OCA v. Ramano (A.M. No.P-90-488; January 25, 2011)

FACTS: Complainant Jose dela Riva filed an information against Deputy Sheriff Ramano for violation of Section 3(f) of R.A. No. 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corruption Practices Act for alleged extortion, deliberate delay in serving court processes and refusal to levy with regard to Civil Case 35349. Thereafter, Court Administrator Meynardo Tiro filed the instant administrative case against Ramano.Ramano denied the charges against him and said that the alleged delay of the issuance of the Writ of Execution was due to complainant Dela Riva's refusal to consult with his lawyer as well as his inability to locate and point out properties to be levied upon. He also denied that he demanded 35% of all the recoveries on the levies. The Sandiganbayan decided to convict Ramano for violation of RA 3019. The entry of judgment was issued thereafter. Due to Ramano's failure to appear during the promulgation of judgment the court ordered his arrest but he remains at-large.

ISSUE: Is Ramano is guilty of gross misconduct?

HELD: The Court referred the instant administrative matter to the OCA for evaluation, report and recommendation. The OCA found that Ramano's refusal to implement the Writ of Execution to compel complainant to give him 35% of the proceeds of the levies was a deliberate refusal to perform his duty and a means to obtain some consideration. Thus, considering that in administrative proceedings, only substantial evidence is required, the OCA found Ramano guilty of serious misconduct and recommended his dismissal from service with forfeiture of all benefits, except accrued leave credits.

Sheriffs ought to know that they have a sworn responsibility to serve writs of execution with utmost dispatch. When writs are placed in their hands, it is their ministerial duty to proceed with reasonable celerity and promptness to execute them in accordance with their mandate. Unless restrained by a court order, they should see to it that the execution of judgments is not unduly delayed. Accordingly, they must comply with their mandated ministerial duty as speedily as possible.

In the instant case, it was established that Ramano had been negligent in implementing the subject writ due to complainant DelaRivas refusal to give in to respondent's demand that he be given 35% share of whatever may be collected from the implementation of the writ. Apparently, complainant Dela Riva even provided substantial leads to assist Ramano in pursuing the implementation of the writ, but the latter stubbornly refused to facilitate it. While pointing the blame to complainant Dela Riva's alleged continued and unexplained refusal to consult with his counsel, as well as failure to locate the properties to be levied upon, Ramano himself failed to even make inquiries and verification with the pertinent government offices, such as the Office of Philippine Coast Guard, Land Transportation Office, or the Register of Deeds, which could have been helpful in locating the properties subject to execution. The Court also found no other reason why complainant Dela Riva would institute a criminal action against the accused if he was innocent of the charges. GRANTED.

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