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Author: BLOCK D 2017

Office of the Court Administrator vs. Garong 6) Also, OCA recommended that the administrative complaint be
treated as an administrative matter; that the findings of the lower
Petition: To hold in abeyance the proceedings in the administrative court as affirmed by the appellate court be adopted in lieu of an
complaint against respondent. investigation.
Petitioner: Office of the Court Administrator (as the employer of 7) Garong filed a Manifestation With Motion To Dismiss but while
Respondent) this was pending, an Order of Execution of Judgment and
Respondent: Alberto V. Garong (Court Interpreter III of the RTC of Calapan Warrant of Arrest were surreptitiously issued by Acting Presiding
City, Mindoro, Branch 40; he was charged with frustrated homicide) Judge Tomas C. Leynes. Respondent Garong acted on this by
filing a Supplemental Pleading to the Urgent Motion to Quash
Warrant of Arrest.
DOCTRINE: 8) Other than this, Respondent Garong filed a Motion for Inhibition
Procedural rules were conceived to aid the attainment of justice. If a of Judge Leynes from sitting in case in view of the fact that prior
stringent application of the rules would hinder rather serve the demands to the Order of Execution of Judgment Garong had filed a letter-
of substantial justice, the former must yield to the latter. complaint and an affidavit-complaint against Judge Leynes with
the OCA for Falsification of Public Document and Violation of
In this case, it is but just, therefore, that respondent be given every R.A. No. 3019, otherwise known as the Anti-Graft and Corrupt
opportunity to defend and to pursue his appeal. To do otherwise would be Practices Act. Garong also filed the same with the Ombudsman.
tantamount to a grave injustice. A relaxation of the rules, considering (I don’t think these two liked each other that much.)
the particular circumstance prevailing in this case justified. 9) On August 26, 1999, the Court Appeals issued a Resolution
granting the Urgent Motion To Quash filed by respondent;
FACTS: lifting the Entry of Judgment; and ordering the Presiding Judge of
1) Alberto V. Garong, employed as Court Interpreter III of the RTC the Regional Trial Court of Calapan, Oriental Mindoro to recall
of Calapan City, Mindoro, Branch 40, was charged with frustrated forthwith the Order of Execution and Warrant of Arrest based on
homicide before Branch 39 of RTC of Calapan City, Mindoro. the void entry of judgment.
2) Presiding Judge Marciano T. Virola rendered judgment finding 10) This liberal judgment by the Court of Appeals was made because
respondent guilty beyond reasonable doubt of frustrated homicide through investigation, it was discovered that respondent was not
and sentencing him to imprisonment of four (4) months of Arresto properly served with notice of the decision against him, which
Mayor, as minimum, to four (4) years and two (2) months of became final on November 15, 1996 (see Fact No. 3) but of
Prision Corrrecional, as maximum, together with accessory which he only learned about on November 21, 1996.
penalties provided by law and to pay the costs. 11) The appellate court found out that while respondent’s former
3) The judgment of the trial court was affirmed by the Court of counsel notified the trial court of his change of address, the copy
Appeals in a Decision promulgated on August 9, 1996, and of the judgment of conviction against respondent was sent
the same became final on November 15, 1996, for which to his old address by registered mail, for which reason it was
Entry of Judgment was accordingly made. returned unserved.
4) Judge Tomas C. Leynes, Executive Judge and Presiding Judge 12) On October 30, 1996, a copy of the decision was also sent to
of the RTC of Calapan City, Oriental Mindoro, Branch 40 (where respondent’s office at Calapan, Oriental Mindoro, but respondent
Garong is employed as a Court Interpreter) wrote a letter to the failed to receive it since he was at that time on official leave in
Office of the Court Administrator (OCA) requesting that Manila from October 1996 up to November 8, 1996. The Court of
respondent Garong be terminated from the service and that his Appeals further found that the service of a copy of the decision
position of Court Interpreter III be declared vacant. to respondent’s officemate, a certain Gabriel Aquino, on
5) With this, OCA then filed a formal Administrative Complaint October 30, 1996, while respondent was on leave, was not valid
against respondent praying for his dismissal from the service with service in the absence of showing that Gabriel Aquino was
forfeiture of all his retirement benefits and leave credits. authorized to receive a copy of the decision in question. (Just like
Author: BLOCK D 2017
how the janitor, Gene Maga, in the Sandoval II vs HRET case Rules prescribing the time within which certain acts must be done,
from Constitution class was deemed as not having the authority or certain proceedings taken, are absolutely indispensable to the
to receive HRET’s summons.) prevention of needless delays and the orderly and speedy discharge
13) Upon being informed of the decision through a long distance of judicial business. Strict compliance with such rules is mandatory
telephone call from Calapan to Manila, respondent checked the and imperative. Nevertheless, procedural rules were conceived to
status of the case with the Court of Appeals. It was only on aid the attainment of justice. If a stringent application of the rules
November 12, 1996 that respondent learned of the appellate would hinder rather than serve the demands of substantial justice,
court’s decision affirming his conviction. On November 21, 1996, the former must yield to the latter.
respondent filed with the Court of Appeals a motion for
reconsideration. DISPOSITION:

ISSUES: WHEREFORE, in view of all the foregoing, the proceedings in the

1. WoN respondent was properly served with the judgment of the administrative complaint against respondent is hereby HELD IN
Court of Appeals. ABEYANCE pending the final outcome of his appeal in (his criminal case)
2. WoN he had filed his motion for reconsideration on time. CA-G.R. CR No. 14852.

Rule 1, Section 6, of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure states that:

SEC. 6. Construction. – These rules shall be liberally construed in

order to promote their objective of securing a just, speedy and
inexpensive disposition of every action and proceeding.

1. No. Based on the foregoing, the Court of Appeals concluded
that respondent was not properly served with notice of the
decision against him. Consequently, the entry of judgment was
premature and, therefore, void.

2. Yes. Respondent’s period to file a motion for reconsideration

should be counted from November 12, 1996, the date he actually
received a copy of the decision. Hence, the Motion for
Reconsideration filed on November 21, 1996 was on time.

***Moreover, the notice of judgment should have been sent to

respondent’s counsel of record’s new address, and the sending of
the same to counsel’s old address was improper and invalid, in
view of the latter’s formal notice of change of address filed on
January 10, 1995. For this reason, respondent’s period to file
motion for reconsideration from said decision could not have
commenced to run.