Wednesday, February 22, 2012

COA-Region 06 vs. Pamposa [A.M. No. P-07-2291, June 25, 2007]

Facts: The examination conducted revealed that there were irregularities committed by Mr. Renan Villanueva Pamposa, Clerk of Court II, in the handling of funds of the said court. He was found short in his cash accountabilities amounting to P1,044,312.62 . Demand letters were sent to Pamposa by registered mail but were returned because the addressee cannot be located and his relatives refused to receive the same. 

Issue: Whether the act of the respondent constitute grave misconduct that warrants dismissal from service

Held: Yes. The failure of respondent to restitute the total shortage constitutes gross dishonesty, grave misconduct and malversation of public funds for which dismissal from the service with forfeiture of retirement privileges and with prejudice to reappointment are clearly appropriate. The Court condemns any conduct, act or omission which violates the norms of public accountability or diminishes the faith of the people in the judiciary. 

A clerk of court, such as respondent, performs very delicate functions. He/she acts as a cashier and disbursement officer of the court. He/she collects and receives all monies paid as legal fees, deposits, fines, and dues; controls the disbursement of funds appropriated by the provincial and city governments as aid to the court; and disburses funds quarterly allocated by the Supreme Court to the branches upon the direction and approval of the Executive Judge. 

As custodian of court funds and revenues, Clerks of Court have always been reminded of their duty to immediately deposit the various funds received by them to the authorized government depositories for they are not supposed to keep funds in their custody. Any loss, shortage, or impairment of said funds renders the Clerk of Court liable thereto. 

Under Section 54, Rule IV of the Uniform Rules on Administrative Cases in the Civil Service, dishonesty and grave misconduct are classified as grave offenses punishable by dismissal even if committed for the first time. 

Although respondent has been dropped from the rolls by Resolution of this Court for having been absent without official leave, it does not mean that the dismissal of the administrative complaint is warranted. The Court still retains the authority to resolve the instant administrative case as the complaint was filed long before respondent was dropped from the rolls. 

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