When there can be a case or sanction for failing to pay just debts

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Persida Acosta

Dear PAO,
A friend of mine is a government employee. I lent her some money, which she endeavored to pay at a certain date. She executed some promissory notes for the same. On due date, she failed to make good on her promises. But because her mother just died, as a friend, I let her grieve for three months. I verbally demanded payment from her after this period.

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She now avoids to answer my calls and even blocked me in all our social media connections. I know I can file criminal and/or civil case/s against her, given my consideration and the documents I have in my possession pertaining to what she owes me. But can I also file an administrative case against her? Is there a Civil Service rule regarding this?
Sincerely yours,
Angela

Dear Angela,
Rule 10, Section 46 (F) (9), of the Revised Rules on the Administrative Cases in the Civil Service (RRACCS), clearly provides:

“F. The following light offenses are punishable by reprimand for the first offense; suspension of one (1) to thirty (30) days for the second offense; and dismissal from service for the third offense:

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(9) Willful failure to pay just debts or willful failure to pay taxes due to the government;

The term “just debts” shall apply only to:

Claims adjudicated by the court of law or,

Claims the existence and justness of which are admitted by the debtor.”

Further, in the case of Ricardo A. Manaysay v. Pepito A. Samaniego (A.M. No. P-062133, March 10, 2006; penned by former Associate Justice Dante Tinga, it is clearly discussed:

“Executive Order 292 [EO 292], otherwise known as the Revised Administrative Code of 1987, provides that a public employee’s failure to pay just debts is a ground for disciplinary action. Section 22, Rule XIV of the Rules Implementing Book V of EO 292, as modified by the Uniform Rules on Administrative Cases in the Civil Service, defines ‘just debts’ as those (1) claims adjudicated by a court of law or (2) claims the existence and justness of which are admitted by the debtor. Under the same rule, willful failure to pay just debts is classified as a light offense with the corresponding penalty of reprimand for the first offense.

“This court has consistently applied the penalty prescribed by law in its rulings in similar cases. For instance, in Frias v. Aguilar, we reprimanded respondent for his willful failure to pay his debts to a cooperative. Likewise, in Naawan Community Rural Bank v. Martinez, respondent was reprimanded for failing to make good a promissory note she executed as a co-maker of her fellow employee to pay for a loan obtained by the latter.

xxx xxx xxx

“We are sympathetic to Samaniego’s financial condition. However, he has a moral and legal duty to pay his obligations when due despite his financial difficulties. His failure to do so warrants disciplinary action. Since he committed the offense for the first time, the appropriate penalty is reprimand.” [Emphasis supplied]

Considering that your friend endeavored to pay her obligations to you, as you alleged that she executed some documents recognizing her debt, and that currently, she willfully evades payment for the same, it is possible that you can have her administratively liable for her actuation(s) as stated above.

Again, we find it necessary to mention that this opinion is solely based on the facts you have narrated and our appreciation of the same. The opinion may vary when the facts are changed or elaborated.

We hope that we were able to enlighten you on the matter.

Editor’s note: Dear PAO is a daily column of the Public Attorney’s Office. Questions for Chief Acosta may be sent to dearpao@manilatimes.net.

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