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Digest: Wooden v. Civil Service Commission (471 SCRA 512, 2005)

Digest: Wooden v. Civil Service Commission (471 SCRA 512, 2005)

Facts:  Sometime in the School Year 1990-1991, petitioner, who was then a fourth year student in Bachelor of Secondary Education (BSED) at Saint Louis University (SLU), applied for graduation. His application was approved subject to completion of a two-course, six-unit deficiency in the summer term of 1991 or by May 1991. Later, he was appointed as Staff Coordinator of "Louisian Educator '91", the annual of the College of Education, SLU

petitioner joined the graduation rites of the College of Education, SLU. Thereafter, he enrolled and completed his two-course, six-unit deficiency in the summer term of 1991 or by May 1991.  On June 11, 1991, he was employed as Substitute Teacher at the SLU Laboratory High School. He was a member of the teaching staff until the end of school year 1991-1992, or April 30, 1992

petitioner filed his application for the Professional Board Examinations for Teachers (PBET), stating therein that he graduated in March 1991. His application was approved on September 20, 1991

upon petitioner's application for his transcript of records, SLU informed him that a reevaluation of his scholastic records revealed that he needed to complete a three-unit English subject.

petitioner took the scheduled PBET. Subsequently, petitioner enrolled in SLU, under protest, and completed the three-unit subject deficiency in the second semester of school year 1991-1992.

On June 8, 1992, the results of the PBET were released. Petitioner passed the PBET with a rating of 76.38%

petitioner submitted his duly accomplished Personal Data Sheet (PDS) in connection with his appointment as Teacher I of Guinzadan National High School, Bauko, Mountain Province. He indicated in Item No. 17 of the PDS that he finished his BSED from SLU with inclusive dates of attendance from 1987 to 1991; and in Item No. 18, he indicated the PBET date of examination as 1992


On September 25, 1997, the CSC - Cordillera Administrative Region filed against petitioner a Formal Charge for Dishonesty and Falsification, docketed as Adm. Case No. 97-69


petitioner was declared guilty of dishonesty thru falsification of public document and dismissed from service with the accessory penalties thereof. 




Ruling: Yes.

Petitioner is charged with dishonesty thru falsification of his PDS. Dishonesty is defined as "intentionally making a false statement in any material fact, or practicing or attempting to practice any deception or fraud in securing his examination, registration, appointment or promotion."  It is also understood to imply a "disposition to lie, cheat, deceive, or defraud; untrustworthiness; lack of integrity; lack of honesty, probity or integrity in principle; lack of fairness and straightforwardness; disposition to defraud, deceive or betray"

Thus, dishonesty, like bad faith, is not simply bad judgment or negligence. Dishonesty is a question of intention. In ascertaining the intention of a person accused of dishonesty, consideration must be taken not only of the facts and circumstances which gave rise to the act committed by the petitioner, but also of his state of mind at the time the offense was committed, the time he might have had at his disposal for the purpose of meditating on the consequences of his act, and the degree of reasoning he could have had at that moment.

Petitioner passed the examination. There was no damage inflicted on the Government.

Further, while it has been held that making a false statement in a PDS amounts to dishonesty and falsification of an official document, this Court likewise has held that laws and rules should be interpreted and applied not in a vacuum or in isolated abstraction but in light of surrounding circumstances and attendant facts in order to afford justice to all.

Petitioner should not be faulted when he wrote "1987-1991" in his PDS under "Inclusive Dates of Attendance" since he did attend the school during the given period and in fact graduated on March 24, 1991. It is an honest mistake of fact induced by no fault of his own and excuses him from the legal consequences of his act. Ignorantia facti excusat. To stress, petitioner was asked mainly about the inclusive dates of his attendance in SLU. The official transcript of records was issued on August 8, 1994.  Understandably, it does not show the circumstances that led petitioner in giving the subject answers in his application for PBET and PDS. The transcript of records should not be made the basis for holding petitioner liable for dishonesty.


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