CHAIRPERSONS OF THAT COURT, RE CIVIL CASE NO. 0141 "REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES V. FERDINAND MARCOS, ET AL."

  • [L-26112 : December 02, 2008] REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES , ET AL. VS. HON. JAIME DELOS ANGELES, ET AL.