The Supreme Court has upheld the dismissal from service of a former employee of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) after she was found guilty of committing a crime involving moral turpitude.
In a decision dated June 15, 2022, the SC sustained the 2018 resolution of the Court of Appeals and denied the petition for review filed by Rosa Gonzalbo-Macatangay, who served as secretary in the DFA’s Passport Division.
“The petition is not meritorious. The Court affirms the CA ruling; the imposition of the penalty of dismissal from service is proper,” the SC ruled.
The tribunal noted that Macatangay did not contest that she is guilty of the administrative offense of conviction of a crime involving moral turpitude and that bigamy involves moral turpitude.
Citing the Uniform Rules on Administrative Cases in the Civil Service, the high court said conviction of a crime involving moral turpitude is punishable with dismissal from service.
In 2014, the Civil Service Commission-National Capital Region found Macatangay guilty of the administrative offense and meted the penalty of dismissal from service, along with imposable accessory penalties.
This came after a complaint was filed before the CSC alleging that Modesto Macatangay Jr. married the petitioner in February 1997 while married to another.
The Court of Appeals affirmed the ruling of the CSC in August 2017.
But Macatangay asserted that the CA erred in not considering the mitigating circumstances in her case.
In ruling against Macatangay, the SC stressed that mitigating circumstances such as length of service, first commission, and outstanding performance, cannot be applied.
“The Court rules in the negative. The CA is correct in not appreciating the mitigating circumstances petitioner invokes. The facts of the instant case do not justify the mitigation of the prescribed penalty,” the high court held.
“Bigamy cannot be taken lightly as its commission reflects the person’s character. It involves moral turpitude as settled in jurisprudence,” the SC said.
“Petitioner flagrantly disregarded the law in marrying Modesto despite her knowledge of his prior and existing marriage; as the appellate court aptly observed, this ‘shows her moral depravity and cast[s] serious doubt on her fitness and integrity to continue in the public service’,” the high court added.