SC dismisses 2 court workers; fines judge

February 11, 2011 12:47 pm 

MANILA, Feb. 10 – The Supreme Court (SC) has dismissed two court stenographers for falsification of official documents and dishonesty while a Regional Trial Court (RTC) Judge was fined P10,000 for impropriety and conduct unbecoming.

In two separate per curiam administrative decisions of the SC en banc, it found court stenographers Ma. Theresa Cortez, Leila Galo and Judge Eduardo Kapunan of RTC Branch 51, Guagua, Pampanga guilty of falsification of documents and dishonesty for preparing and signing court orders, decisions and court records in anomalous cases for annulment of marriages, among others.

Cortez and Galo were dismissed from the service with forfeiture of all retirement benefits and privileges, except accrued leave credits, with prejudice to reemployment in any branch or instrumentality of the government, including government-owned or controlled corporations (GOCCs).

However, as Kapunan passed away during the pendency of the case, the SC dismissed the case against the late judge for being moot and academic.

The SC noted Kapunan's failure to specifically deny under oath his participation in the anomalous cases, which amounts to his admission that he indeed signed the questioned documents.

It did not give weight to Kapunan's defense that his signatures in the questioned court documents were forged as the late judge failed to support this with clear, positive and convincing evidence under Section 22, Rule 132 of the Rules of Court which provides the manner in which the genuineness of a handwriting may be proven.

The SC also denied Kapunan's claim that the processing of the said cases were done only by Galo, who, for her part, failed to appear in the proceedings or file any comment or pleading on the investigation on the charges against her.

It found that Galo received payments from litigants as "psychologist fee" and that she "processed" annulment cases with the "go signal" of Kapunan.

Galo had admitted committing such acts to assistant provincial prosecutor Vivian Dabu, as well as preparing the questioned documents.

However, Galo defended that her acts were mere compliance with the orders of the late judge. (PNA)



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