A.M. No. P-06-2130: June 13, 2011
SUSANA E. FLORESComplainant, v. ARIEL D. PASCASIO, Sheriff III, MTCC, Branch 5,OlongapoCity, Respondent.
This is an administrative complaint filed by Susana E. Flores (complainant) against Ariel R. Pascasio (respondent), Sheriff III in the Municipal Trial Court in Cities (MTCC), Branch 5,OlongapoCity, for Grave Misconduct and Grave Abuse of Authority.
In her complaint-affidavit datedJune 2, 2004, the complainant narrated that onMarch 5, 2004, an auction sale of a JVC DVD player and a Sony TV set was conducted by the respondent at the Office of the Clerk of Court,OlongapoCity. She submitted a bid of Ten Thousand Two Hundred Pesos (P10,200.00) for the two (2) items. During the public auction, the two items were sold separately, the JVC DVD player forP2,520.00 and the Sony TV set forP2,500.00. The complainant claimed that the respondent manipulated the bidding process to make it appear that she submitted a bid of only One Thousand Two Hundred Pesos (P1,200.00) instead of her bid of Ten Thousand Two Hundred Pesos (P10,200.00). She further alleged that the respondent even scolded her for questioning the conduct of the auction sale. According to her, when she asked the respondent why she lost the bidding, he replied, "Wala kang magagawa dahil ako ang masusunod dito. Ako ang sheriff dito, kung kanino ko gustong mapunta and items, yun ang masusunod."
In his comment datedAugust 24, 2004, the respondent denied having discriminated against the complainant. He admitted having received the complainants bid, but because it was not itemized, he disregarded it on ground of technicality. While he listed the complainants name in the minutes of the auction sale, no amount wasplaced opposite her name because her bid was invalid. He explained to the complainant that only itemized bids were considered and that she should have submitted separate bids and not just one bid for the two (2) items.
ISSUE: Whether respondent Sheriff is administratively liable for dishonesty
Political Law: Law on Public Officers, Dishonesty
Sheriffs play an important role in the administration of justice and high standards are expected of them. Their conduct, at all times, must not only be characterized by propriety and decorum but must, at all times, be above suspicion. Part of this stringent requirement is that agents of the law should refrain from the use of abusive, offensive, scandalous, menacing or otherwise improper language. Judicial employees are expected to accord due respect, not only to their superiors, but also to others and their rights at all times. Their every act and word should be characterized by prudence, restraint, courtesy and dignity. The respondents arrogant behavior, telling complainant, "Wala kang magagawa dahil ako ang masusunod. Ako ang sheriff dito, kung kanino ko gustong mapunta ang items, yun ang masusunod,was an evident violation of these rules of conduct for judicial employees.
The Court defines misconduct as any unlawful conduct, on the part of apersonconcernedinthe administration of justice, prejudicial to the rights of the parties or to the right determination of the cause. It generally means wrongful, improper and unlawful conduct motivated by a premeditated, obstinate or intentional purpose. It means intentional wrongdoing or deliberate violations of a rule of law or standard or behavior, especially by a government official.
Dishonesty means a disposition to lie, cheat, deceive or defraud; untrustworthiness; lack of integrity, lack of honesty, probity or integrity in principle;lack of fairness and straightforwardness; and disposition to defraud, deceive or betray.
Given the above parameters, the Court finds the respondent guilty of dishonesty as recommended by OCA. Under Section 52, B(2), Rule IV of the Revised Uniform Rules on Administrative Cases in the Civil Service, dishonesty is punishable by dismissal from the service. Since the respondent had previously been ordered dismissed from the service, suspension is no longer possible. Thus, instead of suspension, the respondent, shall be imposed a fine as alternative penalty.We deem the fine equivalent to three- month salary to be appropriate in light of the penalty of dismissal that it replaces and the potential damage that his dishonesty caused.