In the case of RE: DROPPING FROM THE ROLLS of MS. GINA P. FUENTES, Court Stenographer I, Municipal Circuit Trial Court, Mabini, Compostela Valley, A.M. No. 09-3-50 MCTC, October 9, 2009, the Philippine Supreme Court clarified the rule on absence without leave (AWOL) of judicial employees, thus:
1. Section 63, Rule XVI of the Omnibus Rules on Leave, as amended by Memorandum Circular 13, series of 2007, is quoted by the OCA as follows:
Effect of absences without approved leave. – An official or an employee who is continuously absent without approved leave for at least thirty (30) working days shall be considered on absence without official leave (AWOL) and shall be separated from the service or dropped from the rolls without prior notice. However, when it is clear under the obtaining circumstances that the official or employee concerned has established a scheme to circumvent the rule by incurring substantial absences though less than thirty (30) working days three times in a semester, such that a pattern is already apparent, dropping from the rolls without notice may likewise be justified.
If the number of unauthorized absences incurred is less than thirty (30) working days, a written Return-to-Work Order shall be served to him at his last known address on record. Failure on his part to report for work within the period stated in the Order shall be a valid ground to drop him from the rolls. (Emphasis and underscoring supplied)
2. Gina’s applications for leave from March 1, 2007 up to March 31, 2007 and from May 1, 2007 up to July 31, 2007 inclusive were disapproved and considered unauthorized, as reflected above. A court employee’s absence without leave for a prolonged period of time disrupts the normal functions of the court; constitutes conduct prejudicial to the best interest of public service; contravenes a public servant’s duty to serve the public with the utmost degree of responsibility, integrity, loyalty, and efficiency; and manifests disrespect for one’s superiors and colleagues, in particular, and for the service and the public at large, in general. Gina must thus be dropped from the rolls.