Jurisprudence is replete with cases declaring that a grave offense cannot be mitigated by the fact that the accused is a first time offender or by the length of service of the accused. In Civil Service Commission v. Cortez, the Court held as follows:
The gravity of the offense committed is also the reason why we cannot consider the “first offense” circumstance invoked by respondent. In several cases, we imposed the heavier penalty of dismissal or a fine of more than P20,000.00, considering the gravity of the offense committed, even if the offense charged was respondent’s first offense. Thus, in the present case, even though the offense respondent was found guilty of was her first offense, the gravity thereof outweighs the fact that it was her first offense.
Also, in Concerned Employees v. Nuestro, a court employee charged with and found guilty of dishonesty for falsification was meted the penalty of dismissal notwithstanding the length of her service in view of the gravity of the offense charged.
To end, it must be stressed that dishonesty and grave misconduct have always been and should remain anathema in the civil service. They inevitably reflect on the fitness of a civil servant to continue in office. When an officer or employee is disciplined, the object sought is not the punishment of such officer or employee but the improvement of the public service and the preservation of the public’s faith and confidence in the government.