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PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT DECISIONS

FIRST DIVISION

[A.M. NO. 06-1-10-MCTC : April 13, 2007]

RE: ABSENCE WITHOUT OFFICIAL LEAVE (AWOL) OF MS. FERNANDITA B. BORJA, Clerk II of Branch 15, Municipal Circuit Trial Court of Bilar, Bohol.

R E S O L U T I O N

CORONA, J.:

This administrative matter concerns Ms. Fernandita B. Borja, clerk II in Branch 15 of the Municipal Circuit Trial Court (MCTC) of Bilar, Bohol.

In a letter dated July 1, 2005, Maria Rhoda S. Anub, clerk of court of Branch 15, MCTC Bilar, Bohol, informed the Leave Division of the Office of the Court Administrator (OCA) that Borja filed an application for a 3-month vacation leave (for an overseas trip) effective August 23, 2004 but left the country without waiting for the approval of her authority to travel abroad. She has not reported for work since then. Anub stated that Borja may already be considered on absence without official leave (AWOL). She recommended her (Borja's) dropping from the rolls.

Anub's letter was duly noted by Judge Leo Moises Lison, presiding judge of Branch 15, MCTC Bilar, Bohol.

Acting on the letter, the OCA Leave Division found the following: Borja has not submitted her daily time records/bundy cards since August 2004; she did not file any application for vacation leave within that period; she was excluded from the payroll effective July 2005 because the checks issued to her were returned unclaimed; despite several directives from the OCA, she still has not reported back to work. Thus, the OCA recommends that Borja be dropped from the rolls and her position declared vacant.

We agree with the OCA's recommendation.

Rule XVI, Section 63 of the Omnibus Civil Service Rules and Regulations, as amended by Circular No. 14, s. 1999, provides:

Section 63. Effect of absences without approved leave. - An official or employee who is continuously absent without approved leave for at least thirty (30) calendar days shall be considered on absence without official leave (AWOL) and shall be separated from the service or dropped from the rolls without prior notice. He shall, however, be informed, at his address appearing on his 201 files, of his separation from the service, not later than five (5) days from its effectivity. x x x (emphasis supplied)

Under Civil Service rules, therefore, Borja should be separated from the service or dropped from the rolls by reason of her continued unauthorized absence since August 2004.

A court employee's absence without leave for a prolonged period of time disrupts the normal functions of the court. It constitutes conduct prejudicial to the best interest of public service.1 It contravenes a public servants' duty to serve the public with the utmost degree of responsibility, integrity, loyalty and efficiency. It also manifests disrespect for her superiors and colleagues, in particular, and for the service and the public at large, in general.

By going on AWOL, Borja has grossly disregarded and neglected the duties of her office. She has failed to adhere to the highest standards of public accountability imposed on those in government service.ςηαñrοblεš νιr†υαl lαω lιbrαrÿ

The conduct of all court personnel is circumscribed with the heavy burden of responsibility. This Court cannot countenance any act or omission on the part of all those involved in the administration of justice found violating the norm of public accountability and diminishing or tending to diminish the faith of the people in the judiciary.2

The prejudice caused by a court employee's prolonged unauthorized absence is both great and grave. It impedes the dispensation of justice which is the essential function of the courts. One who delays justice denies justice.

WHEREFORE, Ms. Fernandita B. Borja, clerk II in Branch 15 of the Municipal Circuit Trial Court of Bilar, Bohol is hereby DROPPED from the rolls and her position declared VACANT.

Let a copy of this resolution be served on Borja at her address appearing on her 201 file pursuant to Rule XVI, Section 63 of the Omnibus Civil Service Rules and Regulations, as amended.

SO ORDERED.

Endnotes:


1 Re: Absence Without Official Leave of Mr. Basri A. Abbas, A.M. No. 06-2-96-RTC, 31 March 2006, 486 SCRA 32.

2 Id.




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