By Benjamin Pulta

(PNA file photo)

MANILA – The Supreme Court (SC) has cleared a municipal court sheriff in administrative charges filed against her by a farmers group accusing the court worker of gross misconduct in enforcing a demolition order in South Cotabato, Mindanao.

In its resolution published online Jan. 17, the high court said it has adopted the findings of the Judicial Integrity Board (JIB) clearing Ma. Hazel P. Serbial in the administrative charges filed by Joselito G. Abordo, the president of the Mindanao Unified Farmers Association Inc. (MUFAI).

The complainant claimed the sheriff, in serving a writ of demolition and final notice to vacate issued by a court over a parcel of land in a property dispute, acted oppressively and arbitrarily.

The JIB recommended the dismissal of the administrative complaint after it noted that the sheriff had been verbally abused by the complainants while serving the writ and had in fact reported the same with the local police.

In clearing Serbial, the tribunal explained that in administrative proceedings, complainants bear the burden of proving the allegations in their complaints by substantial evidence.

“If they (complainants) fail to show in a satisfactory manner the facts upon which their claims are based respondents are not obliged to prove their exception or defense. The respondent should be competent and should be derived from direct knowledge,” the court said. (PNA)