Here are selected April 2010 rulings of the Supreme Court of the Philippines on legal and judicial ethics:
Court personnel; grave misconduct. In grave misconduct, as distinguished from simple misconduct, the elements of corruption, clear intent to violate the law, or flagrant disregard of established rule must be manifest. Corruption as an element of grave misconduct consists in the act of an official or employee who unlawfully or wrongfully uses his station or character to procure some benefit for himself or for another, contrary to the rights of others.
Medrano knowingly and corruptly submitted spurious or irregular bail bonds for the approval of the judge. He categorically admitted his offense, giving the simple explanation of having thereby accommodated ill-intentioned people. His anomalies for a consideration appeared to be not isolated, but repeated many times. He thereby converted his employment in the court into an income-generating activity. His grave misconduct was, therefore, a grave offense that deserved the penalty of dismissal for the first offense pursuant to Sec. 52-A of the Uniform Rules on Administrative Cases in the Civil Service. Re: Anonymous Letter-Complaint against Hon. Marilou Runes-Tamang, Presiding Judge, MeTC Pateros, Manila and Presiding Judge, MeTC San Juan, Metro Manila, A.M. No. MTJ-04-1558, April 7, 2010.
Court personnel; grave misconduct. No less than the Constitution mandates that “public office is a public trust.” Service with loyalty, integrity and efficiency is required of all public officers and employees, who must, at all times, be accountable to the people.
The outright admission of Clerk IV Aranzazu Baltazar to committing malversation of funds shows her blatant disregard for these principles she had sworn to uphold, thereby eroding public trust. When asked to explain, Ms. Baltazar readily confessed her shortage and willingly executed an affidavit, dated April 5, 2004, wherein she admitted that she had committed grave negligence and malversation of funds when she allowed other court employees to borrow from the court funds in her custody, causing the shortage as discovered by the audit team.
Ms. Baltazar was grossly inefficient in handling the finances of the court. Her bare admission that she had indeed allowed other employees to borrow from the court funds shows her extensive participation in the irregularities reported by the audit team. There is no doubt that these acts constitute a grave offense. Office of the Court Administrator vs. Atty. Fermin M. Ofilas, et al., A.M. No. P-05-1935, April 23, 2010.