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GOLDEN SUN FINANCE CORPORATION, represented by RACHELLE L. MARMITO, Complainant, vs. RICARDO R.

ALBANO, Sheriff III, Metropolitan Trial Court (MeTC), Branch 62, Makati City, A.M. No. P-11-2888 July 27, 2011 (formerly A.M. OCA I.P.I. No. 09-3252-P) FACTS: Honda Civic Sedan was levied upon by RICARDO R. ALBANO, Sheriff III, Metropolitan Trial Court (MeTC), Branch 62, Makati City, by virtue of a writ of execution issued on March 27, 2009 by the MeTC, Makati City, Branch 62, in Criminal Case Nos. 353822-23 for violation of Batas Pambansa Bilang 22 against Lucila S. Reyes. It was sold at a public auction conducted by the respondent on April 29, 2009. The complainant averred that the levy and sale of the motor vehicle by the respondent was illegal. It claimed that the respondent was negligent when he levied upon the motor vehicle and proceeded with the auction sale without looking into the cars Certificate of Registration to determine whether it was encumbered or not. Respondent contended that he had no knowledge that the car was encumbered because the Certificate of Registration was never shown to him. He also had no knowledge that the car was the subject of a writ of replevin in Civil Case No. 0964026.2 Thus, the respondent asked for the dismissal of the complaint, stressing that he had acted within the scope of his duty as sheriff when he enforced the writ of execution. RELEVANT ISSUE: Whether or not respondent Sheriff is guilty of simple neglect of duty. RULING: NO. Section 9(b), Rule 39 of the Rules of Court states that : In determining properties to be levied upon, the Rules require the sheriff to levy only on those "properties of the judgment debtor" which are "not otherwise exempt from execution." For purposes of the levy, a property is deemed to belong to the judgment debtor if he holds a beneficial interest in such property that he can sell or otherwise dispose of for value.6 In a contract of mortgage, the debtor retains beneficial interest over the property notwithstanding the encumbrance, since the mortgage only serves to secure the fulfillment of the principal obligation.7 Indeed, even if the debtor defaults, this fact does not operate to vest in the creditor the ownership of the property;8 the creditor must still resort to foreclosure proceedings. Thus, a mortgaged property may still be levied upon by the sheriff to satisfy the judgment debtors obligations, as what happened in the present case. After ascertaining the judgment debtors (Reyes) interest over the car, the respondent properly enforced the levy thereon an act that, to our mind, is in accordance with the Rules of Court. It was thus irrelevant for the complainant to argue that had the respondent checked the cars certificate of registration, the respondent would have been aware of the encumbrance. The encumbrance, until foreclosed, will not in any way affect the judgment debtors rights over the property or exempt the property from the levy. Even the pendency of the proceeding for replevin that the complainant instituted would not serve to prevent the sheriff from levying on the car, since Reyes default and the complainants right to foreclose still had to be settled in the proceeding.9 We emphasize that a sheriffs duty to execute a writ is simply ministerial,13 and he is bound to perform only those tasks stated under the Rules of Court and no more. Any interest a third party may have on the property levied upon by the sheriff to enforce a judgment is the third partys responsibility to protect through the remedies provided under Rule 39 of the Rules of Court.14 Thus, we can not hold the respondent liable on the ground that the complainant cites. If at all, the respondent should have required, as a matter of sound established practice, the production of the certificate of registration, but this is an altogether different matter that we do not here pass upon. WHEREFORE, premises considered, the administrative charges for negligence and grave misconduct against Ricardo R. Albano, Sheriff III, Metropolitan Trial Court, Branch 62, Makati City, are DISMISSED. Costs against the complainant Golden Sun Finance Corporation. CASE TITLE: Erlinda R. Tarog vs. Atty. Romulo L. Ricafort CITATION: (A.M. no; date; ponencia) A.C. No. 8253; March 15, 2011; Per Curiam DOCTRINE: The Code of Professional Responsibility demands the utmost degree of fidelity and good faith in dealing with the moneys entrusted to lawyers because of their fiduciary relationship. In particular, Rule 16.01 of the Code of Professional Responsibility states: Rule 16.01 - A lawyer shall account for all money or property collected or received for or from the client. Undoubtedly, Atty. Ricafort was required to hold in trust any money and property of his clients that came into his possession, and he needed to be always mindful of the trust and confidence his clients reposed in him. Thus, having obtained the funds from the Tarogs in the course of his professional employment, he had the obligation to deliver such funds to his clients (a) when they became due, or (b) upon demand.

Furthermore, Rule 16.02 of the Code of Professional Responsibility, imposes on an attorney the positive obligation to keep all funds of his client separate and apart from his own and from those of others kept by him, to wit: Rule 16.02 - A lawyer shall keep the funds of each client separate and apart from his own and those of others kept by him. FACTS: The court resolved a complaint for disbarment for alleged grave misconduct brought against Atty. Romulo L. Ricafort for his failure to account for and to return the sums of money received from his clients for purposes of the civil action to recover their property from a foreclosing banking institution he was handling for them. The original complainant was Arnulfo A. Tarog, but his wife, Erlinda R. Tarog, substituted him upon his intervening death. Acting upon the complaint, Commissioner Wilfredo E.J.E. Reyes conducted an investigation and recommended that herein respondent should be disbarred and ordered the return of the amount which his client. Through a resolution therefore, the IBP Board of Governors adopted and approved the Report and Recommendation of Commissioner Reyes and recommended the disbarment of Atty. Ricafort and the order for him to return the amounts of P65,000.00 and P15,000.00 to Erlinda. RELEVANT ISSUE: Whether or not complainant is guilty RULING: The court affirmed the findings of Commissioner Reyes, because they were supported by substantial evidence. However, the court imposed the penalty of disbarment instead of the recommended penalty of indefinite suspension, considering that Atty. Ricafort committed a very serious offense that was aggravated by his having been previously administratively sanctioned for a similar offense on the occasion of which he was warned against committing a similar offense. The Code of Professional Responsibility demands the utmost degree of fidelity and good faith in dealing with the moneys entrusted to lawyers because of their fiduciary relationship.25 In particular, Rule 16.01 of the Code of Professional Responsibility states: Rule 16.01 - A lawyer shall account for all money or property collected or received for or from the client. Undoubtedly, Atty. Ricafort was required to hold in trust any money and property of his clients that came into his possession,26 and he needed to be always mindful of the trust and confidence his clients reposed in him.27 Thus, having obtained the funds from the Tarogs in the course of his professional employment, he had the obligation to deliver such funds to his clients (a) when they became due, or (b) upon demand.281avvphi1 Furthermore, Rule 16.02 of the Code of Professional Responsibility, imposes on an attorney the positive obligation to keep all funds of his client separate and apart from his own and from those of others kept by him, to wit: Rule 16.02 - A lawyer shall keep the funds of each client separate and apart from his own and those of others kept by him. Atty. Ricaforts act of obtaining P65,000.00 and P15,000.00 from the Tarogs under the respective pretexts that the amount would be deposited in court and that he would prepare and file the memorandum for the Tarogs erected a responsibility to account for and to use the amounts in accordance with the particular purposes intended. For him to deposit the amount of P65,000.00 in his personal account without the consent of the Tarogs and not return it upon demand, and for him to fail to file the memorandum and yet not return the amount of P15,000.00 upon demand constituted a serious breach of his fiduciary duties as their attorney. He reneged on his duty to render an accounting to his clients showing that he had spent the amounts for the particular purposes intended. He was thereby presumed to have misappropriated the moneys for his own use to the prejudice of his clients and in violation of the clients trust reposed in him. He could not escape liability, for upon failing to use the moneys for the purposes intended, he should have immediately returned the moneys to his clients. CASE TITLE: Lydia A. Benancillo vs. Judge Venancio J. Amila, RTC, Branch 3, Tagbilaran City CITATION: (A.M. no; date; ponencia) A.M. No. RTJ-08-2149 DOCTRINE:

CANON 4 P R O P R I E T Y Propriety and the appearance of propriety are essential to the performance of all the activities of a judge. SECTION 1. Judges shall avoid impropriety and the appearance of impropriety in all of their activities. SECTION 6. Judges, like any other citizen, are entitled to freedom of expression, belief, association and assembly, but in exercising such rights, they shall always conduct themselves in such a manner as to preserve the dignity of the judicial office and the impartiality and independence of the Judiciary. The above provisions clearly enjoin judges not only from committing acts of impropriety but even acts which have the appearance of impropriety. The Code recognizes that even acts that are not per se improper can nevertheless be perceived by the larger community as such. "Be it stressed that judges are held to higher standards of integrity and ethical conduct than attorneys and other persons not [vested] with public trust." FACTS: Herein complainant is charged with Grave Abuse of Discretion, Gross Ignorance of the Law and Procedure, Knowingly Rendering an Unjust Judgment or Order, Partiality and Impropriety. The complainant claimed that she suffered psychological and emotional violence as the respondent judge echoed Belots verbal and psychological abuse against her that she was "only a live-in partner" "in an illegitimate relation" and a "prostitute." The respondent judges remarks revealed his prejudice and lack of gender sensitivity and this was unbecoming of a family court judge. His remarks also manifested his lack of knowledge and/or utter disregard of the law on the equal protection to women-victims in intimate relationships under the anti- VAWC law which he was mandated to uphold as a family court judge. The complainant averred that the respondent judge refused to enforce the TPO under the Anti-VAWC law because of his prejudiced view that she would abscond with the contested properties due to the "illegitimate status" of their "relationship." His personal bias against the complainant reflects his utter lack of the cold neutrality of an impartial judge. The OCA found that Judge Amila acted inappropriately in calling the intervenors to a meeting in his chambers. It was also noted that he used derogatory and irreverent language in presenting complainant in his Comment as an opportunist, a mistress in an illegitimate relationship and that she was motivated by insatiable greed. RELEVANT ISSUE: Whether or nor respondent judge is guilty of the offense charged RULING: The court adopt sthe findings and the recommendations of the OCA. Indeed, the New Code of Judicial Conduct for the Philippine Judiciary exhorts members of the judiciary, in the discharge of their duties, to be models of propriety at all times. Judge Amila should be reminded of Sections 1 and 6, Canon 4 of the New Code of Judicial Conduct for the Philippine Judiciary. CANON 4 P R O P R I E T Y Propriety and the appearance of propriety are essential to the performance of all the activities of a judge. SECTION 1. Judges shall avoid impropriety and the appearance of impropriety in all of their activities. SECTION 6. Judges, like any other citizen, are entitled to freedom of expression, belief, association and assembly, but in exercising such rights, they shall always conduct themselves in such a manner as to preserve the dignity of the judicial office and the impartiality and independence of the Judiciary. The above provisions clearly enjoin judges not only from committing acts of impropriety but even acts which have the appearance of impropriety. The Code recognizes that even acts that are not per se improper can nevertheless be perceived by the larger community as such. "Be it stressed that judges are held to higher standards of integrity and ethical conduct than attorneys and other persons not [vested] with public trust." Accordingly, respondent Judge Venancio J. Amila is hereby found guilty of conduct unbecoming of a judge. In particular, he violated Sections 1 and 6, Canon 4 of the New Code of Judicial Conduct for the Philippine Judiciary. CASE TITLE: Patricio Gone vs. Atty. Macario Ga

CITATION: (A.M. no; date; ponencia) A.C. No. 7771; April 6, 2011; Assoc. Justice Jose Portugal Reyes DOCTRINE: Rule 18.03 and Rule 18.04 state: Rule 18.03. A lawyer shall not neglect a legal matter entrusted to him, and his negligence in connection therewith shall render him liable. Rule 18.04. A lawyer shall keep the client informed of the status of his case and shall respond within a reasonable time to the clients request for information. FACTS: This is a complaint for disciplinary action due to Atty. Gas failure to reconstitute or turn over the records of the case to complainants possession. Complainnat alleged that the NLRC building in Intramuros, Manila was burned and among the records destroyed was his appealed case. Despite knowledge, Atty. Ga allegedly did not do anything to reconstitute the records of the appealed case. Commissioner Marilyn S. Guzman, IBP Commission on Bar Discipline, submitted her report recommending that respondent Atty. Ga be censured for violation of Rule 18.03, Canon 18 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. The Board of Governors of the IBP adopted and approved with modification, the report and recommendation of the Investigating Commissioner. Respondent Atty. Ga was censured for violation of Rule 18.03, Canon 18 of the Code of Professional Responsibility and was directed to reconstitute and turn over the records of the case to complainant, with stern warning that failure to do so would merit a stiffer penalty. RELEVANT ISSUE: Whether or not respondent is guilty of violating Rules 18.03 and 18.04 of the Code of Professional Responsibility RULING: The court agrees with the findings and recommendation of the IBP. The Code of Professional Responsibility mandates lawyers to serve their clients with competence and diligence. Respondent Atty. Ga breached these duties when he failed to reconstitute or turn over the records of the case to his client, herein complainant Gone. His negligence manifests lack of competence and diligence required of every lawyer. His failure to comply with the request of his client was a gross betrayal of his fiduciary duty and a breach of the trust reposed upon him by his client. Respondents unjustified disregard of the lawful orders of this Court and the IBP is not only irresponsible, but also constitutes utter disrespect for the Judiciary and his fellow lawyers. His conduct is unbecoming of a lawyer, for lawyers are particularly called upon to obey Court orders and processes and are expected to stand foremost in complying with Court directives being themselves officers of the Court. As an officer of the Court, respondent is expected to know that a resolution of this Court is not a mere request but an order which should be complied with promptly and completely. This is also true of the orders of the IBP as the investigating arm of the Court in administrative cases against lawyers. A.C. No. 6683 June 21, 2011 RE: RESOLUTION OF THE COURT DATED 1 JUNE 2004 IN G.R. NO. 72954 AGAINST, ATTY. VICTOR C. AVECILLA, Respondent. PEREZ, J.: DOCTRINE/S: 1. In Fabiculana, Sr. v. Gadon,55 this Court previously sanctioned a sheriff for the wrongful act of bringing court records home, thus: Likewise Ciriaco Y. Forlales, although not a respondent in complainant's letter-complaint, should be meted the proper penalty, having admitted taking the records of the case home and forgetting about them. Court employees are, in the first place, not allowed to take any court records, papers or documents outside the court premises. It is clear that Forlales was not only negligent in his duty of transmitting promptly the records of an appealed case to the appellate court but he also failed in his duty not to take the records of the case outside of the court and to subsequently forget about them.

2. FACTS: Chief Justice Davide instructed JRO Chief Atty. Teresita Dimaisip forward the rollo of G.R. No. 72954 for the purpose of verifying the claims of Atty. Avecilla and Mr. Biraogos that since they made contributions to the Judiciary Development Fund by way of the docket and legal fees they paid as petitioners in G.R No. 72954, they should also be given a copy of the copy of the said JDF. Atty. Dimaisip apprised9 Chief Justice Davide that the subject rollo could not be found in the archives but that she discovered that the subject rollo had been borrowed from the JRO on 13 September 1991 naming Atty. Avecilla, although acting through a certain Atty. Salvador Banzon (Atty. Banzon), as the borrower. Chief Justice Davide then directed13 Atty. Dimaisip investigate how the rollo came into Atty. Avecillas possession and to take necessary measures to secure the return of the said rollo. On 18 August 2003, almost twelve (12) years after it was borrowed, the rollo of G.R. No. 72954 was finally turned over by Atty. Avecilla to the JRO.18 On 22 September 2003, Chief Justice Davide directed19 the Office of the Chief Attorney (OCAT) of this Court, to make a study, report and recommendation on the incident. OCAT submitted a Memorandum20 to the Chief Justice opining that the respondent may be administratively charged, as a lawyer and member of the bar, for taking out the rollo of G.R. No. 72954. Accepting the findings of the OCAT, the Court En banc issued a Resolution27 on 9 December 2003 directing the respondent to show cause why he should not be held administratively liable for borrowing the rollo of G.R. No. 72954 and for failing to return the same for a period of almost twelve (12) years. The respondent gave the following defenses: (1) He denied that he borrowed nor authorized anyone to borrow the said rollo ; (2) for some unknown reason, the subject rollo just ended up in his box of personal papers and effects, which he brought home following the retirement of Justice Gancayco; and (3) he denounced any ill-motive for failing to return the rollo, professing that he had never exerted effort to examine his box of personal papers and effects up until that time when he was contacted by Atty. Dimaisip inquiring about the missing rollo. The Court referred the respondents Explanation to the OCAT, who, found the respondents Explanation to be unsatisfactory. One of OCATs significant observations is that the respondent borrowed the subject rollo not for any official business related to his duties as a legal researcher for Justice Gancayco, but merely to fulfill a personal agenda.23 By doing so, the respondent clearly abused his confidential position for which he may be administratively sanctioned Likewise, the Office of the Bar Confidant (OBC), after conducting a formal investigation on the matter, dismissed the defenses the respondent and found the him to be fully accountable for taking out the rollo of G.R. No. 72954 and failing to return it timely. RELEVANT ISSUE: Whether or not Atty. Avecilla Should be held administratively liable for borrowing and falling to return the rollo of G.R. No. 72954. RULING: YES. We find that there are sufficient grounds to hold respondent administratively liable. First. Taking judicial records, such as a rollo, outside court premises, without the courts consent, is an administratively punishable act. Second. The act of the respondent in borrowing a rollo for unofficial business entails the employment of deceit not becoming a member of the bar. It presupposes the use of misrepresentation and, to a certain extent, even abuse of position on the part of the respondent because the lending of rollos are, as a matter of policy, only limited to official purposes. As a lawyer then employed with the government, the respondent clearly violated Rule 6.02, Canon 6 of the Code of Professional Responsibility, to wit: Rule 6.02 - A lawyer in the government service shall not use his public position to promote or advance his private interests, nor allow the latter to interfere with his public duties. WHEREFORE, in light of the foregoing premises, the respondent is hereby SUSPENDED from the practice of law for six (6) months. The respondent is also STERNLY WARNED that a repetition of a similar offense in the future will be dealt with more severely. SUSANA E. FLORES, Complainant, vs. ARIEL D. PASCASIO, Sheriff III, MTCC, Branch 5, Olongapo City, Respondent. A.M. No. P-06-2130 June 13, 2011 (formerly A.M. OCA I.P.I. NO. 04-1946-P) DOCTRINES : 1. Sheriffs play an important role in the administration of justice and high standards are expected of them. Their conduct, at all times, must not only be characterized by propriety and decorum but must, at all times, be above suspicion.15 Part of this stringent requirement is that agents of the

law should refrain from the use of abusive, offensive, scandalous, menacing or otherwise improper language. Judicial employees are expected to accord due respect, not only to their superiors, but also to others and their rights at all times. Their every act and word should be characterized by prudence, restraint, courtesy and dignity. 2. The Court defines misconduct as any unlawful conduct, on the part of a person concerned in the administration of justice, prejudicial to the rights of the parties or to the right determination of the cause. It generally means wrongful, improper and unlawful conduct motivated by a premeditated, obstinate or intentional purpose.17 It means intentional wrongdoing or deliberate violations of a rule of law or standard or behavior, especially by a government official. 3. Dishonesty means a disposition to lie, cheat, deceive or defraud; untrustworthiness; lack of integrity, lack of honesty, probity or integrity in principle; lack of fairness and straightforwardness; and disposition to defraud, deceive or betray.18 FACTS: On March 5, 2004, an auction sale of a JVC DVD player and a Sony TV set was conducted by the respondent at the Office of the Clerk of Court, Olongapo City. She submitted a bid of Ten Thousand Two Hundred Pesos (P10,200.00) for the two (2) items. During the public auction, the two items were sold separately, the JVC DVD player for P2,520.00 and the Sony TV set for P2,500.00. The complainant claimed that the respondent manipulated the bidding process to make it appear that she submitted a bid of only One Thousand Two Hundred Pesos (P1,200.00) instead of her bid of Ten Thousand Two Hundred Pesos (P10,200.00). She further alleged that the respondent even scolded her for questioning the conduct of the auction sale. According to her, when she asked the respondent why she lost the bidding, he replied, "Wala kang magagawa dahil ako ang masusunod dito. Ako ang sheriff dito, kung kanino ko gustong mapunta and items, yun ang masusunod."1 Susana E. Flores then filed an administrative complaint for Grave Misconduct and Grave Abuse of Authority against Ariel R. Pascasio. . In his comment2 dated August 24, 2004, the respondent denied having discriminated against the complainant. He admitted having received the complainants bid, but because it was not itemized, he disregarded it on ground of technicality. While he listed the complainants name in the minutes of the auction sale, no amount was placed opposite her name because her bid was invalid. He explained to the complainant that only itemized bids were considered and that she should have submitted separate bids and not just one bid for the two (2) items. On March 21, 2006, the complainant, through her counsel Atty. Randy B. Escolango, filed a Manifestation with Motion7 manifesting that she would file a Reply to controvert the respondents allegations in his comment. However, despite several extensions granted, Atty. Escolango failed to file the complainants reply. He was required to show cause why he should not be disciplinary dealt with or held in contempt for his failure,8 and was later imposed a fine of P2,000.00. Atty. Escolango complied, by claiming that since he could no longer locate and contact the complainant, presumed that the complainant was no longer interested in pursuing the case as the respondent had already been dismissed from the service. (Respondent had already been ordered dismissed from the service in the Decision of May 7, 2008 in A.M. No. P-08-2454 entitled "Virgilio A. Musngi v. Ariel R. Pascasio, etc." ) RELEVANT ISSUE: Whether or not the respondent is guilty of of dishonesty in the performance of official duty . RULING: YES. The Court defines misconduct as any unlawful conduct, on the part of a person concerned in the administration of justice, prejudicial to the rights of the parties or to the right determination of the cause. It generally means wrongful, improper and unlawful conduct motivated by a premeditated, obstinate or intentional purpose.17 It means intentional wrongdoing or deliberate violations of a rule of law or standard or behavior, especially by a government official. Dishonesty means a disposition to lie, cheat, deceive or defraud; untrustworthiness; lack of integrity, lack of honesty, probity or integrity in principle; lack of fairness and straightforwardness; and disposition to defraud, deceive or betray.18 Given the above parameters, the Court finds the respondent guilty of dishonesty as recommended by OCA. Under Section 52, B(2), Rule IV of the Revised Uniform Rules on Administrative Cases in the Civil Service, dishonesty is punishable by dismissal from the service. Since the respondent had previously been ordered dismissed from the service, suspension is no longer possible. Thus, instead of suspension, the respondent, shall be imposed a fine as alternative penalty. NOTE: Sheriffs play an important role in the administration of justice and high standards are expected of them. Their conduct, at all times, must not only be characterized by propriety and decorum but must, at all times, be above suspicion.15 Part of this stringent requirement is that agents of the

law should refrain from the use of abusive, offensive, scandalous, menacing or otherwise improper language. Judicial employees are expected to accord due respect, not only to their superiors, but also to others and their rights at all times. Their every act and word should be characterized by prudence, restraint, courtesy and dignity.16 The respondents arrogant behavior, telling complainant, "Wala kang magagawa dahil ako ang masusunod. Ako ang sheriff dito, kung kanino ko gustong mapunta ang items, yun ang masusunod, was an evident violation of these rules of conduct for judicial employees. CAROL A. ABADIANO, CLEOFE ABADIANO-BONACHITA, RYAN M. ABADIANO and CHERRY MAE M. ABADIANO, Complainants, vs. GENEROSO B. REGALADO, Sheriff IV, Regional Trial Court, Branch 16, Cebu City, Respondent. A.M. No. P-11-2944 April 27, 2011 (Formerly OCA IPI No. 10-3342-P) DOCTRINES: ( Mere reiteration of previous rulings) 1. Biyaheros Mart Livelihood Association, Inc. v. Cabusao, Jr (A.M. No. P-93-811, June 2, 1994, 232 SCRA 707) a sheriff was suspended for one month without pay for accepting a position in a private entity. It was explained in that case that: The act of the respondent in accepting the position of an administrator/ trustee of a private entity and for continuously holding the same for a considerable period of time, aside from being violative of the aforesaid circulars, can be properly called as moonlighting. While moonlighting is not normally considered as a serious misconduct, nonetheless, by the very nature of the position held by respondent, it obviously amounts to malfeasance in office. Respondent, in engaging in other irrelevant activities, failed to observe and maintain that degree of dedication to the duties and responsibilities required of him as a deputy sheriff. 2. Garcia v. Alejo(Garcia v. Alejo, A.M. No. P-09-2627, January 26, 2011.) A sheriff was suspended for receiving "sheriffs fees" without the courts knowledge and approval, and for moonlighting by collecting rentals for a domestic company. Although moonlighting was merely considered as an aggravating circumstance in that case, the Court pointed out, nonetheless, that it was a malfeasance in office. there is a prohibition for all officials and employees of the judiciary to engage directly in any private business, vocation or profession even outside office hours. Alejo's acts can be considered as moonlighting, which, though not normally considered as a serious misconduct, amounts to malfeasance in office FACTS: The complainants are the legitimate heirs of the late spouses Pablo and Teodora Abadiano. In a decision rendered by the RTC, Branch 13, Cebu City (RTC-Branch 13), they were judicially recognized as entitled to their respective shares in the properties of the deceased. When their late father was hospitalized, medical and hospital expenses were incurred which prompted their brother, Armando Abadiano (Armando), to file a motion before the Court seeking permission to dispose or encumber certain properties of their father for the said expenses. On December 1, 2004, the RTC-Branch 13 granted the motion with a caveat that the proceeds should be used strictly for the purpose of defraying the late Pablo Abadianos medical and hospital expenses.2 Without informing his siblings and without leave from the Court, Armando obtained a loan that exceeded the amount of the subject expenses and offered one of their late fathers properties as security. About eight months into the mortgage, the mortgagee, Alfredo Genosolango (Genosolango), initiated a Petition for Extra-Judicial Foreclosure with RTC-Branch 16. To protect their interests, the complainants filed a complaint for Declaration of Nullity of Loan Agreement, Real Estate Mortgage, Damages, and Attorneys Fees (annulment case) before the RTC Branch 23. On January 25, 2008, while the annulment case was pending, Generoso B. Regalado (Regalado), Sheriff-IV of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 16, Cebu City (RTC- Branch 16), served a Writ of Possession on the complainants and placed Genosolango in actual possession of the mortgaged property previously owned by the late Pablo Abadiano. Complainants immediately filed their Verified Motion/ Petition to Cancel Writ of Possession but the same was eventually denied by the RTC-Branch 16.3 On October 10, 2009, Regalado went to the subject property and prevented the complainants from collecting rentals from its occupants. He then threatened them with estafa if they would insist on collecting rentals. Regalado even arrogantly told the complainants that they already lost the case

and that a motion for reconsideration would surely be denied. When challenged, Regalado openly showed a Special Power of Attorney executed by Genosolango authorizing him to do so. In his Comment, Regalado denied the allegations in the complaint and claimed that all the proceedings in the implementation of the Writ of Possession were in accordance with law. He was merely performing his duty when he installed the new owner of the subject property. He denied using the Special Power of Attorney which he called a "stray paper," since it was Genosolangos lawyer who received the rentals on behalf of his client. He claimed that he was simply misquoted when he informed the complainants that Genosolangos lawyer might file a case for estafa if they would continue to collect the rentals.5 RELEVANT ISSUE: Regalado is guilty of misconduct in the discharge of his official functions RULING: YES Time and again, this Court has pointed out the burden and responsibility that bound every officer and staff of the Judiciary by reason of their exalted positions as keepers of the publics faith in the courts. They should, therefore, avoid any impression of impropriety, misdeed or negligence in the performance of their official functions. Indeed, those who work in the judiciary must adhere to high ethical standards to preserve the courts' good name and standing. They should be examples of integrity, competence and efficiency, and they must discharge their duties with due care and utmost diligence for they are officers of the court and agents of the law. Any conduct, act or omission on the part of those who would violate the norm of public accountability and diminish or even just tend to diminish the faith of the people in the judiciary shall not be countenanced.8 Sheriffs, in particular, being officers of the court and agents of the law, are exacted to use prudence, due care, and diligence in the discharge of their official duties. Where rights of individuals are jeopardized by their actions, sheriffs may be properly fined, suspended, or dismissed from office by virtue of this Court's administrative supervision over the judicial branch of the government.9 In the present case, Regalados moonlighting activity is inescapably linked to his work as a sheriff. It is connected or somehow related to the performance of his official functions and duties as a sheriff.15 He was, after all, in charge of implementing the writ of possession over the property contested by the Abadianos and Genosolango. Yet, a special power of attorney was also issued in his favor to act for and on behalf of Genosolango. Undoubtedly, there is a conflict of interest. Given its complicities, this moonlighting activity of Regalado definitely constitutes an act of impropriety. ATTY. JOSE VICENTE D. FERNANDEZ, Complainant, vs. JUDGE ANGELES S. VASQUEZ, Respondent. A.M. No. RTJ-11-2261 July 26, 2011 (Formerly oca ipi No. 10-3386- RTJ) DOCTRINE/S: 1. Under Section 15(1)17 of Article VIII of the 1987 Constitution and Canon 3, Rule 3.0518 of the Code of Judicial Conduct, judges are mandated to dispose of their cases promptly and decide them within the prescribed periods.19 The failure of a judge to decide a case seasonably constitutes gross inefficiency.20 It violates the norms of judicial conduct and is subject to administrative sanction 2. As visible representation of the law, respondent judge should have conducted himself in a manner which would merit the respect of the people to him in particular and to the Judiciary in general. He should have acted with honesty in accomplishing his PDS, instead of deliberately misleading the JBC in his bid to be considered and eventually appointed to his present position. Such lack of candor has blemished the image of the judiciary. FACTS: Atty. Jose Vicente D. Fernandez filed a motion for inhibition against Judge Angeles S. Vasquez, Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 13, Ligao City in Civil Case No. 2352 on the ground his blood relationship with respondent judge. Complainant is closely related by blood with respondent judge since his late paternal grandmother is also a Vasquez, from the Vasquez clan to which respondent belongs. No action was taken by respondent judge on the Motion. It was only after a year, when Atty. Fernandez filed aSupplemental Motion for Inhibition,3 on the ground of manifest bias, partiality and inexcusable delay in the proceedings. According to complainant, the Supplemental Motion for Inhibition was triggered by the apparent bias of respondent judge for the Spouses Raola. This partiality was allegedly manifested in the following instances: (1) respondents undue insistence that complainants client unconditionally agree to his proposed compromise agreement which is downright unfavorable to them; (2) concluding the pre-trial proceedings more than a year after it was started; (3) ordering complainants client to pay docket

fees beyond that prescribed by the Rules; and (4) requiring the payment of a P5,000.00 witness fee before a hostile witness could be compelled to take the witness stand. Another matter that complainant emphasized in his complaint was the dishonesty allegedly committed by respondent when he accomplished his Personal Data Sheet (PDS) for the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC). Complainant alleged that when respondent filed his application to the Judiciary in 2005, he placed an "x" in the box indicating a "No" answer to the question: "Have you been charged with or convicted of or otherwise imposed a sanction of any law, decree, ordinance or regulation by any court, tribunal, or any other government office, agency or instrumentality in the Philippines or any foreign country, or found guilty of an administrative offense or imposed any administrative sanction? (Question No. 24), and Have you ever been retired, dismissed or forced to resign from employment? (Question No. 25)." Complainant submitted that respondent lied by answering "No" to these questions since he had been criminally charged for indirect bribery in the early 1970s. He alleged that this fact is evidenced by the record in Criminal Case No. 7911, filed on 11 December 1974, before the City Court of Legazpi, indicting respondent for Indirect Bribery. With regard to Question No. 25, respondent allegedly likewise lied because he tendered his resignation from his position as clerk of court to evade the administrative case that may arise from the indirect bribery incident. Respondent prayed that the administrative complaint filed against him be dismissed. He clarified that the in-chamber conferences held in Civil Case No. 2352 resulted in the amicable settlement of the case based on the stipulation of the parties. He denied that he favored the causes of the Spouses Raola. He explained that while he was then a prosecutor in Ligao, he had to handle all criminal cases within his assigned jurisdiction. Unavoidably, he had to pass upon cases filed and prosecuted by the Raolas. Respondent maintained that the fact that the Spouses Raola cases were filed in his sala, does not necessarily mean that he is biased in their favor. On the issue of dishonesty, respondent averred that in answering Questions 24 and 25, there was no attempt on his part to falsify or perjure his PDS. He alleged that the dictatorship then wanted to silence everyone, more so, the young professionals of government bureaus and offices.9 He emphasized that he was never caught in flagrante delicto and since the evidence were merely set up by the military, he was acquitted from the case.He alleged that in his resolute attempt to forever bury the scandal from his memory, he was so successful that he has absolutely forgotten the matter, only to be revived after a lapse of 36 years, with the filing of the instant administrative case. He was sort of enveloped by amnesia as far as the incident was concerned, so much so that in answering Question No. 24 in his PDS, he automatically and without a blink of an eye, checked the word "No."12 Relevant Issue: Whether or not respondent judge is guilty of respondents gross inefficiency for his failure to resolve the motion for his inhibition within the 90-day reglementary period, and dishonesty Ruling: YES On Respondents Gross Inefficiency In the orderly administration of justice, judges are required to act with dispatch in resolving motions filed in their court. The parties have the right to be properly informed of the outcome of the motions they have filed and the Constitutional right to a speedy disposition of their case. Taking into account the circumstances in this case, we find no reason for respondent judges delayed action. Delay in resolving motions and incidents pending before a judges sala within the reglementary period fixed by the Constitution and the law is not excusable and cannot be condoned. Under Section 15(1)17 of Article VIII of the 1987 Constitution and Canon 3, Rule 3.0518 of the Code of Judicial Conduct, judges are mandated to dispose of their cases promptly and decide them within the prescribed periods.19 The failure of a judge to decide a case seasonably constitutes gross inefficiency.20 It violates the norms of judicial conduct and is subject to administrative sanction. In the case at bar, respondent resolved the pending incident only after more than a year from the date the motion was filed. It bears stressing that the incident does not even involve a complex issue, it being a mere motion for inhibition. On a positive note, an examination of the records with the Legal Office of the OCA would show that this is the first time that he has been administratively charged. Under the foregoing circumstances, for gross inefficiency, we find the imposition of fine in the amount of Ten Thousand (P10,000.00) Pesos reasonable. On Respondents Dishonesty It is, therefore, beyond question that respondent had been formally charged. Clearly, he failed to disclose the information when he answered "No" to Question No. 24 of the PDS, which he filed with the JBC in 2005. That respondent is guilty of dishonesty in accomplishing his PDS is impossible to refute. It was not mere inadvertence on his part when he answered "No" to that very simple question posed in the PDS. He knew exactly what the question called for and what it meant, and that he was committing an act of dishonesty but proceeded to do it anyway.29

Respondent, a judge, knows (or should have known) fully well the consequences of making a false statement in his PDS. Being a former public prosecutor and a judge now, it is his duty to ensure that all the laws and rules of the land are followed to the letter. His being a judge makes the act all the more unacceptable. Clearly, there was an obvious lack of integrity, the most fundamental qualification of a member of the judiciary.30 As visible representation of the law, respondent judge should have conducted himself in a manner which would merit the respect of the people to him in particular and to the Judiciary in general. He should have acted with honesty in accomplishing his PDS, instead of deliberately misleading the JBC in his bid to be considered and eventually appointed to his present position. Such lack of candor has blemished the image of the judiciary. His contention that the indirect bribery case had been dismissed is immaterial, he was duty bound to disclose such information when he was applying for judicial position. Had it not been for this administrative complaint, such matter would have escaped the attention of this Court. Dishonesty, being in the nature of a grave offense, carries the extreme penalty of dismissal from the service with forfeiture of retirement benefits except accrued leave credits, and perpetual disqualification from reemployment in the government service.31 while we note that respondent is covered by the exacting standards of judicial conduct even while he was still applying for a judicial position, we cannot ignore respondents heretofore unblemished judicial service and the fact that this is his first offense.