SC fires Tuguegarao City interpreter for willful refusal to pay debt, falsification, dishonesty, grave misconduct, etc.

The Supreme Court finds respondent guilty of dishonesty and grave misconduct and hereby dismisses her from the service.

As a public servant, respondent is expected to exhibit at all times the highest sense of honesty and integrity and faithfully adhere to, hold inviolate, and invigorate the principle that public office is a public trust. By soliciting money from complainant, she committed an act of impropriety which immeasurably affects the honor and dignity of the judiciary and the people's confidence in it. She committed the ultimate betrayal of the duty to uphold the dignity and authority of the judiciary by arrogating to herself judicial power which she does not possess, in order to extort money from a party-litigant. Her act of forging the presiding judge's signature also constitutes a blatant disregard for the values of integrity, uprightness and honesty which are expected of all court personnel.
The Supreme Court has never wavered in exhorting all those in the judiciary to behave at all times to promote public confidence in the integrity of the judiciary. At every opportunity, the Supreme Court has emphasized that the conduct and behavior of all officials and employees of the judiciary must at all times be characterized by strict propriety and decorum in order to earn and maintain the respect of the people.

As the Supreme Court deplored in many cases, what brings the judiciary into disrepute are often the actuations of a few erring court personnel peddling influence to party-litigants, creating the impression that decisions can be bought and sold, ultimately resulting in the disillusionment of the public. Thus, whenever warranted by the gravity of the offense, the supreme penalty of dismissal in an administrative case is meted to erring personnel. Indeed, the Supreme Court will never countenance such conduct, act or omission on the part of all those in the judiciary as would violate the norm of public accountability and diminish or even just tend to diminish the faith of the people in the Judiciary. The Supreme Court has been resolute in its drive to discipline and, if warranted, to remove from the service errant magistrates, employees and even Justices of higher collegiate appellate courts for any infraction that tends to give the Judiciary a bad name. The Supreme Court has been unflinching in imposing discipline on errant personnel or in purging the ranks of those undeserving to remain in the service, such as in this case. (A.M. No. P-07-2397; December 4, 2007)

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