It is not immoral under the law for a government employee to give birth out of wedlock if she and the father are not married to other people, the Supreme Court has ruled.
The Tribunal said no law punishes an unwed mother for having sex, or prevents consensual sex between two unmarried people.
A distinction should be made between public or secular morality, and religious morality, the court added.
In a decision written by Associate Justice Renato Corona, the SC’s 1st Division dismissed the administrative complaint against Ma. Victoria Radam, a utility worker at the Office of the Clerk of Court, Regional Trial Court of Alaminos City, Pangasinan.
“For a particular conduct to constitute ‘disgraceful and immoral’ behavior under civil service laws, it must be regulated on account of the concerns of public and secular morality,” read the decision.
“It cannot be judged based on personal bias, specifically those colored by particular mores. Respondent was neither confronted with it nor given the chance to explain it.
“To hold her liable for a totally different charge of which she was totally unaware will violate her right to due process.”
The SC said Radam could not be sanctioned because the father of her child was unmarried like her.
“In this case, it was not disputed that, like respondent, the father of her child was unmarried,” read the decision.
“Therefore, respondent cannot be held liable for disgraceful and immoral conduct simply because she gave birth to the child out of wedlock.”
Investigating Judge Elpidio Abella had recommended that Radam be suspended for a month or fined P5,000 for immoral conduct or act unbecoming a court employee.
However, the Office of the Court Administrator (OCA) cleared Radam of the immorality charge on grounds that her giving birth out of wedlock did not affect the character or nature of her job as a utility worker.
Nonetheless, the OCA recommended that Radam be fined P5,000 for stating in her child’s birth certificate that the father was unknown to her.
“It may be a not-so-ideal situation and may cause complications for both mother and child but it does not give cause for administrative sanction,” the OCA said.
Chief Justice Reynato Puno, Associate Justices Angelina Sandoval-Gutierrez, Adolfo Azcuna, and Teresita de Castro concurred with the ruling. – Mike Frialde, Philippine Star