Immoral’ ex-clerk of court fined, barred from gov’t

By Leila Salaverria
Last updated 02:21am (Mla time) 06/30/2007

MANILA, Philippines—A former Court of Appeals clerk of court found to have been carrying on a “scandalous” affair with a married co-worker for five years has been barred from serving in all government branches and ordered to pay a fine equivalent to one year of his salary.


The Supreme Court, which found former Division Clerk of Court Antolin Dabon Jr. guilty of gross immoral conduct and of violating an administrative rule, said the accused also used his position to “harass” his former paramour when she tried to break off the relationship.


Dabon should also have been dismissed from service had he not resigned before the case against him was decided, according to the high tribunal. It upheld the findings of the investigating justice but increased the penalty that was originally recommended.


The complaint against Dabon was filed by Nelson Valdez, whose wife Sonia, a court stenographer, had an affair with the clerk of court from November 2000 to March 2006.
Scandalous circumstances


“There is no dispute that respondent engaged in an unlawful, dishonest and immoral conduct. The illicit relationship which spanned a period of five years was committed under scandalous circumstances as to shock the common sense of decency,” the high court said in a June 22 decision.


It added that being a division clerk of court, Dabon’s position entailed great responsibility and he was supposed to act with dignity and propriety at all times. “Unfortunately, respondent miserably failed to comply with the demands of his office,” it said.


The tribunal said Dabon also violated the administrative rule requiring court employees to secure a travel authority before going abroad. He also evaded the court processes with regard to his investigation, thereby aggravating his offense, it added.


According to the high court, Dabon harassed Sonia after she decided to end their relationship. It said he boarded her car to insist that the two of them talk. Because he refused to leave the vehicle, Sonia made a scene and drew the attention of people in the area.


He also tried to bring Sonia to a motel even if she no longer wanted to be with him, the high court added.


Lustful quest


“Despite being rejected in view of Sonia’s apparent intention to end the affair, respondent persisted in his lustful quest by bringing Sonia to a motel against her will. Not only did he transgress the norms of decency expected of every person but he failed to live up to the high moral standard expected of a court employee,” it said.


Dabon also used his position and asked court employees to relay messages to Sonia and to intervene in their “purely personal affair,” thus aggravating his offense, according to the high court. It also said Dabon could not claim that he did not know about the administrative case filed against him.


The court noted that Dabon left the Philippines a day after the case was filed and spoke about the possibility of a fellow lawyer being used to testify against him.


When the high court tried to serve court documents to him, people at his house refused to receive the papers. Mail left at his last two known addresses in the country were sent back although these had been opened.


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