Tuesday, June 8, 2021

SC clears sheriff in auction bid case

  A COURT  sheriff has been cleared by the Supreme Court (SC) in an administrative case for alleged abuse of authority. 

In a recent resolution, the SC’s Second Division dismissed the complaint against Manila Regional Trial Court sheriff Sean Raphael Alhambra regarding an auction bidding, noting that in the absence of factual or legal basis for the charge, the case must be dismissed.

The complainant, Mary Magdalene Cerrada, charged Alhambra of abuse of authority in connection with the sale of two real properties owned by Jimmy Go.

Cerrada claimed the sheriff did not accept her bid on the day of the auction even if she was there. She said she was told the auction was over.

Despite her insistence, the sheriff refused to accept her bid, prompting her to claim that the auction sale was rigged and that her name was not on the list of bidders.

The sheriff countered he promptly informed all parties including the complainant, who introduced herself as Go’s sister, they had until 2 p.m. to submit sealed bids.

When the final call for bidding lapsed and as the sheriff was writing the summary of the minutes, the complainant arrived.

The sheriff declined and explained that the bidding had already ended.

Two lawyers who took part in the bidding and submitted the prevailing bid of PHP2.7 million, Luz Panganiban and Jacob Ballos, asked the complainant to show her bid and open her envelope to prove that it contained a check amounting to her purported bid of PHP4 million.

The complainant declined and later filed an administrative complaint.

The Office of the Court Administrator said the bidding was already closed when the complainant returned to their office to submit her bid and the sheriff cannot be faulted for declining her late bid.

“It is settled that allegation does not amount to proof,” the SC ruled, adding that “bare allegation of abuse of authority, sans any supporting evidence, will not hold respondent administratively liable”. (Benjamin Pulta)

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