SC suspends Surigao clerk of court-slash-teacher for using courtroom to hold classes
The Supreme Court (SC) has suspended a Tandag City, Surigao del Sur, Regional Trial Court (RTC) acting clerk of court for three months, for using its airconditioned facilities to hold his classes and lying about it.
In a recent 9-page notice of resolution, the SC 3rd Division found Daryl Oso—a legal researcher for Branch 40 and a part-time instructor at Surigao del Sur State University (SDSSU) and Saint Therese College (STC)—guilty of simple misconduct and simple dishonesty.
The personnel of the Tandag RTC were also reminded to comply with SC Administrative Circular Number 3-92, which prohibits the use of the Halls of Justice “for purposes other than the official functions of the court.”
The SC adopted the findings of Office of the Court Administrator (OCA), which arose from a “discreet investigation” on a blind item letter sent by a “concerned court personnel.”
Investigators found that Oso lied that she held classes for only five days, because the logbook showed she used the courtroom for her classes for 12 different dates between April 24 and May 24, 2017.
She was also found to have lied about holding classes only at noontime. On April 29, 2017, Saturday, she used the facilities from 9:00 a.m. to 11:12 a.m. On May 24, 2017, she also held her classes during office hours from 9:55 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. and beyond office hours from 7:57 p.m. to 9:15 p.m.
The OCA said the logbook entries enjoyed the presumption of regularity. It disregarded the affidavit of two security guards who claimed they were instructed by the Hall of Justice head to put erroneous entries in the logbook, because investigators questioned the very persons who made the entries about their veracity.
It noted that Oso’s unauthorized use of the courtroom entailed the use of government-paid electricity and exposed judicial records to the danger of loss or damage.