The Investigating Judge recommends the dismissal of the complaint against the respondent, reporting that:
Normally the personal affair of a court employee who is a bachelor and has maintained an amorous relation with a woman equally unmarried has nothing to do with his public employment. The sexual liaison is between two consenting adults and the consequent pregnancy is but a natural effect of the physical intimacy. Mary Jane was not forced to live with Nicolas nor was she impelled by some devious means or machination. The fact was, she freely acceded to cohabit with him. The situation may-not-be-so-ideal but it does not give cause for administrative sanction. There appears no law which penalizes or prescribes the sexual activity of two unmarried persons. So, the accusation of Mary Jane that Nicolas initiated the abortion was calculated to bring the act within the ambit of an immoral, disgraceful and gross misconduct. Except however as to the self-serving assertion that Mary Jane was brought to a local midwife and forced to take the abortifacient, there was no other evidence to support that it was in fact so. All pointed to a harmonious relation that turned sour. In no small way Mary Jane was also responsible of what befell upon her.
The Court defined immoral conduct as conduct that is willful, flagrant or shameless, and that shows a moral indifference to the opinion of the good and respectable members of the community. To justify suspension or disbarment, the act complained of must not only be immoral, but grossly immoral. A grossly immoral act is one that is so corrupt and false as to constitute a criminal act or an act so unprincipled or disgraceful as to be reprehensible to a high degree.
Based on the allegations of the complaint, the respondent’s comment, and the findings of the Investigating Judge, we find that the acts complained of cannot be considered as disgraceful or grossly immoral conduct.
We find it evident that the sexual relations between the complainant and the respondent were consensual. They met at the Singles for Christ, started dating and subsequently became sweethearts. The respondent frequently visited the complainant at her boarding house and also at her parents’ residence. The complainant voluntarily yielded to the respondent and they eventually lived together as husband and wife in a rented room near the respondent’s office. They continued their relationship even after the complainant had suffered a miscarriage.
Mere sexual relations between two unmmaried and consenting adults are not enough to warrant administrative sanction for illicit behavior. The Court has repeatedly held that voluntary intimacy between a man and a woman who are not married, where both are not under any impediment to marry and where no deceit exists, is neither a criminal nor an unprincipled act that would warrant disbarment or disciplinary action.
While the Court has the power to regulate official conduct and, to a certain extent, private conduct, it is not within our authority to decide on matters touching on employees’ personal lives, especially those that will affect their and their family’s future. We cannot intrude into the question of whether they should or should not marry. However, we take this occasion to remind judiciary employees to be more circumspect in their adherence to their obligations under the Code of Professional Responsibility. The conduct of court personnel must be free from any taint of impropriety or scandal, not only with respect to their official duties but also in their behavior outside the Court as private individuals. This is the best way to preserve and protect the integrity and the good name of our courts.
WHEREFORE, the Court resolves to DISMISS the present administrative complaint against Nicolas B. Mabute, Stenographer 1 of the Municipal Circuit Trial Court, Paranas,Samar, for lack of merit. No costs.