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[A.M. No. 00-11-526-RTC. September 16, 2002.]




Discourtesy and disrespect have no place in the judiciary. Professionalism, respect for the rights of others, good manners and right conduct are expected of every judicial officer and employee.chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary

The Case and the Facts

The administrative case stems from an Incident Report 1 of the Security Division of the Supreme Court, charging Edna S. Cesar, Legal Researcher II of the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 171, Valenzuela City, with discourtesy and conduct unbecoming a court employee.

In a Memorandum dated June 5, 1997, 2 Harold T. Cumpio, Guard II of the Supreme Court Security Division, narrated a shouting incident at the Supreme Court lobby on June 4, 1997. According to him, respondent, together with a female companion, arrived at the Supreme Court around 12:45 p.m. Respondent wanted to go to the library, but since it was closed for lunch, he made them wait until one o’clock. This response from Cumpio reportedly prompted respondent to raise her voice. Afterwards, she demanded that she be allowed to go to the comfort room. He then asked them, as standard operating procedure (SOP) of the Security Office, to register in the visitors’ logbook. However, respondent became irate and shouted, "Bakla! Bakla! Pumapatol sa babae!" She continued with her invectives despite his pleas for her to lower her voice. Thereafter, she and her companion proceeded to the comfort room. A few minutes later, they came out. But before proceeding to the library, respondent uttered the following words to him: "An im iroy nga yawa ka! Nagkamali ka ng babanggain dahil Visaya kami."cralaw virtua1aw library

On June 10, 1997, a Joint Statement 3 was submitted by the following members of the library staff, who had witnessed the June 4, 1997 incident: Lorena C. Reyes, Teresita de la Cruz, Cathrina Laygo, Dennis M. Canlas, Almario Medina, Carolina Deloria, Lorna Ricolcol, Amado Bobadilla, Amelia Loyola and Mercedes Sales.

In their Statement, the witnesses said that they had heard a woman, who later turned out to be respondent, shouting at Cumpio: "Ano ba ang problema mo? Wala ka bang pera? Magkano ba ang kailangan mo?" They noticed that he kept his silence. Thereafter she went to the comfort room and stayed there for ten minutes before proceeding to the library, where she talked in a "loud, shrilly voice" to their co-employee Amado Bobadilla. Thinking that she was quarrelling with Bobadilla, they butted in the conversation and discovered that she was complaining about a certain security guard at the lobby. They then advised her to refer the matter to the Security Office.

The Incident Report was forwarded to the Office of the Court Administrator (OCA), which treated it as an administrative complaint. In its 1st Indorsement dated March 24, 1998, 4 the OCA required respondent to file her Comment.

In her undated Comment, 5 respondent narrated her version of the incident. She said that she and her mother arrived at the Supreme Court on June 4, 1997 at 12:45 p.m. Because they were not allowed to enter the library, she requested the guard on duty (Cumpio) to allow them to go to the comfort room. As they were approaching it, he asked for her identification (ID) card which, in her rush to go in, she was not able to produce. All of a sudden, she heard him shout, "Buli ka han imo iroy." Understanding what it meant, she responded, "Ano ba ang problema mo?" After handing her ID, she proceeded to the comfort room.

At one o’clock that afternoon, she and her mother entered the library. She then spoke to a member of the library staff regarding the altercation. Upon being advised to bring the matter to the Security Office, she proceeded there, but was not attended to. Thus, she decided to report the matter to the Civil Service Commission. 6

Respondent likewise denied "shouting on top of her voice." No one could have witnessed the incident, she claimed, because the offices were closed for lunch. Allegedly, the witnesses were merely solicited by Cumpio and were biased against her. Further, she denied having spoken to Amado Bobadilla. She purportedly conversed with a woman employee, not Bobadilla, at the library information desk.

Report and Recommendation of the Court Administrator

In a Memorandum dated October 3, 2001, 7 the OCA found respondent to have fallen short of the high standard of judicial service. It explained:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

"After a careful examination of the records of the case, we find the conduct of respondent short of the high standard of judicial service. She showed arrogance and discourtesy in refusing to follow the office regulation for visitors to register first in the logbook before entering the court premises. At the very least, she uttered offensive words at Mr. Cumpio, the security guard who was merely performing his duty at the time. This high-strung and belligerent behavior has no place in the government service especially when done at the workplace and during working hours, as such conduct shows discourtesy and disrespect not only towards co-workers but to the court as well.

"It behooves all those who are involved in the administration of justice to all times conduct themselves with the highest degree of propriety and decorum and take great care in avoiding incidents that tend to degrade the judiciary and diminish the respect and regard for the courts." 8

The OCA therefore recommended that respondent be fined one thousand pesos with a warning that a repetition of the same or similar acts be dealt with more severely.

The Court’s Ruling

We agree with the OCA’s findings and recommendation.

Administrative Liability of Respondent

This Court has always valued high standards in judicial service. Time and time again, we have said that the behavior of all officials and employees involved in the administration of justice is circumscribed with a heavy burden of responsibility. 9 Their conduct should at all times embody propriety, prudence, courtesy and dignity in order to maintain the public’s respect for and confidence in the judicial service. 10

Despite Cumpio’s request, respondent refused to surrender her ID upon entering the Court’s premises. In an arrant behavior she displayed to escape from this standard requirement, she shouted invectives at Cumpio, who was merely performing his duty. As observed by the OCA, she manifested arrogance and discourtesy in not following the security measures imposed by this Court.

What is even more unacceptable is the shouting match that erupted at the very lobby of the Supreme Court. It is of no moment that it was lunch break when this incident occurred, and that the chance of causing disturbance was minimal. High-strung and belligerent behavior has no place in government service. Personnel are required to act with self-restraint and civility at all times, even when confronted with rudeness and insolence. 11 Shouting and cursing, particularly at the workplace, is not only an exhibition of paucity of professionalism, 12 but is also an act of disrespect towards co-employees and this Court. 13

We stress that discourtesy and disrespect have no place in the judiciary. Professionalism, respect for the rights of others, good manners and right conduct are expected of all judicial officers and employees, because the image of the judiciary is necessarily mirrored in their actions. 14 Thus, even minor employees are required to preserve the judiciary’s good name and standing as a true temple of justice. 15

WHEREFORE, Edna S. Cesar, Legal Researcher II of the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 171, Valenzuela City, is found guilty of discourtesy and is FINED one thousand pesos (P1,000) with a WARNING that a repetition of the same or similar acts shall be dealt with more severely.chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary


Puno, Sandoval-Gutierrez, Corona, and Carpio-Morales, JJ., concur.


1. Rollo, pp. 19-20.

2. Id., p. 20.

3. Id., p. 6.

4. Id., p. 7.

5. Id., pp. 10-11.

6. Certification of Complaint issued by the Civil Service Commission dated April 6, 1998; rollo, p. 13.

7. Signed by Deputy Court Administrator Christopher O. Lock and approved by Court Administrator Presbitero J. Velasco Jr.

8. OCA’s Memorandum, pp. 3-4 (Citations omitted); rollo, p. 27.

9. Spouses Bautista v. Mendoza, AM No. P-01-1489, August 9, 2001; Quiroz v. Orfila, 272 SCRA 324, May 7, 1997, citing Re: Ms Teresita S. Sabido, 242 SCRA 432, 434, March 17, 1995; Tablate v. Tanjutco-Seechung, 234 SCRA 161, July 15, 1994.

10. Portic v. Lopez, AM No. P-01-1452, July 11, 2001; Flores v. Conanan, AM No. P-00-1438, August 14, 2001; Security Division, Supreme Court of the Phils. v. Umpa, 256 SCRA 685, May 15, 1996; De Luna v. Ricon, 250 SCRA 1, November 16, 1995.

11. Quiroz v. Orfila, supra; Policarpio v. Fortus, 248 SCRA 272, September 18, 1995; Flores v. Ganaden, 61 SCRA 216, November 29, 1974.

12. Balisi-Umali v. Peñalosa, 318 SCRA 406, November 18, 1999.

13. De Luna v. Ricon, supra; Tablate v. Tanjutco-Seechung, supra.

14. Ibay v. Lim, 340 SCRA 107, September 11, 2000; Navarro v. Navarro, 339 SCRA 709, September 6, 2000.

15. Pizarro v. Villegas, 345 SCRA 42, November 20, 2000.

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