Case Digest: Absin v. Montalla

A.M. No. P-10-2829 : June 21, 2011

JUDGE EDILBERTO G. ABSIN, Complainant, v. EDGARDO A. MONTALLA, Stenographer, Regional Trial Court, Branch 29, San Miguel,Zamboanga Del Sur, Respondent.



Complainant Judge filed an administrative complaint against the respondent on the ground of neglect of dutyin failing to submit the required transcripts of stenographic notes (TSNs) despite repeated reminders from the court Montalla, on the other hand, claimed he was prevented from performing his tasks due to poor health.

The OCA found him guilty of gross neglect of duty but for humanitarian purposes, the OCA recommended the imposition of a lesser penalty.

On 9 February 2011, the Court issued a Resolution ordering Montallato manifest whether he has submitted the required TSNs. However, Montalla still has not submitted the required TSNs which were taken sometime in 2004, 2005, and 2006.


Whether or not Montalla was guilty of gross neglect of duty?


The respondent is guilty of gross neglect of duty.

POLITICAL LAW: gross neglect of duty

Montalla should be reminded that it is the duty of the court stenographer who has attended a session of a court to immediately deliver to the clerk of court all the notes he has taken, the same to be attached to the record of the case. Precisely, Administrative Circular No. 24-90 required all stenographers to transcribe all stenographic notes and to attach the TSNs to the record of the case not later than 20 days from the time the notes are taken. The attaching may be done by putting all TSNs in a separate folder or envelope, which will then be joined to the record of the case. The circular also provided that the stenographer concerned shall accomplish a verified monthly certification as to compliance with this duty and in the absence of such certification or for failure and/or refusal to submit it, his salary shall be withheld.

The Court has ruled, in a number of cases,that the failure to submit the TSNs within the period prescribed under Administrative Circular No. 24-90 constitutes gross neglect of duty. Gross neglect of duty is classified as a grave offense and punishable by dismissal even if for the first offense pursuant to Section 52(A) (2) of Rule IV of the Uniform Rules on Administrative Cases in the Civil Service.

In the present case,Montalla also failed to submit the required TSNs despite the warnings and the chances given to him to submit the same. The TSNs were taken in 2004, 2005, and 2006 and he was required to submit the same in 2009, 2010 and just recently, in February 2011. His utter disregard of the court directives and the reminders from his superiors and his lapses in the performance of his duty as a court stenographer caused delay in the speedy disposition of the case. This is no longer simple neglect of duty.Montalla, in repeatedly failing to submit the required TSNs for several years now, no longer deserves the compassion and understanding of the Court.

As a stenographer,Montalla should realize that the performance of his duty is essential to the prompt and proper administration of justice, and his inaction hampers the administration of justice and erodes public faith in the judiciary. The Court has expressed its dismay over the negligence and indifference of persons involved in the administration of justice.No less than the Constitution mandates that public officers must serve the people with utmost respect and responsibility. Public office is a public trust, andMontallahas without a doubt violated this trust by his failure to fulfill his duty as a court stenographer.

The respondent is dismissed from the service.