Thursday, January 21, 2016

Mary Jane Abanag vs. Nicolas B. Mabute [A.M. No. P-11-2922, April 4, 2011]

FACTS: This is an administrative case against respondent for Disgraceful and Immoral Conduct. The complainant, a 23-year-old unmarried woman, alleged that respondent courted her and professed his undying love for her. Relying on respondent's promise that he would marry her, she agreed to live with him. She became pregnant, but after several months into her pregnancy, respondent brought her to a “manghihilot” and tried to force her to take drugs to abort her baby. When she did not agree, the respondent turned cold and eventually abandoned her. She became depressed resulting in the loss of her baby. She also stopped schooling because of the humiliation that she suffered.

ISSUE: Whether or not respondent may be held liable for Grossly Immoral Conduct warranting dismissal from service

HELD: No. Normally, the personal affair of a court employee who is a bachelor and has maintained an amorous relationship with a woman equally unmarried has nothing to do with his public employment. The sexual liaison is between two consenting adults and the consequent pregnancy is but a natural effect of the physical intimacy. There appears no law which penalizes or prescribes the sexual activity of two unmarried persons.

While the Court has the power to regulate official conduct and to a certain extent private conduct, it is not within its authority to decide on matters touching an employee's personal lives, especially those that will affect their and their family's future. The Court cannot intrude into the question of whether they should or should not marry. However, the Court shall take this occasion to remind judiciary employees to be more circumspect in their adherence to their obligations under the Code of Professional Responsibility. The administrative complaint is dismissed.

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