Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila

EN BANC

 

A.M. No. 95-10-06-SCC March 27, 1996

Re: Non-submission of Judge DEMASIRA M. BAUTE, a (former Clerk of Court) Shari'a Circuit Court, Kapatagan, Lanao del Norte, of the Official Cashbooks for Fiduciary Fund, Judiciary Development Fund, Clerk of Court General Fund, Ex-Officio Sheriff General Fund, Sheriff Trust Fund and other related documents.

R E S O L U T I O N

 

ROMERO, J.:p

Under consideration are the Memorandum Report dated January 26, 1996 and the Supplemental Memorandum dated February 22, 1996 of the Senior Chief Staff Officer of this Court. The Memorandum Report informed this Court that an audit had already been conducted on the book of accounts of former Clerk of Court Demasira M. Baute. The audit revealed that most of the collections were made from December 1992 to February 1994 but were remitted only on January 17, 1996. Likewise, no breakdown of official receipts were turned-over to the designated officer-in-charge, Mr. Abubakar Mohammad.

The Supplemental Memorandum informed this Court that respondent Judge Baute has already submitted a Certification dated February 14, 1996, relative to the properties, books of accounts and breakdown of receipts which he turned over to the Officer-in-Charge, Clerk of Court of the Shari'a District Court, Bongao, Tawi-Tawi.

A perusal of the records reveal that respondent Judge violated the guideline as provided in Circular No. 50-95 dated October 11, 1995 which states that "all collections from bailbonds, rental deposits, and other fiduciary collections shall be deposited within twenty-four (24) hours by the Clerk of court concerned, upon receipt thereof, with the Land Bank of the Philippines." Additional guidelines as provided in No. 5, paragraph c of Administrative Circular No. 5-93 dated April 30, 1993 states, thus:

The daily collections for the Fund in these courts shall be deposited everyday with the local or nearest LBP branch, "For the account of the Judiciary Development Fund, Supreme Court, Manila SAVINGS ACCOUNT No. 159-01163-1; or if depositing daily is not possible, deposits for the Fund shall be every second and third Fridays and at the end of every month, provided, however, that whenever collections for the Fund reach P500.00, the same shall be deposited immediately even before the days above indicated.

Where there is no LBP branch at the station of the judge concerned, the collections shall be sent by postal money order payable to the Chief Accountant of the Supreme Court, at the latest before 3:00 P.M. of that particular week.

Clearly, the aforementioned circulars were not complied with. In fact, it took respondent Judge about four (4) years before remitting to this Court his cash collections, without a single explanation for the delay. Were it not for this Court's resolution dated November 19, 1995 which directed him to comply with the directive of the Fiscal Audit Office, to date perhaps no remittance would have ever been made by respondent Judge. Worst, there was no breakdown of the official receipts which he turned over to the present OIC Clerk of Court of Bongao, Tawi-Tawi. In view of the premises, this Court concludes that respondent Judge is liable for gross neglect of duty.

WHEREFORE, Respondent Judge Demasira Baute is FINED Twenty Thousand Pesos (P20,000.00) with a WARNING that a repetition of the same or similar act in the future will be dealt with more severely. The fine will be automatically deducted from his uncollected salaries and the remainder released to him.

SO ORDERED.

Narvasa, C.J., Padilla, Regalado, Davide, Jr., Bellosillo, Melo, Puno, Vitug, Kapunan, Mendoza, Francisco, Hermosisima, Jr. and Panganiban, JJ., concur.

Torres, Jr., J., is on leave.


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