Republic of the
Trial Court, Branch 36,
- versus -
MARY ANNE C. PASCUA, Court
Stenographer III, same Court,
Respondent. -- -
A.M. No. P-11-2999
[formerly OCA IPI No. 10-3517-P]
CARPIO, J., Chairperson,
February 27, 2012
R E S O L U T I O N
In her complaint-affidavit, complainant Sheila G. del Rosario charges Mary Anne C. Pascua (respondent), Court Stenographer III of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 36, Santiago City, Isabela, with Dishonesty (1) for traveling to Hong Kong from June 1 to 6, 2008 without securing a travel authority from the Supreme Court and for not stating in her leave application her foreign travel; and (2) for misrepresenting in her official documents in the Supreme Court her date of birth as June 27, 1974, when her registered date of birth in the National Statistics Office (NSO) is August 7, 1974.
The Office of the Court Administrator (OCA) directed the respondent to comment on the complaint.
The respondent admitted that she failed to secure a travel authority from the Supreme Court, but explained that it was due to mere inadvertence. She alleged that her true date of birth, as reflected in her baptismal certificate and her marriage contract, is June 27, 1974, and she was in the process of correcting with the NSO her registered date of birth to reflect her true date of birth. She insisted that she did not commit any act of dishonesty.
The OCA recommended that the present matter be redocketed as a regular administrative matter. It found the respondent guilty of violation of reasonable office rules and regulations for traveling abroad without the required travel authority. It recommended that the respondent be reprimanded for her first offense.
The OCA also
found the respondent guilty of simple dishonesty for failing to disclose in her
leave application her foreign travel. It recommended the penalty of suspension for
one (1) month. It noted that the respondent did not commit any dishonesty regarding
the discrepancy in her date of birth since she wanted to reflect her true date
of birth as
We adopt the OCAs findings, but modify the recommended penalties.
OCA Circular No. 49-2003 provides that court personnel who wish to travel abroad must secure a travel authority from the Office of the Court Administrator. Section 67 of the Omnibus Rules on Leave provides that [a]ny violation of the leave laws, rules or regulations, or any misrepresentation or deception in connection with an application for leave shall be a ground for disciplinary action. Under the Uniform Rules on Administrative Cases in the Civil Service, violation of reasonable office rules and regulations is a light offense punishable with the penalty of reprimand for the first offense, suspension of one (1) day to thirty (30) days for the second offense, and dismissal from the service for the third offense.
In this case, since the respondent traveled without securing a travel authority and did not state her foreign travel in her leave application, she is guilty of violating at least two (2) office rules and regulations. These twin violations should be reflected in her penalties, particularly in the second offense failure to state in her leave application her travel abroad which, to our mind, strongly suggests deception on her part amounting to dishonesty. She should be suspended without pay for three (3) months for her twin infractions. Let this be a warning to all who might be minded to risk a one-month suspension if only to avoid disclosing to the Court that they shall be traveling abroad.
We find that the discrepancy in the respondents date of birth in her records does not amount to dishonesty, as she made no false statement. No deliberate intent to mislead, deceive or defraud appears from the cited circumstances of this case. Dishonesty means "the concealment of truth in a matter of fact relevant to one's office or connected with the performance of his duties. It is an absence of integrity, a disposition to betray, cheat, deceive or defraud, bad faith." The respondents date of birth is not a fact directly relevant to her functions or qualification to office or connected with the performance of her duties. Besides, her other records, i.e., baptismal certificate and marriage contract, reflected June 27, 1974 as her true date of birth; she simply wanted to reflect this fact in her records.
Mary Anne C. Pascua, Court Stenographer III of the Regional Trial Court, Branch
ARTURO D. BRION
ANTONIO T. CARPIO
Associate Justice Associate Justice
BIENVENIDO L. REYES
 Memorandum dated
 As amended by Civil Service Commission Memorandum Circular No. 41, s. 1998; Nos. 6, 14 and 24, s. 1999.
by the Civil Service Commission through Resolution No. 99-1936 dated
 Basilla v. Ricafort, A.M. No. P-06-2233,