CASE BRIEF 2019-0006

CASE: Re: Dropping from the rolls of Laydabell G. Pijana, Sheriff IV in the Regional Trial Court of Tagaytay City, Cavite, Branch 18 [A.M. No. 18-07-153-RTC, January 07, 2019]

PONENTE: Perlas-Bernabe, J.:

SUBJECT:
a) Administrative Law:  Dropping from the Rolls; Effect

FACTS:
The records of the Office of the Court Administrator (OCA) show that Ms. Laydabell G. Pijana, Sheriff IV in the Regional Trial Court of Tagaytay City, Cavite, Branch 18 has neither submitted her Daily Time Record (DTR) since March 1, 2018 up to the present nor filed any application for leave. Hence, she has been absent without official leave for more than thirty (30) working days.

In its report and recommendation, the OCA recommended that Pijana be dropped from the rolls effective March 1, 2018for having been absent without official leave for more than thirty (30) working days.

ISSUE:

(A) Whether Pijana should be dropped from the rolls.

(B) If dropped from the rolls, will it result to the forfeiture of any benefits which have accrued in her favor, or in her disqualification in the government service?

RULING:

(A)     Section 107, Rule 20 of the 2017 Rules on Administrative Cases in the Civil Service (2017 RACCS)authorizes and provides the procedure for the dropping from the rolls of employees who are absent without approved leave for an extended period of time. Pertinent portions of this provision read:

“Section 107. Grounds and Procedure for Dropping from the Rolls. ­ Officers and employees who are absent without approved leave, x x x may be dropped from the rolls within thirty (30) days from the time a ground therefor arises subject to the following procedures:

a. Absence Without Approved Leave

1. An official or employee who is continuously absent without official leave (AWOL) for at least thirty (30) working days may be dropped from the rolls without prior notice which shall take effect immediately.

He/she shall, however, have the right to appeal his/her separation within fifteen (15) days from receipt of the notice of separation which must be sent to his/her last known address. x x x x”

Based on the above provision, Pijana should be separated from the service or dropped from the rolls in view of her continued absence since March 1, 2018.

Indeed, prolonged unauthorized absence causes inefficiency in the public service. A court employee’s continued absence without leave disrupts the normal functions of the court. It contravenes the duty of a public servant to serve with the utmost degree of responsibility, integrity, loyalty, and efficiency. The Court stresses that a court personnel’s conduct is laden with the heavy burden of responsibility to uphold public accountability and maintain people’s faith in the judiciary.

By failing to report for work without filing any leave application since March 1, 2018, Pijana grossly disregarded and neglected the duties of her office. Undeniably, she failed to adhere to the high standards of public accountability imposed on all those in the government service.

(B)     The instant case is non-disciplinary in nature. Thus, Pijana’s separation from the service shall result neither in the forfeiture of any benefits which have accrued in her favor, nor in her disqualification in the government service.

Section 110, 2017 RRACCS states thus:

“Section 110. Dropping from the Rolls; Non-disciplinary in Nature. -This mode of separation from the service for unauthorized absences xxxx is non-disciplinary in nature and shall not result in the forfeiture of any benefit on the part of the official or employee or in disqualification from reemployment in the government.”

Read related case brief: A.M. No. 17-12-135-MeTC, April 16, 2018 – RE: DROPPING FROM THE ROLLS OF MR. ARNO D. DEL ROSARIO, COURT STENOGRAPHER II, BRANCH 41, METROPOLITAN TRIAL COURT (METC), QUEZON CITY.

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THINGS DECIDED:

A)      An official or employee who is continuously absent without official leave (AWOL) for at least thirty (30) working days may be dropped from the rolls without prior notice which shall take effect immediately.

B)       Dropping from the rolls as a mode of separation from the service for unauthorized absences is non-disciplinary in nature and shall not result in the forfeiture of any benefit on the part of the official or employee or in disqualification from reemployment in the government.

 ‘Stand by things decided’ ~ Stare Decisis


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