In Re: Habitual Tardiness (A.M. No. 2010-11-SC; March 15, 2011)


FACTS: This administrative matter emanated from the reports made by the Leave Division under the Office of Administrative Services (OAS) to the Complaints and Investigation Division, also under the OAS, to the effect that several employees had been habitually tardy in the second semester of 2009. The OAS directed the concerned employees to explain in writing why no administrative disciplinary action should be taken against them for their habitual tardiness during the covered period, which habitual tardiness was in violation of Civil Service Commission (CSC) Memorandum Circular No. 04, Series of 1991. The concerned employees subsequently rendered their respective explanations.

The OAS concluded that the concerned employees had incurred habitual tardiness and that their justifications were unacceptable.

ISSUE: Are the employees guilty of habitual tardiness?HELD: It is a canon under the Constitution that a public office is a public trust.This canon includes the mandate for the observance of prescribed office hours and the efficient use of every moment of such hours for the public service, because only thereby may the public servants recompense the Government and the people for shouldering the costs of maintaining the Judiciary. Accordingly, court officials and employees must at all times strictly observe official hours to inspire the public's respect for the justice system.

There is no question that all the concerned employees incurred habitual tardiness within the context of CSC Memorandum Circular No. 04, Series of 1991. Thereby, they fell short of the standard of conduct demanded from everyone connected with the administration of justice.Worthy of stress is that the nature and functions of the employment of the officials and employees of the Judiciary require them to be role models in the faithful observance of the constitutional canon that public office is a public trust. They are always accountable to the people, whom they must serve with utmost responsibility, integrity, loyalty, and efficiency. They can surely inspire public respect for the justice system by strictly observing official time, among others. Absenteeism and tardiness are, therefore, impermissible.

The employees are GUILTY of habitual tardiness.

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