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Anonymous v. Radam, AM P-07-2333, 19 December 2007, First Division Resolution
Whether or not respondent be dismissed for her conduct.
No. The Court held the dismissal of the administrative complaint against the respondent, but was advised to be more circumspect in her personal and official actuations in the future. In the determination of administrative responsibility, giving birth out of wedlock is not per se immoral under civil service laws.
For such conduct to warrant disciplinary action, the same must be "grossly immoral," that is, it must be so corrupt and false as to constitute a criminal act or so unprincipled as to be reprehensible to a high degree. In Estrada v. Escritor, we emphasized that in determining whether the acts complained of constitute "disgraceful and immoral behavior" under civil service laws, the distinction between public and secular morality on the one hand, and religious morality, on the other should be kept in mind. The distinction between public and secular morality as expressed — albeit not exclusively — in the law, on the one hand, and religious morality, on the other, is important because the jurisdiction of the Court extends only to public and secular morality.14 Thus, government action, including its proscription of immorality as expressed in criminal law like adultery or concubinage, must have a secular purpose.
In the case at bar, it was not disputed that the father of her child was unmarried. Therefore, the respondent cannot be held liable for disgraceful and immoral conduct simply because she gave birth to the child Christian Jeon out of wedlock. She was indicted only because of giving birth out of wedlock which the investigation focused solely on. Hence, OCA’s recommendation that she be held administratively liable for not stating the name of her child’s father in the birth certificate is like a thief in the night as the respondent was not given any change to explain her side. To hold her liable for a totally different charge of which she was totally unaware will violate her right to due process. The essence of due process in an administrative proceeding is the opportunity to explain one’s side, whether written or verbal