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MANILA, Philippines -- The Supreme Court has dismissed an electrician assigned at the SC who was found to have been addicted to drugs.
In an administrative matter, Chief Justice Maria Lourdes P. Aranal Sereno found Reynard B. Castor, Electrician II, Maintenance Division, Office of Administrative Services (OAS), liable for grave misconduct due to his use of methamphetamine hydrochloride or shabu, a prohibited drug.
“[T]he Court orders his dismissal from the service with forfeiture of all benefits, except accrued leave credits, and with prejudice to reemployment in any branch or instrumentality of the government including government-owned or controlled corporations,” the SC ruling said.
It explained that the verdict is immediately executory.
Castor’s dismissal arose from his series of sick leave application without any medical certificate.
Due to his frequent absences, he was referred to the SC Clinic for medical evaluation to determine his physical fitness to continue with his duties and responsibilities.
In the medical evaluation report on Castor dated June 27, 2013, Dr. Prudencio R. Banzon Jr. of SC’s Medical and Dental Services, said that sometime in March 2013 Castor sought consultation due to an on-and-off dizziness.
A chest X-ray was conducted and he was advised to seek pulmonary consultation.
A medical certificate was then issued by a pulmonologist declaring him fit for work.
According to Banzon, when Castor reported to him at the SC clinic on April 25, 2013 he was compelled to undergo a random drug test.
The drug test, which was undertaken at the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) laboratory, yielded positive for shabu.
Banzon remarked that Castor’s absences could be attributed to financial distress due to vice rather than illness.
On the basis of the result of the random drug test, the OAS issued its memorandum dated July 2, 2013 directing Castor to submit his comment/explanation why he should not be administratively charged with misconduct for the use of prohibited drugs.
In his letter dated July 9, 2013 Castor explained that during the early months of this year, he was confronted with emotional and financial problems regarding his family.
Because of these heavy problems, he incurred repeated absences from office.
According to him, he was so depressed that he even thought of committing suicide.
He admitted that it was during those times that he took prohibited drugs unintentionally.
He further claimed that the drugs affected his health and well-being as well as his performance at work.
He was nonetheless apologetic and asked that he be given another chance.
He also promised that this would not happen again.
“Undoubtedly, the use of prohibited drugs by Castor violated the norms of conduct for public service. By indulging in the use of illegal drugs, he committed conduct unbecoming of court personnel, which tarnished the very image and integrity of the Judiciary. No less than the Constitution mandates that a public office is a public trust and public officers and employees must at all times be accountable to the people, serve them with utmost responsibility, integrity, loyalty and efficiency, act with patriotism and justice, and lead modest lives,” the SC ruling said.
It added that “the image of a court of justice is mirrored in the conduct, official and otherwise, of the personnel who work thereat.”
“The conduct of a person serving the judiciary must, at all times, be characterized by propriety and decorum and above all else, be above suspicion so as to earn and keep the respect of the public for the Judiciary. The Court would never countenance any conduct, act or omission on the part of all those in the administration of justice, which will violate the norm of public accountability and diminish or even just tend to diminish the faith of the people in the Judiciary,” the SC said.
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