5 June 2021 – A cashier at the Register of Deeds of Davao City was formally charged by the Civil Service Commission (CSC) after the Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) filed a complaint against her for neglect of duty.

In her seven-page decision dated 13 April 2021, Atty. Aileen Lourdes A. Lizada, CSC Commissioner, charged Soleta T. Taleon for violation of Section 21(f) of Republic Act No. 11032 or the Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Government Service Delivery Act of 2018.

Lizada said Taleon committed neglect of duty and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service.

The case stemmed from an administrative complaint filed by ARTA on 17 September 2019.

On 30 August 2019, ARTA officials, including Secretary Jeremiah Belgica, conducted an on-the-spot inspection at the Register of Deeds of Davao City.

This, after the Authority received numerous complaints on the slow delivery of services at the said office.

During the inspection, ARTA officials noticed that Taleon left her post and placed a notice at her station that she is on lunch break. It was also noted that the cashier did not have a reliever. This is a violation of the No Noon Break Policy indicated in R.A. No. 11032.

The Authority sent Taleon a Notice to Explain on 4 September 2019.

In her explanation dated 11 September 2019, the cashier said that she does not have a reliever because of the stringent bond requirements for the position. She said they have requested for an alternate cashier and have begun accepting applications for the position, but they have yet to see anyone qualify.

Taleon also appealed for her to be allowed a few minutes to eat her lunch. She said she did not use up the one-hour lunch break as she had to quickly return to her post to attend to the clients.

But ARTA said she cannot be given this exemption.

“Apropos is the maxim duralex, sedlex, or the law may be harsh but it is the law. A careful reading of Section 21 (f) will show that the law did not contemplate any exemption as such, neither can this Honorable Commission admit of such exemption. Verily, this is the very essence of public service,” the Authority said in its complaint.

Taleon was given 10 days to submit her answer in writing and under oath. She was also advised to indicate if she wanted a formal investigation of the charges against her. She was also informed of her right to be assisted by a counsel of her choice.

The CSC Regional Office XI in Davao City was also ordered to conduct a formal investigation on the matter and submit a report after 15 days.