SC finds ex-CA employee guilty of misconduct

Mylen P. Manto (The Freeman) - September 28, 2015 - 10:00am

CEBU, Philippines – A former records officer at the Court of Appeals-Cebu was found guilty after she allegedly took the ATM card of her officemate and made an unauthorized withdrawal.

Supreme Court Associate Justice Mariano Del Castillo of the Second Division found sufficient evidence to hold former head of the Judicial Records Division, Anna Marie Abarintos, administratively liable for dishonesty and gross misconduct.

“Wherefore, the court finds respondent… guilty of dishonestly and gross misconduct and orders to pay a fine of P5,000 with forfeiture of whatever benefits still due her from the government, except accrued leave credits,” read the resolution.

Abarintos, likewise, has been declared disqualified from employment in any branch or instrumentality of the government, including government-owned or controlled corporations.

The case stemmed from an anonymous letter dated February 9, 2011 addressed to former Chief Justice Renato Corona. The letter stated that Abarintos allegedly tampered the date of receipt of the Petition for Review filed in Court of Appeals with case No. G.R. SP No. 05464.

It alleged that Abarintos made it appear that the pleading was timely filed on November 4, 2010 to favor her husband’s ‘kumpadre’ who filed it. Further, Abarintos allegedly took the ATM card of her officemate, Records Officer Elizabeth Gilos, and withdrew P10,000 without the latter’s knowledge and consent.

Abarintos denied the accusations filed against her. She claimed the issue of tampering had already been “clarified and that it did not prejudice the rights and interest of any of the parties in CA-G.R. SP. 05464.”

As to the alleged withdrawal, Abarintos explained that it was a personal issue between two friends arising from a “simple misunderstanding.”

In its memorandum, the Office of the Court Administrator (OCA) recommended that Abarintos be held administratively liable and be fined P20,000 with forfeiture of retirement benefits, except accrued leave benefits, and perpetual disqualification from holding public office for allegedly making withdrawal from the account of Gilos.

The OCA though recommended for the dismissal of the allegation that Abarintos tampered a document.

In his 11-page penned resolution, Del Castillo also ruled that the charge of tampering is not supported by sufficient evidence but he held Abarintos liable for taking the ATM card of Gilos and making an unauthorized withdrawal.

He said as a “head of the Judicial Records Division, and involved in the administration of justice, Abarintos ought to live up to the strictest standards of honesty and integrity in public service.”

Though Abarintos resigned from the service on February 14, 2011, Del Castillo said the latter’s resignation will not extricate her from the consequences of her acts.

“It is settled that the cessation from office neither warrants the dismissal of the administrative complaint filed against the respondents while they were still in the service nor does it render the case moot and academic,” the resolution read, adding the only effect of the resignation is that it rendered moot the imposition of the penalty of dismissal.

Del Castillo said out of compassion and mercy, the fine was reduced from P10,000 to P5,000. —/ATO (FREEMAN)

ABARINTOS ACIRC ANNA MARIE ABARINTOS CHIEF JUSTICE RENATO CORONA COURT OF APPEALS COURT OF APPEALS-CEBU DEL CASTILLO JUDICIAL RECORDS DIVISION OFFICE OF THE COURT ADMINISTRATOR RECORDS OFFICER ELIZABETH GILOS SUPREME COURT ASSOCIATE JUSTICE MARIANO DEL CASTILLO OF THE SECOND DIVISION
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