By JIGGER J. JERUSALEM
THE Supreme Court (SC) has dismissed a clerk of court in Misamis Oriental for taking a computer set used by a stenographer which may have contained confidential details on certain cases.
Terminated by the SC was Lou Laranjo, clerk of court of the Municipal Circuit Trial Court (MCTC) covering the towns of Lugait, Manticao and Naawan, Misamis Oriental.
SC posted the order on its website on July 12, 2019.
According to SC, it found Laranjo “guilty of grave misconduct and serious dishonesty.”
The high court also “perpetually disqualified him from holding public office and forfeited his retirement benefits, except accrued leave credits.”
SC said Laranjo’s dismissal stemmed from a letter-report of MCTC presiding Judge Renato Arroyo to the Office of the Court Administrator, who said the former clerk “surreptitiously took away” the computer set used by MCTC court stenographer Neza Malinao and returned it to the municipality of Naawan, which had earlier donated it to the court.
The computer, SC said, allegedly contained sensitive information, such as the identities and testimonies of confidential agents and informants in search warrant applications in illegal drug cases.
“Laranjo’s act was arbitrary and unauthorized as the computer set was taken during nighttime and on a weekend,” the SC said, although it did not specify the day and time the computer unit was taken.
SC said it concurred with the findings and recommendations of the Office of the Court Administrator (OCA) which found substantial evidence against Laranjo.
It said the SC ruled that aside from the lack of authorization, the records are “bereft of any credible justification on Laranjo’s part as to why he pursued such course of action.”
Laranjo could not be reached for comment at presstime.