Infidelity sells in media. One website was able to note that eight movies and TV shows in the Philippines from 2011 to present focused primarily on this topic. The list included Ang Dalawang Mrs. Real (GMA-2014), A Beautiful Affair (ABS-CBN – 2012), The Mistress (Star Cinema – 2012), My Neighbor’s Wife (Regal Films – 2011), and the critically acclaimed The Legal Wife that starred Angel Locsin (as the hurting wife), Jericho Rosales (the philandering husband), and Maja Salvador (the proud mistress).
If those weren’t enough, ABS-CBN has also come up with a Philippine remake of a Korean teledrama hit, Two Wives, revolving as well on cheating or unfaithfulness in marriage. Sociologists and experts attribute this interesting addiction to the fact that many Filipinos can relate to the characters being portrayed. But aggrieved spouses of offending government employees can do something more than cry. In so far as administrative law is concerned, there is a remedy against their cheating spouses.
Entering into an illicit relationship with a married individual or a person other than one’s spouse is considered as Disgraceful and Immoral Conduct – a grave offense under the Revised Rules on Administrative Cases in the Civil Service. It comes with a penalty of suspension for six months and one day to one year for the first offense and dismissal for the second offense. It is defined under CSC Memorandum Circular No. 15, s. 2010 as “an act which violates the basic norm of decency, morality and decorum abhorred and condemned by the society” and “conduct which is willful, flagrant or shameless, and which shows a moral indifference to the opinions of the good and respectable members of the community.”
Several cases on this were already decided by the Supreme Court, such as Sealana-Abba v. Laurenciana-Huraño (531 SCRA 289 ), Elape v. Elape (551 SCRA 403 ), Regir v. Regir (595 SCRA 455 , and Babante-Caples v. Caples (634 SCRA 498 ).
The Rules on the Administrative Offense of Disgraceful and Immoral Conduct gave notable features to this offense, to wit:
1) Any person can file the administrative case against the offender (like the mom, dad, or best friend of the offended spouse);
2) The offender can either be married or unmarried;
3) As a rule, unmarried government employees who have no legal impediment to marry cannot be held guilty of the offense unless the acts are inherently immoral like incest, pedophilia and the like (I believe this rule refers to instances when both parties are legally capacitated to marry but merely cohabit and choose not to get married); and
4) Acts could either be made openly or in secret, both inside and outside the workplace.
Further, in one case, the Supreme Court emphasized that disgraceful and immoral conduct is not only limited to illicit sexual intercourse or other sexual matters but may also include indecency and shameless conduct such as uttering foul and malicious words like “Kabayan, wala ng kasarap sarap si Shirley. Napag iiyot ko na yan. Wala na pagmamalaki sakin yan” in reference to a co-employee. The Court held –
The utterance of foul words that degrade morality should not be countenanced. It amounts to disgraceful and immoral conduct … In Court Employees of the MCTC, Ramon Magsaysay, Zamboanga del Sur v. Sy, the Court stated that “immorality is not based alone on illicit sexual intercourse. It is not confined to sexual matters, but includes conduct inconsistent with rectitude, or indicative of corruption, indecency, depravity and dissoluteness; or is willful, flagrant or shameless conduct showing moral indifference to opinions of respectable members of the community, and as an inconsiderate attitude toward good order and public welfare.”
Ultimately, no person inside a subsisting marriage deserves to be cheated on regardless of the laws and rules that could hold the offending spouse liable. Even the Bible says it in Hebrews 13:4 :
Marriage should be honored by all and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.