A.M. No. P-17-3769. December 11, 2017

[A.M. No. P-17-3769. December 11, 2017 ]. OFFICE OF THE COURT ADMINISTRATOR VS. MS. ROSA D. MICIANO, CLERK HI, OFFICE OF THE CLERK OF COURT, REGIONAL TRIAL COURT, CALOOCAN CITY. [Formerly A.M. No. 17-06-141-RTC].

The Court NOTES the Report dated August 18, 2017 of the Office of the Court Administrator (OCA) on the habitual tardiness of Ms. Rosa D. Miciano, Clerk III, Office of the Clerk of Court, RTC, Caloocan City.

In his Report, dated April 4, 2017, Ryan U. Lopez (Lopez), Officer-in-Charge, Employees' Leave Division, Office of the Administrative Services, Office of the Court Administrator (OCA), stated that Rosa D. Miciano (Miciano), Clerk III, Office of the Clerk of Court, Regional Trial Court, Caloocan City, incurred tardiness in March and April 2016 for twelve (12) and eleven (11) times, respectively.

In her Comment, dated July 28, 2017, Miciano admitted her tardiness for the mentioned period, but she explained that it was unintentional. She averred that she transferred residence from Caloocan City to Malolos, Bulacan and that the transfer caused difficulty in adjusting with the travel time to work. She, however, managed to properly adjust and has since been reporting for work on time.

After evaluation, the OCA, in its Agenda Report, dated August 18, 2017, found Miciano guilty of habitual tardiness. As per Civil Service Memorandum Circular No. 23, any employee shall be considered habitually tardy if he incurs tardiness, regardless of the number of minutes, ten (10) times a month for at least two (2) months in a semester or at least two (2) consecutive months during a year.

The OCA stressed the consistent rule that moral obligations, performance of household chores, traffic problems and health conditions, domestic and financial concern are not sufficient reasons to excuse habitual tardiness. It further emphasized that public office is a public trust. Court officials and employees must at all times strictly observe official hours to inspire the public's respect for the justice system.

Therefore, pursuant to Section 46, paragraph F(4), Rule 10 of the Revised Rules on Administrative Cases in the Civil Service, the OCA recommended that Miciano be reprimanded, with a stern warning that a repetition of the same or any similar act shall be dealt with more severely.

ISSUE: What is the proper penalty?

HELD: The Court adopts the recommendation of the OCA. WHEREFORE, Rosa D. Miciano, Clerk III, Office of the Clerk of Court, Regional Trial Court, Caloocan City, is hereby REPRIMANDED for her habitual tardiness and is STERNLY WARNED that a repetition of the same or a similar offense will warrant the imposition of a more severe penalty.
In In re: Sales, the Supreme Court ruled that:

By reason of the nature and functions of their office, officials and employees of the Judiciary must be role models in the faithful observance of the constitutional canon that public office is a public trust. Pursuant to this dictum, the Court issued Memorandum Circular No. 49-2003, dated December 1, 2003, reminding all government officials and employees to be accountable at all times to the people and exercise utmost responsibility, integrity, loyalty and efficiency. They must give every minute of their prescribed official time in the service to the public and must work for every centavo paid to them by the government. This duty calls for the observance of prescribed office hours and the efficient use of official time for public service, if only to recompense the government, and ultimately, the people who shoulder the cost of maintaining the judiciary. Thus, to inspire public respect for the justice system, court officials and employees should at all times strictly observe official time. As punctuality is a virtue, absenteeism and tardiness are impermissible.
It is undisputed that Miciano was habitually tardy for two (2) consecutive months - March and April 2016. The Court also notes her assurance that she would never commit the same infraction again, and in fact, already reports for work on time.

Under Section 46, paragraph F(4), Rule 10 of the Revised Rules on Administrative Cases in the Civil Service, habitual tardiness is listed as one of the light offenses for which reprimand is the appropriate penalty for the first offense. Considering that this is Miciano's first offense, the Court affirms the OCA's recommendation meting out the penalty of reprimand.

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