OCA inserts issue NOT earlier raised in admin. case; SC rejects it as violation of due process

Respondent was indicted only for alleged immorality for giving birth out of wedlock. It was the only charge of which she was informed. Judge Abella's investigation focused solely on that matter. Thus, the recommendation of the OCA that she be held administratively liable in connection with an entry in the birth certificate of Christian Jeon came like a thief in the night. It was unwarranted. Respondent was neither confronted with it nor given the chance to explain it. 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 ones side, whether written or verbal. This presupposes that one has been previously apprised of the accusation against him or her. Here, respondent was deprived of both with regard to her alleged unbecoming conduct in relation to a certain statement in the birth certificate of her child.

An employee must be informed of the charges proferred against him, and the normal way by which the employee is so informed is by furnishing him with a copy of the charges against him. This is a basic procedural requirement that cannot [be] dispense[d] with and still remain consistent with the constitutional provision on due process. The second minimum requirement is that the employee charged with some misfeasance or malfeasance must have a reasonable opportunity to present his side of the matter, that is to say, his defenses against the charges levelled against him and to present evidence in support of his defense(s).

One's employment is not merely a specie of property rights. It is also the means by which he and those who depend on him live. It is therefore protected by the guarantee of security of tenure. And in the civil service, this means that no government employee may be removed, suspended or disciplined unless for cause provided by law and after due process. Unless the constitutional guarantee of due process is a mere platitude, it is the Courts duty to insist on its observance in all cases involving a deprivation, denigration or dilution of ones right to life, liberty and property. (A.M. No. P-07-2333; December 19, 2007)