SC sacks, perpetually disqualifies court stenographer for falsifying ruling
The Supreme Court recently dismissed a court stenographer who, among others, falsified a decision on annulment of marriage.
In a six-page per curiam decision, the SC also ordered the forfeiture of all benefits, except accrued leave credits, of Cesar C. Calpo, Court Stenographer III, Regional Trial Court of Cavite City, Branch 16, who it found guilty of grave misconduct and serious dishonesty.
Likewise, it ordered his perpetual disqualification from re-employment from public office, without prejudice to the filing of appropriate criminal and civil cases.
The administrative case against Calpo stemmed from the complaint of Philippine Coast Guard personnel Zenmond D. Duque. According to Duque, Calpo, in 2010, voluntarily offered his services to help secure an annulment of Duque’s marriage for P150,000, paid in three equal installments as evidenced by receipts duly signed by Calpo.
A year later, Calpo gave Duque a decision purportedly issued by Executive Judge Perla V. Cabrera-Faller of the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Dasmariñas Cavite, Branch 90 granting the annulment of Duque’s marriage. Duque, however, subsequently learned that there was no such case and that Judge Cabrera-Faller had not issued any such decision as her signature on the decision was a forgery.
“[Calpo’s] actuations clearly demonstrate an intent to violate the law or a persistent disregard of well-known rules. Respondent deceived complainant into believing he had the power to obtain an annulment order in complainant’s favor. Receiving money from complainant, on the consideration that he can obtain a favorable decision from the court, falsifying a court decision, and forging the signature of the trial judge, undeniably constitute grave misconduct and serious dishonesty,” the Court held.
The Court held that the imposable penalty for grave misconduct and serious dishonesty is the extreme penalty of dismissal from service, citing sec. 46, Rule 10 of the Revised Rules on Administrative Cases in the Civil Service, which classifies the two transgressions as grave offenses.