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On October 28, 2010, the OCA sent a telegram3 to Cabrera requiring him to submit a medical certificate to support his applications for leave. Cabrera, however, did not comply.

On December 1, 2010, the OCA forwarded Cabrera's applications for sick leave to the Office of Dr. Prudencio Banzon, Jr. (Dr. Banzon, Jr.), Senior Chief Judicial Staff Officer of the Court,4 which also disapproved said application due to lack of proper documentation.5 The OCA sent another telegram to Cabrera on December 1, 2010, requiring him to submit his DTRs for October, and November 2010. Once again, Cabrera failed to comply.

In a letter dated December 9, 2010, Percival C. Bañaga, the MTCC Branch Clerk of Court, informed the OCA that Cabrera had continuously failed to report for work without leave since October 20, 2010 up to the present and that he had not filed his DTRS for the months of October and

November 2010.

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This prompted the OCA to send two (2) tracer letters to Cabrera one to his residential address and another to his court station, directing that he submit his DTRs for the months of October and November 2010. This time, the OCA warned Cabrera that his name would be recommended for dropping from the rolls if he failed to comply.

Despite being served the tracer letters9 Cabrera failed to heed the directive of the OCA. Thus, on December 9, 2010, the OCA issued its Memorandum 10 ordering the withholding of Cabrera's salaries and benefits.

In its evaluation of the matter, the OCA submitted its Agenda Report11 dated May 17, 2011, wherein, referring to Section 63,

Id. at 19.

11 Id. at 1-4.

Rule XVI of the Omnibus Rules on Leave it recommended that Cabrera's name be dropped from the rolls for being absent without leave (AWOL). The OCA further recommended that Cabrera's position be declared vacant and that he be informed at his residential address on record of his

separation from the service or the dropping of his name from the rolls.

The OCA Report also informed the Court that upon verification, Cabrera had not filed any application for retirement and that no previous administrative complaint had been filed against him.

The OCA's recommendation is welltaken.

Pursuant to Section 63, Rule XVI of the Omnibus Rules on Leave, as amended by Civil Service Resolution No. 070631, an employee's absence without official leave for at least 30 working days warrants his separation from the service. The Rule specifically provides:

Sec. 63. Effect of absences without approved leave.-An official or employee who is continuously absent without approved leave for at least thirty (30) working days shall be considered on absence without official leave (AWOL) and shall be separated from the service or dropped from the rolls without prior notice. However, when it is clear under the obtaining circumstances that the official or employee concerned, has established a scheme to circumvent the rule by incurring substantial absences though less than thirty working (30) days 3x in a semester, such that pattern is already apparent, dropping from the rolls without notice may likewise be justified.

If the number of unauthorized absences incurred is less than thirty (30) working days, a written Return-to-Work-Order shall be served to him at his last known address on record. Failure on his part to report for work within the period stated in the order shall be valid ground to drop him from the rolls.

In this connection, Section 63, Rule XVI, of the Omnibus Civil Service Rules and Regulations as amended by Circular No. 14, s. 1999, provides:

Section 63. Effect of the absences without approved leave. -An official or employee who is continuously absent without approved leave for at least (30) calendar days shall be considered on

absence without official leave (AWOL) and shall be separated from the service or dropped from the rolls without prior notice. He shall, however, be informed, at his address appearing on his 201 files, of his separation from the service, not later than five (5) days from its effectivity.

Every so often, it has been declared that any act which falls short of the exacting standards for public office, espècially on the part of those expected to preserve the image of the judiciary, shall not be countenanced.12 Indeed, a public office is a public trust. Public officers must at all times be accountable to the people, serve them with the utmost degree of responsibility, integrity, loyalty, and efficiency. 13

By going on AWOL, Cabrera grossly disregarded and neglected the duties of his office. He failed to adhere to the high standards of public accountability imposed on all those in government service.14

Specifically for court personnel, their conduct and behavior are circumscribed with the heavy burden of responsibility. This Court shall not tolerate any act or omission on the part of all those involved in the administration of justice which would violate the norm of public accountability and diminish or tend to diminish the faith of the people in the judiciary.15

Under Section 2 (2.6), Rule XII of the Revised Omnibus Rules on Appointments and Other Personnel Actions, the dropping

12

from the rolls as a mode of separation from service is "non-disciplinary in nature and shall not result in the forfeiture of any benefits on the part of the official or employee nor in disqualifying him from Reemployment in the government."

While there is jurisprudence16 to the effect that a court employee's AWOL for a prolonged period of time warrants the penalty of dismissal from the service and the forfeiture of his benefits, the Court, given the circumstances of the case, is inclined to adhere the evaluation and recommendation of the OCA, and refrain from the imposing the administrative penalties of forfeiture of benefits and disqualification from re-employment.

Wherefore, Cornelio Reniette Cabrera, Utility Worker I of the Municipal Trial Court in Cities, Branch 1 of Lipa City, is hereby DROPPED from the rolls of the service and his position is hereby declared VACANT.

Let a copy of this resolution be served upon Cornelio Reniette Cabrera at his address appearing on his 201 files pursuant to Section 63, Rule XVI of the Omnibus Civil Service Rules and Regulations, as amended.

So ORDERED.

Carpio,* Velasco, Jr., Abad and Sereno, JJ., concur.

16 Re: Absence Without Official Leave (AWOL) of Antonio Macalintal, Process Server, Office of the Clerk of Court, A.M. No. 99-11-06-SC, 384 Phil. 314 (2000).

13 Id., citing Rangel-Roque v. Rivota, 362 Phil. 136 (1999), citing Gano v. Leonen, A.M. No. P-82-756, 232 SCRA 98, May 3, 1994.

14 Re: Absence Without Official Leave of Ms. Fernandita B. Borja, A.M. No. 06-1-10-MCTC, April 13, 2007.

15 Re: Absence Without Official Leave of Mr. Basri A. Abbas, A.M. No. 06-2-96-RTC, 486 SCRA 32, March 31, 2006.

**

Re: Absence Without Official Leave (AWOL) of Mr. Jayson S. Tayros, Process Server, Regional Trial Court, Branch 31, Dumaguete City A.M. No. 05-8-514-RTC, 505 Phil. 495 (2005); Loyao, Jr., V. Manatad, A.M, No. P-99-1398 Phil. 337 (2000).

'Designated as additional member in lieu of Justice Diosdado M. Peralta per Special Order No. 1029 dated June 30, 2011.

**Designated as additional member of the Third Division per Special Order No. 1028 dated June 21, 2011.

MGA HATOL NG HUKUMAN NG APELASYON [DECISIONS OF THE COURT OF APPEALS]

ARNEL D. MACAPAGAL
COURT OF APPEALS REPORTER

[SP No. 107099. April 26, 2010] NEDIE DE VERA, ALLAN DE VERA, BENJAMIN DE VERA, LANA DE VERA LIM, and CONCEPCIÓN D. DAYRIT, petitioners, vs. REGIONAL TRIAL COURT OF SORSOGON CITY, BRANCH 51, respondent.

IS

1. REMEDIAL LAW; JURISDICTION; ACT NO. 496 (THE LAND REGISTRATION ACT); CORRECTION OF ENTRIES; NOTICE TO ALL PARTIES IN INTEREST NECESSARY BEFORE A COURT MAY ACT ON PETITIONS FOR CORRECTION OF ENTRIES.-From the foregoing, it is clear that notice to all parties in interest is necessary before a court may act on petitions for correction. Yet, a cursory review of the records reveals that the petitioners failed to notify the appropriate Register of Deeds and Ayo, et al. when they instituted the subject petition, explaining that the instant petition for correction of entry/ies is merely an ex-parte proceeding. However, an ex-parte proceeding presupposes the existence of an enforceable right of petitioners with no adverse party to oppose it. An ex-parte proceeding merely means that it is taken or granted at the instance of and for the benefit of one party, and without notice to or contestation by any party who may be adversely affected by it.

2. ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; THE REQUIRED NOTICE IS NECESSARY TO GIVE JURISDICTION TO THE COURT OVER THE PETITION; FAILURE TO COMPLY WITH THE NOTICE REQUIREMENT OF THE LAW WILL RENDER ALL ORDERS ISSUED BY THE COURT AS NULL AND VOID.-As early as Patingo vs. Pelayo, it was already held that while any registered owner or person in interest may petition the court for the correction of a title on the ground that an error, omission, or mistake was made in entering a certificate or any memorandum thereon, or on any duplicate certificate, the court can only act on it after notice to all parties in interest has been made, which notice may be served either by the petitioner or by order of the court. Such notice is necessary to give jurisdiction to the court over the petition. It in fact, is mandated by Section 112 of Act No. 496, as amended, which says that "the court shall have jurisdiction to hear and determine the petition after notice to all parties in interest."

* Court of Appeals Reports Annotated, Vol. 48.

In sum, the RTC's assailed Orders are null and void, not because of infirmities raised by the petitioners in this petition but on the basic ground that it failed to comply with the notice requirement as mandated by law. ORIGINAL ACTION in the Court of Appeals. The facts are stated in the opinion of the Court.

Jesus M. Bautista for petitioners. The Solicitor General for respondent. VELOSO, J.:

The Case

Before Us is a Petition for Certiorari1 assailing the Orders dated June 04, 2008,2 September 10, 2008,3 and November 06, 20084 of the Regional Trial Court of Sorsogon City" ("RTC") in SP Proc. No. 2008-7893 entitled "PETITION FOR CORRECTION OF ENTRY/IES UPON ORIGINAL CERTIFICATE OF TITLE NO. P-9010 OF THE REGISTRY OF DEEDS FOR THE PROVINCE OF SORSOGON, NEDIE DE VERA; ALLAN DE VERA; BENJAMIN DE VERA; LANA DE VERA LIM; CONCEPCION D. DAYRIT, Petitioners.", the dispositive portions of which read:

(1) Order dated June 04, 2008:

"As the instant petition failed to implead the said indispensable parties whose hereditary rights to the property subject of this petition may be affected if the same is granted, the petition is hereby dismissed motu proprio, without prejudice to whatever other remedy the petitioners may choose to avail of in this instant.

SO ORDERED.";

(2) Order dated September 10, 2008:

"WHEREFORE, finding the merit in the Motion for Reconsideration, the same is hereby GRANTED. The order of dismissal dated June 4, 2008 is therefore cancelled or set aside. However, the petitioners are ordered to amend the petition impleading the indispensable parties.

1 Rollo pp. 10-35. 2 Ibid., pp. 40-41.

3. Ibid., pp. 38-39.

4 lbid., p. 37.

5 Branches 51 and 52.

6 Rollo, p. 41.

(3) Order dated November 06, 2008:

"Accordingly, the Partial Motion for Reconsideration is DENIED for lack of merit.

SO ORDERED." (emphasis supplied)

The Facts

Petitioners Nedie de Vera. Allan de Vera, Benjamin de Vera, Lana de Vera Lim and Concepcion C. Dayrit (hereinafter referred to as the "De Veras") claim that they are the known surviving legitimate heirs of Alfredo Y. de Vera ("Alfredo") and Dolores Lim-de Vera ("Dolores"), a.k.a. Dayche Lim de Vera a.k.a. Dolores Lim Le Chi. The De Veras allege that on July 31, 1936, Alfredo and Dolores were legally married in Amoy, China. Subsequently, Alfredo and Dolores came to the Philippines and were married anew in Manila on September 15, 1951. In the course of their marriage, Alfredo acquired two parcels of land in Barrio Buenavista, Sorsogon, Sorsogon which was covered by Original Certificate of Title No. P-9010 and Original Certificate of Title No. P-9011.

Petitioners further allege that when OCT No. P-9010 was issued on December 04, 1968, Alfredo was inadvertently described as *** married to Rosalina Ayo when in truth and in fact he was not.9

Alfredo de Vera died 10 intestate on December 31, 1986 while Dolores died11 intestate on September 13, 1995.

Meanwhile, on October 10, 1991, Rosalina Ayo and the purported heirs of Alfredo de Vera ("Ayo, et al.") with her, filed a Complaint12 against the De Veras for Partition, Accounting, Specific Performance with Prayer for Receivership and Damages with the Regional Trial Court of Sorsogon City, docketed as Civil Case No. 91-5668. The complaint sought the partition of that parcel of land covered by OCT No. P-9011, which allegedly was a conjugal property of Alfredo de Vera and Rosalina Ayo.

8 lbid., p. 37.

9 Rollo, p. 14.

10 Ibid., p. 81.

11 Ibid., p. 82.

12 Rollo, pp. 48-51.

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On March 18, 2008, the De Veras filed the subject petition for correction of entry/ies of OCT. No. P-9010.19 The same was raffled off to Branch 52 of the Regional Trial Court of Sorsogon City and docketed as Sp. Proc. No. 2008-7893.

On June 04, 2008, the RTC issued the first assailed Order20 dismissing Sp. Proc. No. 2008-7893 motu proprio due to the failure of the De Veras to implead Ayo, et al. as indispensable parties, viz.:

"Upon perusal of the records of the petition filed before this Court and the attached decision in CAGR CV No. 58035, it would appear that it is not only the herein petitioners who have an interest over the subject property but their half-siblings who were the plaintiffs-appellees in the aforementioned case, as well. After all, the Original Certificate of Title subject of this case is registered in the name of the petitioners' father, in this wise, 'Alfredo Y. De Vera married to Rosalina Ayo', the latter being the mother of the said half-siblings. It is the opinion of this Court that the children of Rosalina Ayo must be impleaded as indispensable parties in order to have a judicious adjudication of this case, but not in the present petition which is an action against the whole world, so to speak. The Court of Appeals in its decision in CA-GR CV No. 58035, even hinted that if filiation between the petitioners' father, Alfredo Y. De Vera and the children of Rosalina Ayo was proven, the latter would have an interest over the property subject in that case as heirs of Alfredo De Vera. Said the Court of Appeals:

evidence was utilized by the appellees to substantiate their contention that they are the legal heirs of Alfredo de Vera.'

The Original Certificate of Title of the property subject of the present petition for correction is also in the name of Alfredo Y. De Vera married to Rosalina Ayo and obviously, would have been included in the suit of Rosalina Ayo's children against the petitioners in this case if they had known about its existence. In the course of the trial in the lower court and in the appealed case, the present petitioners never mentioned the existence of a second title in the name of Alfredo Y. De Vera and Rosalina Ayo either through inadvertence or by design. However, the more obvious reason for their reticence is that they were keeping said existence from their alleged half-siblings because if the said second title to the property is included for adjudication in the original case and in the event of an adverse decision against them, they would have at least retained the whole possession of the property covered by the unrevealed title since their alleged half-siblings were unaware about it. But fortunately or unfortunately for them, depending on the context in which the Court of Appeals decision is to be viewed, they won their appealed case which became the basis for their cause of action in this petition. But said Court of Appeals decision is only res judicata as regards the property covered by Original Certificate of Title No. P-9011 and such cannot be the basis of the grant of their prayer for correction of Original Certificate of Title No. P-9010 in the present petition, said property being unknown to the Court of Appeals at the time it decided the case, and hence could not have adjudicated upon it."21 (emphasis and underscoring supplied)

The De Veras moved for reconsideration22 and for the inhibition/

'This Court is not unmindful of the principle disqualification of Hon. Judge Victor C. Gella

that due recognition of an illegitimate child in a
record of birth, a will, a statement before a court
of record, or in any authentic writing is, in itself,
a consummated act of acknowledgment of the
child. However, the Sworn Statement of Alfredo
de Vera is short of establishing appellees' filiation
because he failed to identify the names of the
nine (9) children he sired with Rosalina Ayo.
Illegitimate children are allowed to establish their
claimed filiation by "any other means allowed
by the Rules of Court and special laws”, like his
baptismal certificate, a judicial admission, a
family Bible in which his name has been entered,
common reputation respecting his pedigree,
admission by silence, the testimonies of
witnesses, and other kinds of proof admissible
under Rule 130 of the Rules of Court.
Unfortunately, none of the aforementioned

19 Ibid., pp. 83-88.
20 Note 2, supra.

as well as the re-raffle of the petition.23

On July 21, 2008, Judge Gella issued an Order24 inhibiting himself from the case. As a result, the petition for correction of OCT No. P-9010 was re-raffled to Branch 51 of the RTC of Sorsogon City.

On September 10, 2008, the RTC issued the second assailed Order25 which, though granting the granting the De Veras' motion for reconsideration, still ordered them to amend the petition and implead Ayo, et. al. as

21 Rollo, pp. 40-41.
22 Ibid., pp. 89-94.
23 lbid., pp. 95-99.
24 Ibid., p. 100.
25 Note 3, supra.

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