Supreme Court affirms ex-DFA employee's dismissal for bigamy

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 04 2022 05:37 PM

MANILA — The Supreme Court has upheld the dismissal from service of a former employee of the Department of Foreign Affairs, who was previously convicted of the crime of bigamy.

The petitioner had assailed the rulings of the Court of Appeals, which affirmed the Civil Service Commission's (CSC) 2015 decision and resolution dismissing her from service for the administrative offense of conviction for a crime involving moral turpitude.

In a decision penned by Justice Ramon Paul Hernando, the Supreme Court found the petition “not meritorious.” 
 
The petitioner did not contest that she was guilty of both the administrative and criminal offenses. What she assailed was the CSC’s imposition of the penalty of dismissal from service upon the finding of her administrative guilty, the SC said in a press release. 

“Bigamy cannot be taken lightly as its commission reflects the person’s character. It involves moral turpitude as settled in jurisprudence," reads the 10-page decision. 

The DFA employee allegedly married her husband despite his existing marriage. His first wife filed a complaint before the CSC in 2002. 

The complainant later filed a criminal case for bigamy before a Regional Trial Court (RTC). The petitioner and her husband pleaded guilty, resulting to their conviction for bigamy, the Supreme Court said. 

It said that in her counter-affidavit, the petitioner alleged, among others, that her husband asked her to marry him when she became pregnant with his child, and that she had no knowledge of his previous existing marriage when she agreed to marry him.
 
The petitioner claimed that in 2004, a Regional Trial Court declared the previous marriage of her husband null and void. 

Under CSC rules, conviction for a crime involving moral turpitude is punishable with dismissal from service upon first commission, the Supreme Court said. 

It added the CA was correct in not appreciating the mitigating circumstances ― such as the length of service, first commission, and outstanding performance ― that the petitioner invoked. 

The invocation has no basis under CSC rules, which clearly state that a first-time offender shall be dismissed from service, the Supreme Court said. 

The SC added the petitioner "flagrantly disregarded the law" in marrying her husband despite his prior and existing marriage, which the appellate court said "shows her moral depravity and cast[s] serious doubt on her fitness and integrity to continue in the public service."