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383 Phil. 267


[ A.M. No. P-00-1368, February 28, 2000 ]




These are complaints filed against Aurora T. Laranang, Court Stenographer II of the Municipal Trial Court in Cities, Branch 1, Angeles City, Pampanga charging her with gross neglect of duty and habitual tardiness.

It appears that on August 4, 1997, complainant issued an order requiring respondent to explain in writing within five days why no administrative complaint should be filed against her for her failure to transcribe within 20 days of their taking her stenographic notes in the following cases:[2]
Case No.
Date of Trial
1. 91-508,509Tomas Solmerano12-8-92 
2. 91-508,509Tomas Solmerano2-15-93 
3. 91-508,509Luciano Roman9-6-93 
4. 91-508,509Carlos Santos, Sr.3-27-95 
5. 91-508,509Carlos Santos, Sr.12-18-95 
6. 95-41,42,43Cezar Pangilinan12-5-95 
7. 95-1435Nerilla Francia12-18-95 
8. 95-11,28,29,30SPO2 Ricardo Tolentino12-19-95 
9. 95-11,28,29,30SPO1 Arthur Petil12-19-95 
10. 95-41,42,43Ester Tiamzon2-6-96 
11. 94-769,770Roger Tiglao3-4-96 
12. 95-1435Dr. Roland Maniulit3-19-96 
13. 95-159Dr. Sesnando Sandalo3-31-96 
14. 95-238Rodolfo Basilio5-28-97 
15. 95-140Juana Guinto5-29-97 
16. 95-11,28,29,30SPO1 Arthur Petil6-10-96 
17. 95-11,28,29,30SPO1 Arthur Petil6-11-96 
18. 95-34Lucia Maglaqui6-10-96 
19. 95-1081,1082Petra Cuadro6-10-96 
20. 95-1142Ariel Yanga6-24-96 
21. 95-1435Nerilla Francia1-2-96 
22. 94-606Elena Siongco6-24-96 
23. 95-646,647Francisca Pena7-22-96 
24. 95-1150Abraham Tayag7-29-96 
25. 95-1144,1145Aezel Mangabat8-5-96 
26. 95-917,918,919Ruben Sabado8-6-96 
27. 96-602Esmeralda Velasquez8-19-96 
28. 95-34SPO1 Arthur Petil8-19-96 
29. 94-769,770Roger Tiglao8-19-96 
30. 95-1150Abraham Tayag8-19-96 
31. 91-508,509Angelito Santos8-20-96 
32. 95-1645,1646,1647Manuel Cunanan8-23-96 
33. 95-1150Dr. Hernand Tulud9-2-96 
34. 96-15Romer Rubio9-2-96 
35. 95-1435Alice Aquino9-3-96 
36. 95-1645,1646,1647PO2 Luis Taruc9-3-96 
37. 95-1142SPO2 Francisco Fernandez9-16--96 
38. 96-303Noel Fernandez9-23-96 
39. 96-576Rolando Madlambayan10-14-96 
40. 95-159Rommel Salunga10-14-96 
41. 94-769,770Roger Tiglao10-14-96 
42. 95-932Bienvenido Bautista10-15-96 
43. 95-140Isabela Cunanan10-18-96 
44. 95-195,196Atty. Ricardo Diaz10-28-96 
45. 96-303Noel Fernandez11-4-96 
46. 95-1144,1145Aezel Mangabat11-5-96 
47. 91-508,509SPO3 Danilo Cabigon11-11-96 
48. 96-303Andres Fernandez11-11-96 
49. 95-195,196Atty. Ricardo Diaz11-11-96 
50. 95-932Gregorio Chua11-12-96 
51. 96-255,256,257,258Mario Marmolejo11-25-96 
52. 96-1005Dominador Cutamora11-25-96 
53. 96-456Edilberto Villanueva11-25-96 
54. 96-602Esperanza Bartolome12-10-96 
55. 95-1435Rowena Miguel12-10-96 
56. 96-14Abraham Tayag12-10-96 
57. 96-303Elizardo Mandap, Jr.1-6-97 
58. 96-576Dr. Edwin Manzon1-6-97 
59. 95-1142Dr. Nicanor dela Cruz1-6-97 
60. 96-201Luz Uson1-7-97 
61. 95-1149PO2 Benjamin Quimsay3-17-97 
62. 95-195,196Ramon Yap3-17-97 
63. 96-1525SPO2 Felimon Oyan3-17-97 
64. 96-303Nardito Licup4-14-97 
65. 95-44Perfecto Digman5-26-97 
66. 95-618Marissa Santos5-26-97 
In compliance with said order, respondent submitted an undated letter explaining that as a result of the expansion of the jurisdiction of the Municipal Trial Courts by R.A. No. 7691 and the consequent increase of cases filed therein, and also because of a major surgery which she had undergone, she was not able to transcribe the stenographic notes taken by her within 20 days as required by Administrative Circular No. 24-90 of this Court. Nevertheless, she stated that she was subsequently able to transcribe 34 of the stenographic notes in question.

Finding the explanation of respondent to be unsatisfactory, complainant filed against her an administrative complaint, dated September 30, 1997, with the Office of the Court Administrator (OCA) for gross neglect of duty. In her comment, respondent alleged: (1) that she was not able to transcribe her notes because of illness which forced her to go on leave several times; (2) that on October 31, 1997, she completed transcribing 22 more stenographic notes, but complainant refused to receive the same; (3) that she was not the stenographer on duty during three of the hearings included in the list; and (4) that she was being singled out by complainant who wanted to oust her from his staff.

On February 11, 1998, complainant issued another order requiring respondent to explain in writing within five days why no administrative complaint should be filed against her for being tardy six times in September, 13 times in October, and 19 times in November 1997. In compliance with the order, respondent submitted a letter, dated February 20, 1998, alleging that the entries in her Daily Time Records (DTRs) for the months in question were incorrect because said entries were merely copied from the records kept by complainant, there being no bundy clock or logbook in the trial court. Respondent claimed that she was forced to sign the DTRs by complainant. Respondent presented a list which she claims indicated the correct time of her arrival in, and departure from, the court in November 1997.

Finding the explanation of respondent also to be unsatisfactory, complainant filed with the OCA the instant administrative complaint for habitual tardiness against her. In her comment, dated October 21, 1998, respondent reiterates substantially the allegations in her letter to complainant.

The administrative complaints were referred to Judge Aida E. Layug, Municipal Trial Court in Cities, Angeles City, for investigation, report, and recommendation. In her report, dated January 28, 2000, Judge Layug recommends that the complaint for gross neglect of duty against respondent be dismissed and that the latter be found guilty of habitual tardiness only and reprimanded.

First. On the transcription of stenographic notes, Administrative Circular No. 24-90 provides in pertinent part:
(a) All stenographers are required to transcribe all stenographic notes and to attach the transcripts to the record of the case not later than twenty (20) days from the time the notes are taken. The attaching may be done by putting all said transcripts in a separate folder or envelope, which will then be joined to the record of the case.
(b) The stenographer concerned shall accomplish a verified monthly certification as to compliance with this duty. In the absence of such certification or for failure and/or refusal to submit it, his salary shall be withheld.
In the instant case, respondent submitted the transcripts of stenographic notes in the following cases more than 20 days from the time the notes were taken:[3]
Case No.
Date of Trial
Date of Submission
1. 91-508,509Tomas SolmeranoDec. 8, 1992Sept. 11, 1997 
2. 91-508,509Tomas SolmeranoFeb. 15, 1993Sept. 11, 1997 
3. 95-41,42,43Cezar PangilinanDec. 5, 1995Sept. 11, 1997 
4. 95-1435Nerilla FranciaDec. 18, 1995Sept. 11, 1997 
5. 95-41,42,43Ester TiamzonFeb. 6, 1996Sept. 11, 1997 
6. 94-769,770Roger TiglaoMarch 4, 1996Sept. 5, 1997 
7. 95-1435Dr. Roland ManiulitMarch 19, 1996Sept. 11, 1997 
8. 95-140Juana GuintoMay 29, 1997Sept. 11, 1997 
9. 95-11,28,29,30SPO1 Arthur PetilJune 11, 1996Sept. 11, 1997 
10. 95-1081, 1082Petra CuadroJune 10, 1996March 13, 1998 
11. 95-1435Nerilla FranciaJan. 2, 1996Sept. 11, 1997 
12. 94-606Elena SiongcoJune 24, 1996March 6, 1998 
13. 95,646, 647Francisca PenaJuly 22, 1996Sept. 5, 1997 
14. 95-1144, 1143Aezel MangabatAug. 5, 1996Sept. 5, 1997 
15. 95-917, 918,919Ruben SabadoAug. 6, 1996Sept. 5, 1997 
16. 96-602Esmeralda VelasquezAug. 19, 1996Sept. 5, 1997 
17. 94-769, 770Roger TiglaoAug. 19, 1996Sept. 5, 1997 
18. 95-1645,1646,1647Manuel CunananAug. 23, 1996Sept. 11, 1997 
19. 95-1150Dr. Hernad TuludSept. 2, 1996Sept. 5, 1997 
20. 96-15Romer RubioSept. 2, 1996Sept. 5, 1997 
21. 95-1435Alice AquinoSept. 3, 1996Sept. 11, 1997 
22. 95-932Bienvenido BautistaOct. 15, 1996Sept. 5, 1997 
23. 95-140Isabela CunananOct. 18, 1996Sept. 11, 1997 
24. 95-195,196Atty. Ricardo DiazOct. 28, 1996Sept. 11, 1997 
25. 96-303Andres FernandezNov. 11, 1996Sept. 5, 1997 
26. 95-195, 196Atty. Ricardo DiazNov. 11, 1996Sept. 11, 1997 
27.95-932Gregorio ChuaNov. 12, 1996Sept. 5, 1997 
28. 96-456Edilberto VillanuevaNov. 25, 1996Sept. 5, 1997 
29. 96-602Esperanza BartolomeDec. 10, 1996Sept. 5, 1997 
30. 95-1434Rowena MiguelDec. 10, 1996Sept. 11, 1997 
31. 96-303Elizardo Mandap, Jr.Jan. 1, 1997Sept. 5, 1997 
32. 96-201Luz UsonJan. 7, 1997Feb. 2, 1997 
On October 31, 1997, respondent offered to submit the transcripts of stenographic notes in the following cases, but complainant allegedly refused to receive them:[4]
Case No.
Date of Trial
1. 91-508,509Carlos Santos, Sr.March 27, 1995 
2. 91-508,509Carlos Santos, Sr.Dec. 18, 1995 
3. 95-11,28, 29,30SPO2 Ricardo TolentinoDec. 19, 1995 
4. 95-11,28,29,30SPO1 Arthur PetilDec. 19, 1995 
5. 95-159Dr. Sesnando SandaloMarch 31, 1996 
6. 95-238Rodolfo BasilioMay 28, 1997 
7. 95-11,28,29,30SPO1 Arthur PetilJune 10, 1996 
8. 95-34Lucia MaglaquiJune 10, 1996 
9. 95-1142Ariel YangaJune 24, 1996 
10. 95-1150Abraham TayagAug. 19, 1996 
11. 91-508,509Angelito SantosAug. 20, 1996 
12. 95-1142SPO2 Francisco FernandezSept. 16, 1996 
13. 95-159Rommel SalungaOct. 14, 1996 
14. 91-508,509SPO3 Danilo CabigonNov. 11, 1996 
15. 96-255,256,257,258Mario MarmolejoNov. 25, 1996 
16. 96-1005Dominador CutamoraNov. 25, 1996 
17. 96-14Abraham TayagDec. 10, 1996 
18. 95-1142Dr. Nicanor dela CruzJan. 6, 1997 
19.95-1149PO2 Benjamin QuimsayMarch 17, 1997 
20. 96-303Nardito LicupApril 14, 1997 
21. 95-44Perfecto DigmanMay 26, 1997 
22. 95-618Marissa SantosMay 26, 1997 
There is nothing in the records to show whether respondent submitted the transcripts of stenographic notes in the following cases:[5]
Case No.
Date of Trial
1. 91-528,509Luciano RomanSept. 6, 1993 
2. 95-1150Abraham TayagJuly 29, 1996 
3. 95-34SPO1 Arthur PetilAug. 19, 1996 
4. 95-1645,1646,1647PO2 Luis TarucSept. 3, 1996 
5. 96-576Rolando MadlambayanOct. 14, 1996 
6. 94-769,770Roger TiglaoOct. 14, 1996 
7. 96-303Noel FernandezNov. 4, 1996 
8. 95-1144, 1145Aezel MangabatNov. 5, 1998 
9. 96-576Dr. Edwin ManzonJan. 6, 1997 
10.95-195,196Ramon YapMarch 17, 1997 
11. 96-1525SPO2 Felimon OyanMarch 17, 1997 
By way of summary, out of the 66 stenographic notes mentioned in the complaint, respondent failed to transcribe on time 54 notes (including the 22 notes complainant allegedly refused to receive). She failed to submit the transcripts of 11 stenographic notes. Her excuse was that because of illness, she had to go on leave. However, there is nothing in the records to show whether respondent went on sick leave in 1996. What the records show is that she went on vacation leave for 13 days in 1996, when most of the stenographic notes in question were taken.[6] Furthermore, even assuming that she was not able to transcribe her notes because of illness, respondent could have asked for extension of time for submitting the transcripts of stenographic notes. This, however, she failed to do. The only conclusion is that she was grossly neglectful of her duty under Administrative Circular No. 24-90 regarding the transcription of stenographic notes.

Second. With respect to the complaint for habitual tardiness, Civil Service Commission Memorandum Circular No. 4, Series of 1991 provides in pertinent part:

Any employee shall be considered habitually tardy if he incurs tardiness, regardless of the number of minutes, ten (10) times a month for at least (2) months in a semester or at least two (2) consecutive months during the year.


1. The following sanctions shall be imposed for violation of the above guidelines:

(a) for the first violation, the employee, after due proceedings, shall be meted the penalty of 6 months and 1 day to 1 year suspension without pay;

(b) for the second violation, and after due proceedings, he shall be dismissed from service.
In the instant case, the DTRs submitted by respondent show that she was tardy six times in September, 10 times in October, and 19 times in November 1997.[7] Her allegation that the entries in her DTRs for the months in question are not true and that she signed the same only because she was forced to do so by complainant has not been substantiated and, therefore, cannot be given credence. Her bare assertion cannot prevail over the presumption that the entries in the DTRs are correct and that she signed the same voluntarily. Indeed, the list presented by respondent, which she claims shows the correct times of her arrival in and departure from the office in November 1997, indicates that she was tardy 19 times.[8]

It would seem that Judge Layug’s only reason for recommending the exoneration of respondent of the charge of gross neglect of duty is that respondent after all was able to transcribe most of the stenographic notes taken by her. It should be pointed out, however, that liability for violation of Administrative Circular No. 24-90 is incurred if notes are not transcribed within 20 days after these are taken. The fact that the notes were later transcribed can only mitigate such liability. In previous cases, we imposed the penalty of fine on erring stenographers.[9] Considering the number of stenographic notes which respondent failed to transcribe on time, the fact that she failed to transcribed 11 notes taken by her, and her habitual tardiness, her suspension for six (6) months would be an appropriate penalty to impose on her.

WHEREFORE, respondent Aurora T. Laranang, Court Stenographer II of the Municipal Trial Court in Cities, Branch 1, Angeles City, Pampanga, is found guilty of gross neglect of duty and habitual tardiness and is hereby SUSPENDED for six (6) months and ordered to submit within the same period the transcripts of stenographic notes in the eleven (11) cases mentioned above, with WARNING that her failure to do so will be dealt with more severely.

The Presiding Judge and Branch Clerk of Court of the Municipal Trial Court in Cities, Branch 1, Angeles City are required to report on the compliance by respondent with this decision within ten (10) days after the expiration of the time given to herein respondent for submitting the transcript of stenographic notes.


Bellosillo,(Chairman), Quisumbing, and De Leon, Jr., JJ., concur.
Buena, J., on leave.

[1] Complainant has since been dismissed from the service for conduct unbecoming a member of the bench in Galang v. Santos, Adm. Matter No. MTJ-99-1197, May 26, 1999.

[2] Complaint in OCA-IPI No. 97-362-P; Rollo, pp. 2-3.

[3] Comment in OCA-IPI-97-362-P, Annexes D, D-1, D-1-A, D-1-B, and D-1-C; Id., pp. 58-62.

[4] Id., Annex D-1-D; Id., p. 63.

[5] Complaint in OCA-IPI No. 97-362-P; Id., pp. 2-3 and Comment, Annexes D, D-1, D-1-A, D-1-B, D-1-C, and D-1-D; Id., pp. 58-63.

[6] Comment in OCA-IPI No. 97-362-P, Annex 3-A; Id., p. 70.

[7] Complaint in OCA-IPI No. 98-463-P, Annexes B, C, and D; Id., pp. 8-10.

[8] Id., Annex G; Id., pp. 15-27.

[9] See, e.g., Ongkiko Kalaw Dizon Panga & Velasco Law Offices v. Sangil-Makasiar, 256 SCRA 29 (1996).

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