Add TAGS to your cases to easily locate them or to build your SYLLABUS.
Please SIGN IN to use this feature.
https://lawyerly.ph/juris/view/cbe81?user=fbGU2WFpmaitMVEVGZ2lBVW5xZ2RVdz09
[INITIAL REPORT ON FINANCIAL AUDIT CONDUCTED AT OFFICE OF CLERK OF COURT](https://lawyerly.ph/juris/view/cbe81?user=fbGU2WFpmaitMVEVGZ2lBVW5xZ2RVdz09)
{case:cbe81}
Highlight text as FACTS, ISSUES, RULING, PRINCIPLES to generate case DIGESTS and REVIEWERS.
Please LOGIN use this feature.
Show opinions
Show printable version with highlights
597 Phil. 195

EN BANC

[ A.M. No. MTJ-06-1620 [Formerly A.M. No. 05-11-338-MTCC], January 30, 2009 ]

INITIAL REPORT ON THE FINANCIAL AUDIT CONDUCTED AT THE OFFICE OF THE CLERK OF COURT (OCC), MUNICIPAL TRIAL COURT IN CITIES (MTCC), LUCENA CITY.

D E C I S I O N

PER CURIAM:

The Financial Audit Team of the Office of the Court Administrator (OCA) conducted a financial audit at the Office of the Clerk of Court (OCC), Municipal Trial Court in Cities (MTCC), Lucena City on March 11 up to 18, 2005. The audit covered the accountability period from 1985 up to February 28, 2005 of Gil B. Reynoso (respondent), Clerk of Court IV, OCC, MTCC, Lucena City.
  1. The report of the team be docketed as a regular administrative complaint against Mr. Gil B. Reynoso.
  2. Clerk of Court Gil B. Reynoso be DIRECTED to:

    1. SUBMIT the following missing documents:

      a.1. Missing Official Receipts
Fiduciary Fund
General Fund
Judiciary Development Fund
3940651-3940700
10448051 - 10448100
1391001 - 1391050
4357701 - 4357750
10448301 - 10448350
1391101 - 1391150
4357501 - 4357550
10448351 - 10448400
1391151 - 1391200
5264001 - 5264050
10449251 - 10449300
1391201 - 1391250
52641551 - 5264200
10449351 - 10449400
13912551 - 1391300
6255051 - 6255100
10449551 - 10449600
1391351 - 1391400
6255251 - 6255300
10449851 - 10449900
1391401 - 1391450
6255201 - 6255250
11673301 - 11673350
3940651 - 3940700
6255101 - 6255150
11673401 - 11673450
10448151 - 10448200
6255951 - 6256000
11673551 - 11673600
10448251 - 10448300
7512051 - 7512100
11673651 - 11673700
10448401 - 10448450
7512151 - 7512200
11673801 - 11673850
10448651 - 10448700
7513501 - 7513550
11673313 - 11673350
10448801 - 10448850
7513251 - 7513300
10448451 - 10448500
10448851 - 10448900
7513301 - 7513350
10448951 - 10449000
10448901 - 10448950
7513101 - 7513150
10449001 - 10449050
10449051 - 10449100
7512701 - 7512750
11674001 - 11674050
10449101 - 10449150
7513651 - 7513700
11674101 - 11674150
10449301 - 10449350
16312774 - 16312775
11674251 - 11674300
10449401 - 10449450
9392001 - 9392050
11674501 - 11674550
10449451 - 10449500
9392551 - 9392600
11674601 - 11674650
10449651 - 10449700
9392351 - 9392400
11674801 - 11674850
10449801 - 10449850
9392651 - 9392700
13865301 - 13865350
10449901 - 10449950
10449951 - 10450000
13866751 - 13866800
11673001 - 11673050
10449601 - 10449650
13866801 - 13866850
11673051 - 11673100
10449201 - 10449250
13866760
11673101 - 11673150
10448001 - 10448050

11673351 - 11673400
10448751 - 10448800

11673451 - 11673500
10448101 - 10448150

11673601 - 11673650
10448201 - 10448250

11673751 - 11673800
10448501 - 10448550

11673851 - 11673900
11673251 - 11673300

11673901 - 11673950
11673501 - 11673550

11674151 - 11674200
11674051 - 11674100

11674201 - 11674250
11674401 - 11674450

11674351 - 11674400
11673951 - 11674000

11674451 - 11674500
11673701 - 11673750

11674551 - 11674600
9392027

1674651 - 11674700
9392677

11674701 - 11674750
10449208

11674751 - 11674800
16312791

11674851 - 11674900
20174765

13865251 - 13865300


13865751 - 13865800


13865801 - 13865850


13865851 - 13865900


13865901 - 13865950


13865951 - 13866000


13866001 - 13866050


13866051 - 13866100


And ORs from September 1985 - December 1990

a.2. Unaccounted Official Receipts

7841501 - 7841550 0165901 - 0165950
7841551 - 7841600 0165951 - 0166000
7841601 - 7841650 1391051 - 1391100
7841651 - 7841700 2550501 - 2550550
7841701 - 7841750 2550551 - 2550600
7841751 - 7841800
2550601 - 2550650
7841801 - 7841850
2550651 - 2550700
7841851 - 7841900
2550701 - 2550750
7841901 - 7841950
2550751 - 2550800
7841951 - 7842000
2550801 - 2550850
8076001 - 8076050
2550851 - 2550900
8076051 - 8076100
2550901 - 2550950
8076101 - 8076150
2550951 - 2551000
8076151 - 8076200
0165551 - 0165600
8076201 - 8076250
0165601 - 0165650
8076251 - 8076300
0165651 - 0165700
8076301 - 8076350
0165701 - 0165750
8076351 - 8076400
0165751 - 0165800
8076401 - 8076450
0165801 - 0165850
8076451 - 8076500
0165851 - 0165900
0165501 - 0165550
3284301

a.3. Original copy of cancelled official receipts

Date
OR Number
Jan-92
1850169
Aug-96
6255225
Aug-96
6255226
Sep-98
9392373
Jan-99
10449978
Jan-99
10449811
Jan-99
10449919
Apr-99
10449237
Apr-99
10449238
Jun-99
10448804
Jul-99
10448777
Jul-99
10448780
Nov-99
10448527
Dec-99
11673237
Jun-00
11674731
Jun-00
11674661 - 662
Jul-00
11674476 - 477
Oct-00
11673980
Oct-00
11673981

a.4. Passbook of LBP Savings Account No. 0211-0489-56 for the period from March 25, 1996 to July 19, 1996

a.5. Supporting documents of Fiduciary Fund withdrawals (Annex 1)[1]

b. SECURE confirmation from the Land Bank of the Philippines as to the validity of the following unvalidated deposits:

b.1. For Judiciary Development Fund

Date
Amount
Savings Account No.
09/11/96
P 1,986.00
LBP SA # 059-01163 -1
10/02/96
2,133.00
LBP SA # 059-01163 -1
11/06/96
1,741.00
LBP SA # 059-01163 -1
12/06/96
4,020.00
LBP SA # 059-01163 -1
01/09/97
1,978.00
LBP SA # 059-01163 -1
02/06/97
3,690.00
LBP SA # 059-01163 -1
03/10/97
2,016.00
LBP SA # 059-01163 -1
04/10/35
1,634.00
LBP SA # 059-01163 -1
05/07/97
2,609.00
LBP SA # 059-01163 -1
06/17/97
1,052.00
LBP SA # 0591-0116-34
07/09/97
1,096.00
LBP SA # 0591-0116-34
08/26/97
3,062.00
LBP SA # 0591-0116-34
10/14/97
2,752.00
LBP SA # 0591-0116-34
11/07/97
2,092.00
LBP SA # 0591-0116-34
02/02/98
18,848.00
LBP SA # 0591-0116-34
03/03/98
18,834.00
LBP SA # 0591-0116-34
03/26/98
15,466.00
LBP SA # 0591-0116-34
04/20/98
22,070.00
LBP SA # 0591-0116-34
05/05/98
18,000.00
LBP SA # 0591-0116-34
05/06/98
2,842.00
LBP SA # 0591-0116-34
06/28/98
8,091.00
LBP SA # 0591-0116-34
09/05/98
19,814.00
LBP SA # 0591-0116-34
10/08/98
26,444.00
LBP SA # 0591-0116-34
11/23/98
12,964.00
LBP SA # 0591-0116-34
07/09/99
18,848.00
LBP SA # 0591-0116-34
10/29/99
11,347.00
LBP SA # 0591-0116-34
09/07/00
29,371.00
LBP SA # 0591-0116-34
03/14/02
5,422.00
LBP SA # 0591-0116-34
04/04/02
12,852.00
LBP SA # 0591-0116-34
11/03/04
9,586.80
LBP SA # 0591-0116-34
TOTAL
P 282,660.80


b.2. For General Fund

Date
Amount
Savings Account No.
09/09/96
P 482.00
0011-0001-77
10/07/96
852.00
0011-0001-77
11/06/96
1,050.00
0011-0001-77
12/06/96
2,080.00
0211-0489-56
02/07/97
1,258.00
0011-0001-77
02/12/97
1,000.00
0011-0001-77
03/10/97
499.00
0011-0001-77
04/10/97
1,336.00
0012-2223-35
07/09/97
1,644.00
0012-2223-35
09/16/97
3,686.00
0012-2223-35
10/14/97
2,058.00
0012-2223-35
11/07/97
6,088.00
0012-2223-35
01/21/98
11,502.00
0012-2223-35
04/01/98
10,414.00
0012-2223-35
04/21/98
14,049.00
0012-2223-35
05/18/98
11,924.00
0012-2223-35
08/12/98
10,104.00
0012-2223-35
09/03/98
8,706.00
0012-2223-35
10/13/98
13,194.00
0012-2223-35
03/04/99
15,308.00
0012-2223-35
05/04/99
10,860.00
0012-2223-35
06/07/99
9,180.00
0012-2223-35
07/06/99
11,886.00
0012-2223-35
09/02/99
7,284.00
0012-2223-35
11/03/99
4,430.00
0012-2223-35
12/05/99
6,460.00
0012-2223-35
01/21/00
12,532.00
0012-2223-35
02/17/00
10,307.00
0012-2223-35
05/03/00
902.12
0012-2223-35
07/05/00
2,290.00
0012-2223-35
11/15/00
2,679.00
0012-2223-35
12/16/00
5,224.00
0012-2223-35
01/18/01
5,224.00
0012-2223-35
05/10/01
1,974.00
0012-2223-35
09/04/01
3,136.00
0012-2223-35
10/08/01
4,134.00
0012-2223-19
02/08/02
2,438.00
0012-2223-35
03/13/02
2,380.00
0012-2223-35
04/11/02
3,434.00
0012-2223-35
05/08/02
2,973.00
0012-2223-35
07/11/02
2,414.00
0012-2223-35
08/16/02
6,844.00
0012-2223-35
09/12/02
8,948.00
0012-2223-35
11/11/02
5,616.00
0012-2223-35
01/10/03
1,990.00
0012-2223-35
02/04/03
4,586.00
0012-2223-35
03/07/03
4,830.00
0012-2223-35
04/03/03
6,763.50
0012-2223-35
06/04/03
604.00
0012-2223-35
09/03/03
2,226.00
0012-2223-35
Total
P 271,782.62


c. EXPLAIN in writing within 10 days from notice the following:

c.1. Unreported collection in the Monthly Reports:

Date of Collection
OR Number
Amount
JDF
May-97
7512118
P 48.00
JDF
Nov-97
7512322
200.00
JDF
Nov-97
7512323
48.00
JDF
Jan-98
7513200
60.00
JDF
Aug-98
9392136
110.00
JDF
Aug-98
9392137
600.00
JDF
May-96
6255642
10.00
GF
May-96
6255651
100.00
GF
May-96
6255652
2.00
GF
Jul-96
6255693
2.00
GF
Jul-96
6255694
2.00
GF
Feb-97
7512001-7512005
250.00
GF
Dec-97
7512298-7512300
130.00
GF
May-98
7513807
180.00
GF
Jan-00
11673241
2.00
GF
Jan-00
11673242
2.00
GF
Sep-01
13867071
10.00
GF
Total

P1,756.00


c.2. Erroneous reporting of collections in the Monthly Reports:

Date
OR Number
Amount per OR
Amount per MR
Under(Over)
Fund
Oct-91
1850408
P 150.00
P 160.00
P (10.00)
JDF
Oct-91
1850417
130.00
140.00
(10.00)
JDF
Oct-91
1850474
150.00
160.00
(10.00)
JDF
Jan-92
1850191
150.00
50.00
100.00
JDF
May-92
2297523
10.00
50.00
(40.00)
JDF
Sep-92
2297768
150.00
130.00
20.00
JDF
Oct-92
2297846
150.00
130.00
20.00
JDF
Oct-92
2297847

100.00

50.00
50.00
JDF
Oct-92
2297892
150.00
130.00
20.00
JDF
Jan-93
2940516
100.00
50.00
50.00
JDF
Jan-93
2940551
1,320.00
1,420.00
(100.00)
JDF
Apr-93
2940703
170.00
180.00
(10.00)
JDF
May-93
2940777
130.00
140.00
(10.00)
JDF
Jun-93
2940832
150.00
130.00
20.00
JDF
Mar-94
3284188
150.00
50.00
100.00
JDF
Jun-94
3940628
170.00
120.00
50.00
JDF
Jul-94
3940753
150.00
130.00
20.00
JDF
Jul-94
3940769
150.00
170.00
(20.00)
JDF
Aug-94
3940781
150.00
170.00
(20.00)
JDF
May-95
4357461
150.00
170.00
(20.00)
JDF
May-95
4357462
150.00
200.00
(20.00)
JDF
May-95
4357463
150.00
120.00
(20.00)
JDF
Jul-95
5264104
2.00
200.00
(198.00)
JDF
Dec-96
6255516
130.00
120.00
10.00
JDF
Feb-97
6255486
110.00
140.00
(30.00)
JDF
Mar-97
6255496
2.00
48.00
(46.00)
JDF
Apr-97
7512103
365.00
350.00
15.00
JDF
Apr-97
7512114
110.00
350.00
(240.00)
JDF
Apr-97
7512115
350.00
10.00
240.00
JDF
Apr-97
7512116
110.00
350.00
(240.00)
JDF
Apr-97
7512117
350.00
48.00
302.00
JDF
Jun-97
7512131
140.00
130.00
10.00
JDF
Jun-97
7512132
140.00
130.00
10.00
JDF
Jan-98
7513196
50.00
48.00
2.00
JDF
Feb-98
7512663
350.00
300.00
50.00
JDF
Mar-98
7512666
900.00
550.00
350.00
JDF
Mar-98
7513904
120.00
130.00
(10.00)
JDF
Apr-98
7512509
130.00
120.00
10.00
JDF
Apr-98
7512544
140.00
110.00
30.00
JDF
Apr-98
7512531
550.00
500.00
50.00
JDF
May-98
7512609
1,800.00
600.00
1,200.00
JDF
May-98
7512632
420.00
130.00
290.00
JDF
Nov-98
9392721
350.00
110.00
240.00
JDF
Nov-98
9392722
110.00
350.00
(240.00)
JDF
Nov-98
9392724
110.00
350.00
(240.00)
JDF
Dec-99
11673219
960.00
360.00
600.00
JDF
Jun-01
13866149
150.00
210.00
(60.00)
JDF
Feb-03
16311793
900.00
960.00
(60.00)
JDF
Jul-04
20173384
120.00
60.00
60.00
JDF
Mar-98
7513616
300.00
100.00
200.00
GF
Nov-98
93927501
60.00
100.00
(40.00)
GF
Nov-98
9392752
60.00
100.00
(40.00)
GF
Nov-98
9392753
100.00
60.00
40.00
GF
Nov-98
9392882
60.00
10.00
50.00
GF
Nov-98
9392796
300.00
100.00
200.00
GF
Feb-03
16312393
300.00
360.00
(60.00)
GF
Jul-04
20174092
60.00
120.00
(60.00)
SAJF
Jan-05
20175010
500.00
250.00
250.00
SAJF
Total

14,939.00
P 12,134.00
P 2,805.00


c.3. Official Receipts reported as "CANCELLED" in the Monthly Reports but the original copy of the official receipts were not marked "CANCELLED":

Date of Collection
OR Number
Amount
FUND
Jun-98
9392072
P 350.00
JDF
Mar-98
7513918
1,500.00
JDF
Dec-99
11673234
60.00
JDF
Aug-01
13866308
210.00
JDF
Sept-01
13866376
210.00
JDF
Sep-03
16312621
300.00
JDF
Feb-04
16312915
300.00
JDF
Oct-04
20173526
300.00
JDF
Oct-04
20173552
300.00
JDF
Dec-04
20173677
300.00
JDF
Dec-99
11673197
60.00
GF
Feb-04
16313034
100.00
SAJF
Total

P 3,990.00


3. A Hold Departure Order be ISSUED against Clerk of Court Gil B. Reynoso to prevent him from leaving the country.[2] (Emphasis in the original)
By Resolution of January 18, 2006,[3] this Court adopted the recommendations of the OCA including the issuance of a Hold Departure Order[4] against respondent.[5]

Acting on respondent's Answer[6] which was prepared and signed in California, USA, this Court, on the recommendation of the OCA, required respondent anew to submit the missing documents enumerated in the Resolution of January 18, 2006, except those official receipts which were submitted to the Commission on Audit (COA).[7]

Respondent submitted his Manifestation and Compliance dated March 13, 2006,[8] explaining at length as follows:
That these receipts have been lost or have been unaccounted for in the many years passed, and during his appointment as the OIC-CLERK OF COURT OF THE CITY COURT, after the former Clerk of Court, RICARDO QUERUBIN, took his leave of absence due to health reasons, there was really no formal turnover of the office nor of the used and unused receipts to the undersigned, and he has to make his way through the administration and operation of the office without the usual and formal turnover and accounting of materials and accountabilities usually attendant to the process because of the peculiar situation of the then Clerk of Court.

That the Office of the Clerk of Court at that time really did not reflect its importance to the administration of the Courts by its physical situation and was truly without any means to adequately protect and/or keep its necessities and documents because at the time that he was appointed OIC of the said Office, it was merely accommodated by the local government of Lucena City in the City Hall in a small space between Branch I and Branch II of the City Court.

That its office space approximately measured a mere 1.5 m. x 3.5 m., and considering it has to accommodate and house seven (7) employees of the Office of the Clerk of Court, seven (7) tables and their accessories, typewriters, and two (2) steel cabinets, which were already filled to the brim, there was no effective way to really safekeep some of the documents of the said office.

x x x x

That unfortunately, when he was appointed as its OIC of the said office and eventually as the Clerk of Court of the City Court, he was not able to change much of the situation not because of choice but because of the lack of facility and/or a larger area to place the various documents and receipts of the Office of the Clerk of Court.

That in the same circumstance, the record books, docket books, and other books of the office all suffered the same fate because of their numbers and size, and all has to be left in the open.

x x x x

That also, since there was no issue or matter ever raised on the booklets of receipts now required by the Honorable Supreme Court for the undersigned to produce, he has to admit that he had already lost track of the said booklets and has never minded to anymore take importance of the said booklets as the past audits made never required him to account for the same, thus, he truly was of the belief that all was in order and settled.

That not knowing there was any problem or any matter to be settled or accounted for, and in utmost good faith, he never made any effort to correct the usual and regular process by which the funds of his office are reported to the Honorable Supreme Court.

That with all truth and candor, though truly unfortunate, he cannot anymore account the consequent fate of the documents/Official Receipt Booklets identified in the Resolution of the Court dated January 18, 2006, not only because of the situation described above but also because of the lapse or length of time from which to retrace the whereabouts of these booklets of Official Receipts.

That though the undersigned failed to safekeep the said booklets/documents, he can sincerely say that he has never touched or misappropriated any money under his safekeeping though he might have misposted or misdivided the funds in the various accounts to which the payments are supposed to be applied.

x x x x

That though the undersigned cannot produce what the Honorable Court requires, these documents can still be traced and verified as the undersigned had been regularly forwarding his monthly report with the Honorable Supreme Court, through the Accounting Division, with the questioned receipts and documents, whose records will reveal that all funds were properly accounted for in so far as to what he actually received during the said period.

x x x x

That again, there may be missing receipts or cancelled receipts which may not have been properly cancelled by the undersigned as found by the Auditor, but he can vouch and say that all the money or funds pertaining to these missing or cancelled receipts are all with the Supreme Court and/or deposited to the Bank and remitted to the Honorable Supreme Court.

That the undersigned, though he is in a situation where he is bereft of documents to show his innocence, the records of his report to the Accounting Division, Honorable Supreme will verily show that all are in the coffers of the most Honorable Court.

That with respect to the others, most of them were lost and/or misplaced during the time when the Municipal Trial Court was renovated in the year 1990, where the files and records of the Office of the Clerk of Court were displaced and brought together with other records of the MTC, Branches I and II because of the very limited space available in the area provided by the City Hall of Lucena City at that time.

That correspondingly, other records and receipt booklets were lost when the Municipal Trial Court, Branch I and II, and the Office of the Clerk of Court transferred its office in 1995, from the City Hall to the new City Hall Annex as there was no secured storage rooms to temporarily hold the documents and the properties of the Office including those of the trial courts.

That with respect to the original copies of the cancelled official receipts enumerated in Item a.3, these receipts together with other receipts are on file in several folders where receipts for withdrawn bonds were also safekept. All of the duplicate copies of the Official Receipts issued or used by the Office of the Clerk of Court were religiously reported and transmitted to the Chief Accountant of the Supreme Court in Manila, being part of his Monthly Collection Report, though the undersigned has to admit that the cancelled Official Receipts were not reported in the monthly reports of collections submitted by the undersigned respondent and he really cannot say where they were at the present time.

That with respect to the original receipts for cash bonds paid by the bondsman or accused, these are on file or attached to the case records of the cases where the bond was supposedly filed and most of them are still pending or have been archived by the Trial Courts, both Branches I and II, and with regards to the forfeited bonds or cases which have been archived, the original receipts are not with the undersigned respondent as they are still attached to the case records of the cases for which the payments were made.

x x x x

That with respect to the Land Bank Passbook for Saving Account No. 0211-0489-56, the undersigned cannot truly remember where he could have possibly placed it or whether the same was already lost years ago. However, the deposits made in the said passbook were all reflected from the Monthly Reports submitted by the undersigned respondent during the said period. Again, with utmost apologies, he can only suggest that there are available copies in the Accounting Office of the Supreme Court because he had been transmitting to the said Office the duplicate official receipts and deposit slips made and undertaken in the process.

That though there were deposits that were said to be unvalidated, these deposits were actually made to the Bank. The deposit slips for these transactions were attached and transmitted together with his Monthly Reports to the Honorable Supreme Court, though he has to admit that there were instances that the deposit slips and/or withdrawal slips were not stamped mark by the Bank because there were many occasions when his staff failed to have all the duplicate deposits and/or withdrawals properly stamped by the Bank, but the aggregate deposits were properly reflected in the passbook.

That the withdrawal slips must always be signed ahead by the undersigned respondent before the Executive Judge, who sometimes signs only one copy or sometimes two, and naturally, it was the fully and completely signed withdrawal slips that is brought to the Bank while the incomplete withdrawal slip without the signature of the Executive Judge is the one retained or left in the Office of the Clerk of Court. This situation may have created a wrong impression with the Auditors as it would appear that I am withdrawing funds without the knowledge or signature of the Executive Judge.

x x x x

That records, receipts and other documents may have been misplaced or lost records and receipts but there is definitely no funds taken or misappropriated by the undersigned, though the undersigned respondent cannot present them or account for them, the monthly report will be indicative of the status of the funds and account of the Office of the Clerk of Court during the months for which the reports were made and submitted.

That the undersigned respondent may have been careless or by innocent inadvertence, failed to properly safekept the receipts, deposit slips, withdrawal slips, and other documents, but again, the undersigned respondent attest that the funds are all there and intact if not already received by the most Honorable Supreme Court.

x x x x[9] (Italics and uppercasing in the original; emphasis and underscoring supplied)
Respondent thereupon prayed that the Court direct its auditors to review the Official and Original Records and files which he submitted to the Accounting Division and the Property Division.[10]

The Court Management Office presented respondent's Summary of Accountabilities as of February 28, 2005, with a caveat that the "computed liabilities may change upon submission and examination of the missing documents required [of] him," as follows:
Fiduciary Fund
October 1991 to February 2005
Total Collections


P10,705,078.90

Less: Total Withdrawals


7,043,534.90

Unwithdrawn Fiduciary Fund as of
February 28, 2006


P 3,661,544.00







Less: Adjusted Bank Balance as of February 28, 2005





LBP HYSA No. 211-2580-98
P3,035.237.48




Less: Unwithdrawn
35,237.48
P3,000,000.00




Interest
P 553,901.41




LBP SA No. 0211- 0489-56





Less: Unwithdrawn






Interest
17,207.48

3,536.693.93

Balance of Accountability

536,693.93
P 124,850.07





==========

*Exclusive of withdrawals x x x lacking supporting documents amounting to P1,776,642.90




General Fund
July 1995 to November 2003
Total Collections
P 503,653.02

Less: Total Remittances
498,692.02

Balance of Accountability
P 4,961.00


==========



Special Allowance for the Judiciary Fund
December 2003 to February 2005
Total Collections
227,126.60

Less: Total Remittances
226,836.60

Balance of Accountability
P 290.00


==========



Judiciary Development Fund
April 1985 to February 2005
Total Collections
P2,082.761.37

Less: Total Remittances
2,056,099.65

Balance of Accountability
P 26,661.72


==========




* P18,221.34 arose from the collections and deposits from April 1985 to December 1990 which were solely based on the Subsidiary Ledger of Mr. Reynoso maintained by the Accounting Division, FMO, OCA, because no documents were presented and examined relative to this period.

The above computed accountabilities may change upon submission and examination of the missing documents required [of] him.

x x x x[11] (Emphasis in the original)
By Memorandum dated September 21, 2007, the OCA came up with the following evaluation:
Respondent as Clerk of Court has control and supervision over his personnel, properties and supplies in his office. He must be held accountable for the missing official receipts, unaccounted official receipts, original copies of cancelled official receipts, the passbook of LBP Savings Account No. 0211-0489-56 for the period from March 25, 1996 to July 19, 1996 and Supporting Documents of Fiduciary Fund Withdrawals and shortages. The 2002 Revised Manual for Clerks of Court, citing Circular No. 22-94, April 8, 1994 provides:
"In cases wherein cancellation of official receipts becomes inevitable, the Clerk of Court or duly authorized representative, must present to the Provincial/City/Municipal Auditor the spoiled and cancelled receipt/s for inspection. Under no circumstances shall destruction of accountable forms be allowed."

"Original copies of cancelled official receipts are to be attached to their duplicate and triplicate copies in the booklet for audit of COA and the Fiscal Monitoring Division."

"In cases of loss of official receipts, the Clerk of Court or the duly authorized representative must immediately report to the [P]rovincial/City/Municipal Auditor and then file an application for relief if the circumstances warrant."

Official receipts are accountable forms and an accounting of their use is required at the end of the term of the Clerk of the Clerk of Court/Accountable Officer."

"Official receipts issued must be properly recorded in their respective books of accounts for accounting and control purposes. Official receipts must be kept in safe custody. The Clerk of Court as the person directly responsible for all court collections must take all reasonable steps to minimize the risk of losses, defalcations and other types of irregularities."
Respondent's lengthy ratiocinations such as the missing documents may have been lost during their numerous transfer of office considering the lack of secured storage area for the files; that it may have been commingled with the files from Branch[es] I and II of Municipal Trial Court[,] Lucena and that his attention was never called by the auditors from the Commission on Audit regarding any irregularity in his office will not exonerate him. All of these, taken together just bring to fore the fact that as Clerk of Court, an accountable officer, he miserably failed to live up to his bounden duty. He conveniently forgot that he is an important officer of the judiciary.

x x x x

Thus[,] he must be held liable for the missing official receipts, unaccounted official receipts, original copies of cancelled official receipts, the passbook of LBP Savings Account No. 0211-0489-56 for the period from March 25, 1996 to July 19, 1996 and Supporting Documents of Fiduciary Fund Withdrawals and for the shortage incurred. It is incumbent upon him to ensure that all the files and documents are properly filed. This, he failed to do. His defenses cannot exonerate him. In fact it even underscored the fact that he was unable to meet the demands of his office. His claims of good faith, his forgetfulness and lack of secured storage area for their files during their transfer of office could only indicate his attempt to evade punishment for his neglect of duty.

The records of the Leave Division of this Office show that the respondent has a total of 505.615 leave credits. Its monetary value can be used partially to cover the shortage in the Fiduciary Fund. This Office opted to give priority to this Fund, being in the nature of a Trust Fund, it does not belong to this Court but to the litigants, many of whom are already claiming the return of their cash bail. It is truly embarrassing whenever we deny these claims for the reason that our own employee absconded with the money.[12] (Emphasis and underscoring supplied)
In view of its findings and evaluation, the OCA made the following recommendations:
  1. Clerk of Court Gil B. Reynoso[,] MT[C]C, Luncena City be FOUND GUILTY of gross neglect of duty;

  2. Respondent be DISMISSED from the service with forfeiture of all retirement benefits, excluding accrued leave credits, with prejudice to re-employment in any government office, including government-owned and controlled corporations;

  3. That the Financial Management Office, Office of the Court Administrator be DIRECTED to process the terminal leave benefits of the respondent, dispensing with the documentary requirements, and to remit the said benefit[s] to the Fiduciary Account of [MTCC] Lucena City;

  4. Mr. Reynoso be FOUND GUILTY of contempt of court for failing to return the missing documents despite repeated demands;

  5. Respondent be directed to RESTITUTE the amount of One Million Nine Hundred Thirty Three Thousand Four Hundred Five and sixty-nine (P1,933,405.69), representing the amount of the shortages[;]

  6. Director Nestor M. Mantaring, National Bureau of Investigation be DIRECTED to cause the arrest of Mr. Reynoso and to detain him until he complies with the directives of this Court to restitute the above-mentioned shortages.[13] (Emphasis in the original)
The evaluation cum recommendations of the OCA is well-taken.

Safekeeping of public and trust funds is essential to an orderly administration of justice. No protestation of good faith can override the mandatory nature of the circulars designed to promote full accountability of government funds.[14] The Court has not hesitated to impose the ultimate penalty on those who have fallen short of their accountabilities. Any conduct that would violate the norms of public accountability and diminish, or even merely tend to diminish, the faith of the people in the justice system has never been tolerated or condoned by the Court.[15] This ought to be so, as no less than the 1987 Constitution dictates:
Public office is a public trust. Public officers and employees must at all times be accountable to the people, serve them with utmost responsibility , integrity, loyalty, and efficiency, act with patriotism and justice, and lead modest lives.[16] (Emphasis supplied)
Clerks of court are the chief administrative officers of their respective courts. As such, they are duty-bound to use skill and diligence in the performance of their officially designated functions. [17] In Office of the Court Administrator v. Paredes,[18] this Court spelled out anew the nature of the function of clerks of court:
Clerks of court perform a delicate function as designated custodians of the court's funds, revenues, records, properties and premises. As such, they are generally regarded as treasurer, accountant, guard and physical plant manager thereof. Thus, they are liable for any loss, shortage, destruction or impairment of such funds and property.[19]
By respondent's assumption of the position of clerk of court, it is understood that he was ready and competent to do his job with utmost devotion and efficiency.[20]

Compounding respondent's liability is his continued unexplained failure to comply with the directives to submit the missing documents mentioned above, which clearly speaks of his disregard of the duty of every employee of the Judiciary to obey the orders and processes of this Court without delay.[21]

Respondent's restitution of the shortages he incurred does not free him from the consequences of his wrongdoing and erase his administrative culpability.[22]

For his failure then to live up to the high ethical standards expected of court employees, respondent's dismissal is indeed in order.

WHEREFORE, this Court finds respondent, Gil B. Reynoso, GUILTY of gross neglect of duty. He is ordered DISMISSED from the service with forfeiture of all retirement benefits, excluding accrued leave credits, with prejudice to re-employment in any government office, including government-owned and controlled corporations.

For his failure to return the missing documents despite repeated orders of this Court, he is found GUILTY of contempt of court and is ordered to pay a FINE of Five Thousand (P5,000) Pesos and to submit all the required documents to the OCA within thirty days from receipt of this Decision.

The Financial Management Office, Office of the Court Administrator, is DIRECTED to process the terminal leave benefits of respondent with dispatch and apply the same to his accountabilities, giving priority to the Fiduciary Fund Account of MTCC-Lucena City.

Upon submission of the missing documents by respondent, the Financial Management Office, Office of the Court Administrator, is DIRECTED to compute the remaining accountabilities of respondent, if any, and to submit a report thereon within thirty days from compliance of respondent.

Respondent is ordered to RESTITUTE the difference of One Million Nine Hundred Thirty-Three Thousand Four Hundred Five Pesos and Sixty-Nine Centavos (P1,933,405.69) and whatever amount that will be remitted by the Financial Management Office of the Office of the Court Administrator.

The Office of the Court Administrator is DIRECTED to initiate appropriate criminal proceedings against respondent in light of the above findings of the Court.

SO ORDERED.

Quisumbing, (Acting C.J.), Carpio, Austria-Martinez, Corona, Carpio Morales, Tinga, Chico-Nazario, Nachura, Leonardo-De Castro, Brion, and Peralta, JJ. , concur.
Puno, C.J., Ynares-Santiago, Azcuna, and Velasco, Jr., JJ., on official leave.



[1] The total amount is P1,776,642.90.

[2] Rollo, pp. 1-7.

[3] Id. at 87-94.

[4] Id. at 95-103.

[5] By letter of February 28, 2006, Executive Judge Romeo L. Villanueva informed the Court that respondent left for the United States of America on October 21, 2005 and has not yet returned as of the time of writing of the letter. The January 18, 2006 Resolution of the Court and the Hold Departure Order of even date were received by the eldest daughter of respondent on February 4, 2006.

[6] Rollo, pp. 148-154.

[7] Rollo, p. 186.

[8] Id. at 188-198.

[9] Id. at 189-196.

[10] Id. at 197.

[11] Id. at 202.

[12] Id. at 215-217.

[13] Id. at 217-218.

[14] Re: Financial Audit on the Accountabilities of Mr. Restituto A. Tabucon, Jr., Former Clerk of Court II of the MCTC, Ilog, Candoni, Negros Occidental,A.M. No. 04-8-1-195-MCTC, August 18, 2005, 467 SCRA 246, 250.

[15] Angeles A. Velasco v. Atty. Prospero V. Tablizo, A.M. No. P-05-1999, February 22, 2008, 546 SCRA 403-412; Office of the Court Administrator v. Nacuray, A.M. No. P-03-1739, April 7, 2006, 486 SCRA 532, 541.

[16] Article XI, Section 1.

[17] De la Cruz v. Luna, A.M. No. P-04-1821, August 2, 2007, 529 SCRA 34.

[18] A.M. No. P-06-2103, April 17, 2007, 521 SCRA 365.

[19] Id. at 370.

[20] Edgardo C. Rivera v. Danver A. Buena, Clerk of Court, MeTC, Branch 38, Quezon City, A.M. No. P-07-2394, February 19, 2008, 346 SCRA 222.

[21] Office of the Court Administrator v. Nacuray, supra note 15.

[22] Re: Financial Report on the Audit Conducted in the Municipal Circuit Trial Court, Apalit-San Simon, Pampanga, A.M. No. 08-1-30-MCTC, April 10, 2008.
tags