Fiancee’s pregnancy ‘by itself’ does not constitute immorality

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Persida Acosta

Dear PAO,
My fiancée and I are getting married in June this year as we expect our first child. We are both public school teachers. I took a one-day leave of absence to accompany my fiancée to her check-up. I filed the leave at the time I came back to my station and, to my surprise, my fellow teachers shouted at me because the reason I stated in my leave form (Form 106) is “accompanied my fiancée in her OB-GYNE.” She told me that I can be legally penalized with immorality for the reason I wrote. Is it possible that I can be penalized because I am having a baby prior to our marriage?
Sincerely yours,
Anderson

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Dear Anderson,
Your situation is addressed by Section 1 and Section 3 of the Civil Service Commission (CSC), Memorandum Circular No. 15, Series of 2010, which state:

“Section 1. Definition of Disgraceful and Immoral Conduct – Disgraceful and Immoral Conduct refers to an act which violates the basic norm of decency, morality and decorum abhorred and condemned by the society. It refers to conduct which is willful, flagrant or shameless, and which shows a moral indifference to the opinions of the good and respectable members of the community.
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“Section 3. Complaint for Disgraceful and Immoral Conduct Against Unmarried Government Personnel. – Unmarried government personnel employees who do not have any existing legal impediments to contract marriage may not be made liable for the administrative offense of Disgraceful and Immoral Conduct unless the conduct consists of immoral and deviant acts which are inherently forbidden by the basic norms of decency, morality and decorum such as, but not limited to incest, pedophilia, exhibitionism and the like.”

According to the provisions stated above, in order for unmarried government personnel employees to be held liable for Disgraceful and Immoral Conduct, such conduct must consist of immoral and deviant acts which are inherently forbidden by the basic norms of decency, morality and decorum.

In the case of Cheryll Santos Leus vs. St. Scholastica’s College Westgrove and/or Sr. Edna Quaimbao (G.R. No. 187226, January 28, 2015; ponente: Associate Justice Bienvenido Reyes), the Supreme Court ruled on the illegality relative to the dismissal of an employee on the grounds of sexual relations and pregnancy, viz:
“It bears stressing that the petitioner and her boyfriend, at the time they conceived a child, had no legal impediment to marry. Indeed, even prior to her dismissal, the petitioner married her boyfriend, the father of her child. As the court held in Radam, there is no law which penalizes an unmarried mother by reason of her sexual conduct or proscribes the consensual sexual activity between two unmarried persons; that neither does such situation contravene any fundamental state policy enshrined in the Constitution.

X x x

To stress, pre-marital sexual relations between two consenting adults who have no impediment to marry each other, and, consequently, conceiving a child out of wedlock, gauged from a purely public and secular view of morality, does not amount to a disgraceful or immoral conduct under Section 94(e) of the 1992 MRPS.” (Emphasis-supplied)

Hence, the sexual relations that you and your fiancée did and the fact of her pregnancy do not, by themselves, constitute immorality. The sexual relations were committed by two (2) consenting adult-teachers who have no impediment to marry each other. Consequently, you cannot be held administratively liable since those acts, per se, do not constitute immorality.

Again, we find it necessary to mention that this opinion is solely based on the facts you have narrated and our appreciation of the same. The opinion may vary when the facts are changed or elaborated.

We hope that we were able to enlighten you on the matter.

Editor’s note: Dear PAO is a daily column of the Public Attorney’s Office. Questions for Chief Acosta may be sent to dearpao@manilatimes.net.

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