Case Digest: Dela Cruz, et al. v. Sheriff Fajardo

A.M. No. P-12-3064 : June 18, 2012

(Formerly A.M. OCA IPI No. 09-3180-P)

RICARDO O. DELA CRUZ, EDGARDO CRISOSTOMO, ZOILO COPO, VILMA COPO, RONALDO L. SANTOS, ROBERTO G. OMALIN, CRISANTA H. MADRIAGA, RUTH SANTOS ROWENA CUBIN, RUSTICO AMAYA, EUFEMIA O. ENDRINAL, ROSITA L. IROIZ (sic), CORAZON L. CORAZON L. MALIMUTIN, RICARDO V. BALDONAZI, ROMMEL REAL, SUSANA B. CASIDSID, RAMON G. SILVANO, GREGORIA T. CATALAN, MARILITA A. MATABUENA, RUSANA M. MACHADO, LEONILA RISVEROS, JOSE TEMPLAO, CESAR RAMOS, LOIDA R. REYES, BONIFACIO C. BISMAR, MARISSA L. GRINDULO, WILFREDO ABANILLA, MERLY MARIE BERGAMOS, ZENAIDA B. PALAGANAS, AURORA S. CUEVAS, REYNALDO ICONIA, ANECITO V. LANIC (sic), BASILIA P. DELA CRUZ, DANILO M. BAOT, LORENZA C. TUNGOL, CRESENCIA G. RAVAL (sic), ERLINDA C. ROXAS, RAMIR C. FILIPINA, ADRIANA BADILLA, LENIE TACIANA P. BALNEG, DANILO MAGSINO, ERNIE MURILLO, ADLAI U. BULLALAYAO, TESSIE Z. BERROGA, MILA T. PAULIN, NESTOR CO, MARIA N. OMALIN, GENOVEVA G. SERENIO, LUZVIMINDA G. MAQUIMOT, LUZVIMINDA A. SAMANIEGO, ISABELITA A. MARIS, JAIME O. HERNANDEZ, SANTIAGO C. CAVERO, ISIDORA R. MAGBOJOS, SALVADOR A. MACEDA, MARILOU M. ESTRADA, ARTURO G. BENITEZ, JR., BENEDICTA B. CASTASUS, MYRNA B. PARTOZ, ANECITA M. PEREZ, JOSELITO C. MUSA, LEONILA T. MUSA, LERMA J. OLAVE, ROSARIO G. DAGSAN, MARILYN CASTILLO, ANABELLE LARASI, JOSELITO DOLOSA, ELISA J. DOOSA, BARTOLOME NIZ, FELIX T. BALDAD, JR., ROMAN P. DE JESUS, JR., LERMA C. RAYMUNDO, EDUARDO TENEBRO, VENANCIO CUDA (sic), MA. CRISPINA C. MUNCADA, DOMINADOR O. MARCO, ELIZA LAGASCA, MARLON D. CATAQUIL, DOMNINA B. VIDE, BENEDICTA JUBIDA, ANGELA ASAAYA, EDWIN TAMAYO, TORIBIO V. GUERRERO, CALIDA C. GONZALES, ELSIE FUFUGAL, FABIANA B. FAJARDO, ANGELINA PLATA, MYRNA ETORNE, JOSEPHINE C. SAN JOSE, VALENTIN P. BRONCATE, K. NOCHE, CONCESO P. CAVERO, FLOR C. MEQUIZ, LEONARDO MEQUIZ,Complainants, v. MA. CONSUELO JOIE A. FAJARDO, Sheriff IV, Regional Trial Court, Branch 93, San Pedro, Laguna,Respondent.

SERENO, J.:


FACTS:

The present case had its genesis when the Philippine National Bank (PNB) foreclosed on the real estate mortgage of Viva. Thereafter, RTC Branch 93 of San Pedro, Laguna in LRC No. SPL-0462 issued in favor of PNB a Writ of Possession, which was implemented by respondent Fajardo.

Complainants alleged that respondent Fajardo forcefully evicted all the officers and employees of Viva after a mere three-day notice. They accused her of levying on Vivas properties, which were exempt from execution, and of wrongfully applying the proceeds of the sale to PNB. They were thus deprived of their claims in a labor dispute with Viva over their unpaid wages and other benefits.

Complainants filed an Affidavit with the Office of the Court Administrator (OCA), charging respondent with grave misconduct, grave abuse of authority, and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service.

OCA issued its evaluation, report and recommendation on the Complaint against respondent. It found that she had not committed grave abuse of authority in implementing the Writ of Execution against Viva. The OCA recognized that once the sheriff was given the writ, it was purely ministerial on the latter's part to implement it.

ISSUE: Whether or not Fajardo is guilty of grave misconduct, grave abuse of authority, and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service?


HELD: OCAs decision is adopted.

CONSTITUTIONAL LAW: administrative law; sheriffs


Well-settled is the rule that a sheriff's duty in the execution of a writ is purely ministerial to execute the order of the court strictly or to the letter. Court sheriffs have no discretion over whether or not to execute the judgment. When a writ is placed in their hands, it is their duty, in the absence of any instructions to the contrary, to proceed with reasonable celerity and promptness to implement it in accordance with its mandate. For it is only by doing so that they can ensure that the order is executed without undue delay. Thus, as the Court has found no grave abuse of authority in the implementation of the Writ of Execution, the Complaint against herein respondent is dismissed.

Gross insubordination is the indifference of a respondent to an administrative complaint and to resolutions requiring a comment thereon. The offense is deemed punishable, because every employee in the judiciary should not only be an example of integrity, uprightness, and honesty; more than anyone else, they are bound to manifest utmost respect and obedience to their superiors orders and instructions.

The Court ADOPTS the recommendations of the OCA to DISMISS the administrative case against respondent Fajardo for lack of merit, but finds her GUILTY of gross insubordination.

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