Public officers and employees — falsification of DTRs

Published by reposted only Date posted on September 5, 2008

At the outset, it must be stressed that this is an administrative case for dishonesty, grave misconduct, and falsification of an official document. To sustain a finding of administrative culpability only substantial evidence is required, not overwhelming or preponderant, and very much less than proof beyond reasonable doubt as required in criminal cases.

Substantial evidence means such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion.

The following facts are borne out by the records: (1) Maricar was appointed as Legislative Staff Assistant in the Office of then Councilor of Malabon, Edilberto Torres, on February 16, 1995; (2) Marian was appointed as Messenger in the same office on May 24, 1996; (3) at the time of Maricar’s appointment to and employment in her position (1995-1997), she was a full-time regular college student at UST; (4) at the time of Marian’s appointment and employment as messenger in her father’s office (1996-2000), she was a full-time regular dentistry-proper student at the College of Dentistry of Centro Escolar University; (5) during the employment of respondents in government service, they submitted DTRs indicating that they religiously reported for work from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. During work days; (6) by reason thereof, respondents collected their full salaries during the entire time of their employment in their respective positions; and, (7) these all occurred with the full knowledge and consent of their father.

It is also worthy to note that the factual finding made by petitioner, i.e., that respondents made false entries in their respective DTRs for the period subject of this case, was affirmed by the CA in the assailed Decision dated January 6, 2004.

On the basis of these established facts, petitioner was correct in holding respondents administratively guilty of dishonesty and falsification of official document. Dishonesty is defined as the “to lie, cheat, deceive, or defraud; untrustworthiness, lack of integrity.”

Falsification of an official document, as an administrative offense, is knowingly making false statements in official or public documents. Both are grave offenses under the Uniform Rules on Administrative Cases in the Civil Service, which carry with it the penalty of dismissal on the first offense.

Falsification of DTRs amounts to dishonesty. The evident purpose of requiring government employees to keep a time record is to show their attendance in office to work and to be paid accordingly. Closely adhering to the policy of no work-no pay, a DTR is primarily, if not solely, intended to prevent damage or loss to the government as would result in instances where it pays an employee for no work done.

Respondents’ claim of good faith, which implies a sincere intent not to do any falsehood or to seek any undue advantage, cannot be believed. This Court pronounced – Good faith, here understood, is an intangible and abstract quality with no technical meaning or statutory definition, and it encompasses, among other things, an honest belief, the absence of malice and the absence of design to defraud or to seek an unconscionable advantage. An individual’s personal good faith is a concept of his own mind and, therefore, may not conclusively be determined by his protestations alone. It implies honesty of intention, and freedom from knowledge of circumstances which ought to put the holder upon inquiry. The essence of good faith lies in an honest belief in the validity of one’s right, ignorance of a superior claim, and absence of intention to overreach another. — Office of the Ombudsman vs. Torres, et al., G.R. No. 168309, Jan. 29, 2008. –Judge Gabriel T. Ingles, Cebu Daily News

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