• Supreme Court penalizes Caloocan court staff

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    THE Supreme Court (SC) has penalized two clerks of court and a court sheriff in Caloocan City, Metro Manila, because of undo-cumented fiduciary fund withdrawals.

    In a per curiam decision, the tribunal found lawyer Mona Lisa Buencamino, Clerk of Court IV, Metropolitan Trial Court (MeTC ) of Caloocan City, guilty of simple neglect of duty.

    The court suspended her “from office for six months effective upon finality of this decision.”

    “She is sternly warned that a repetition of the same or a similar offense shall be dealt with more severely. [Buencamino] is further required to inform the court whether she has fully complied with its directive to withdraw all fiduciary fund deposits with the City Treasurer’s Office and to deposit the same to the court’s fiduciary fund account with the Land Bank of the Philippines,” the ruling read.

    Besides Buencamino, the court also found respondent David Maniquis, Clerk of Court III, guilty of simple neglect of duty, and suspended him “from office for one month and one day effective upon finality of this decision.”

    He was also warned that a repetition of the same or a similar offense shall be dealt with more severely.

    Another respondent Cielito Mapue, Sheriff III, was found guilty of serious dishonesty and dismissed from the service effective upon finality of the decision, “with forfeiture of all benefits due her, except accrued leave credits, and disqualification from appointment to any public office including government-owned or controlled corporations.”

    The court directed the court administrator to file the appropriate criminal action against Mapue and to update its audit to the present.

    The case originated from the financial audit conducted by the Office of the Court Administrator (OCA) on the books of accounts of the Metropolitan Trial Court of Caloocan City (MeTC Caloocan City).

    The audit covered the financial transactions of Maniquis, former officer-in-charge, Clerk of Court III, from January 1993 to June 4, 1996, and that of his successor Buencamino, Clerk of Court IV, from June 5, 1996 up to the audit dates.

    The audit team found that as of December 31, 2003 (cut-off date), the Judiciary Development Fund had a cash shortage of P20,917.93, the Clerk of Court General Fund had a shortage of P1,574.30, and the Special Allowance for the Judiciary Fund had a shortage of P238.

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