This is a Petition for Certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court to annul and set aside Resolution No. 92-1249 dated September 8, 1992 of respondent Civil Service Commission (CSC) finding petitioner Edgar R. del Castillo guilty of grave misconduct and ordering his dismissal from the service and its Resolution No. 93-4502 dated October 12, 1993 denying petitioner's motion for reconsideration of the September 8, 1992 order.
The facts of the case are as follows:nadchanroblesvirtualawlibrary
Petitioner Del Castillo was an employee of the respondent Professional Regulation Commission (PRC). On July 16-17, 1990, he was assigned as a watcher in the Optometry Licensure Examination. Later, on July 24, 1990 and July 27, 1990, Susan O. Corpuz and Enriquieta Flores, also watchers in the said licensure examination, respectively wrote the CSC stating that they saw Del Castillo answering the test papers submitted by an examinee.
On August 1, 1990, Del Castillo was charged with grave misconduct by Commissioner Julio B. Francia, Jr., PRC. The formal charge reads as follows:nadchanroblesvirtualawlibrary
On or about July 17, 1990 while the examinations in the subject General and Ocular Pathology of the Optometry licensure examinations is still in progress in Group II, PRC Annex Building, 2nd Floor, and after an examinee has submitted his answer sheets, you compared the answers in the said answer sheet from that on the piece of paper you pulled out from the pocket o your shirt, crossed out some of the answers on the answer and changed them with the answers appearing on the piece of paper and answered the blank numbers. 1
On August 10, 1990, petitioner voluntarily submitted his affidavit-answer denying the charge against him. On August 15, 1990 a formal hearing of the case was conducted by Associate Commissioner Mariano A. Mendieta of the respondent PRC.
On September 19, 1990, the respondent PRC rendered a resolution, the dispositive portion of which reads:nadchanroblesvirtualawlibrary
WHEREFORE, the Commission finds him guilty as charged and hereby DISMISS him from the service with forfeiture of whatever benefits he has earned, effective upon receipt of this resolution.
SO ORDERED. 2
Petitioner appealed to the Merit System Protection Board (MSPB) which handed down its decision on February 5, 1992, the dispositive portion of which states:nadchanroblesvirtualawlibrary
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing premises, the PRC Resolution dated September 19, 1990 is hereby set aside, there being no substantial evidence adduced to support the conviction or finding of guilt. Thus, respondent-appellant Edgar R. del Castillo is exonerated of the charge of grave misconduct levelled against him. The Professional Regulations Commission is thus directed to reinstate him to his former position effective immediately. 3
The PRC appealed the decision of the MSPB to the respondent Civil Service Commission (CSC) which rendered the assailed resolution No. 92-1249 dated September 8, 1992, the dispositive portion of which reads:nadchanroblesvirtualawlibrary
WHEREFORE, foregoing premises considered, this Commission resolves to grant the appeal of the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC). Accordingly, the Commission finds respondent Edgar del Castillo guilty as charged and is meted out the penalty of dismissal for (sic) the service. The MSPB Decision dated February 5, 1991 is hereby set aside. 4
Petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration which was denied by the respondent CSC in its resolution No. 93-4502 dated October 12, 1992. 5
Hence this petition.
The petitioner alleges in support of his petition that the CSC committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack of jurisdiction in issuing Resolution Nos. 92-1249 and 93-4502, which are claimed to be violative of Section 17(a) of P.D. 807. He reasons out that the decision of the MSPB exonerating him from the charge of grave misconduct due to absence of substantial evidence against him became immediately final and executory considering that under P.D. 807 the CSC has no appellate jurisdiction over the MSPB's decisions exonerating officers and employees from administrative charges; consequently, the CSC should not have entertained the appeal of PRC from MSPB's decision. 6
We agree with the petitioner.
Section 37, paragraph (a), of PD 807, the Philippine Civil Service Law, provides:nadchanroblesvirtualawlibrary
(a) The Commission shall decide upon appeal all administrative disciplinary cases involving the imposition of a penalty of suspension for more than thirty days, or fine in an amount exceeding thirty days, salary, demotion in rank or salary or transfer, removal or dismissal from office. . . . (Emphasis supplied
Interpreting the above provision, we held in Mendez v. CSC 7 that:nadchanroblesvirtualawlibraryxxx xxx xxx
It is axiomatic that the right to appeal is merely a statutory privilege and may be exercised only in the manner and in accordance with the provision of law. (Victorias Milling Co., Inc. vs. Office of the Presidential Assistant for Legal Affairs, 153 SCRA 318).cralaw
A cursory reading of P.D. 807, otherwise known as 'The Philippine Civil Service Law' shows that said law does not contemplate a review of decisions exonerating officers or employees from administrative charges.
Section 37 paragraph (a) thereof, provides:nadchanroblesvirtualawlibraryxxx xxx xxx
Said provision must be read together with Section 39 paragraph (a) of P.D. 805 which contemplates:nadchanroblesvirtualawlibrary
Appeals, where allowable, shall be made by the party adversely affected by the decision . . . (Emphasis Supplied
) (p. 104, Rollo)
The phrase 'party adversely affected by the decision' refers to the government employee against whom the administrative case is filed for the purpose of disciplinary action which may take the form of suspension, demotion in rank or salary, transfer, removal or dismissal from office. In the instant case Coloyan who filed the appeal cannot be considered an aggrieved party because he is not the respondent in the administrative case below.
Finally, pursuant to Section 37 paragraph (b) of P.D. 807, the city major, head of the city government, is empowered to as enforce judgment with finality on lesser penalties like suspension from work for one month and forfeiture of salary equivalent to one month against erring employees.
By inference or implication, the remedy of appeal may be availed of only in a case where the respondent is found guilty of the charges files against him. But when the respondent is exonerated of said charges, as in this case, there is no occasion for appeal.
Subsequent to Mendez, we held in Magpale, Jr v. Civil Service Commission (215 SCRA 398) that:nadchanroblesvirtualawlibrary
After Mendez v. Civil Service Commission, (204 SCRA 965 ) the extent of the authority of respondent CSC to review the decision of MSPB is now a settled matter.xxx xxx xxx
The February 5, 1990 decision of the MSPB did not involve dismissal or separation from office, rather, the decision exonerated petitioner and ordered him reinstated to his former position. Consequently, in the light of our pronouncements in the aforecited cases of Mendez vs. Civil Service Commission and Paredes vs. Civil Service Commission, the MSPB decision was not a proper subject of appeal to the CSC.
Settled is the rule that a tribunal, board, or officer exercising judicial functions acts without jurisdiction if no authority has been conferred by law to hear and decide the case. (Arcena v. Civil Service Commission, 193 SCRA 623 .)
In Navarro v. Civil Service Commission and Export Processing Zone Authority 8 this Court citing the case of Magpale, Jr. v. Civil Service Commission, supra, said:nadchanroblesvirtualawlibrary
Under P.D. 807 of 'The Philippine Civil Service Law;' the CSC has no appellate jurisdiction over the MSPB's decisions exonerating officers and employees from administrative charges.
The Court further stated that:nadchanroblesvirtualawlibrary
As it is clear that both public respondents acted without jurisdiction EPZA, from appealing MSPB's decision exonerating Navarro from the administrative charge and CSC for taking cognizance of and deciding the appeal the issuance of the writ of Certiorari
is inevitable. 9
In University of the Philippines v. Civil Service Commission, et al. 10 we again ruled that:nadchanroblesvirtualawlibrary
Section 37 of Presidential Decree No. 807, or the Civil Service Decree, provides that the Civil Service Commission shall have appellate jurisdiction over all administrative disciplinary cases involving the imposition of a penalty of suspension for more than thirty (30) days' or fine in an amount exceeding thirty (30) days' salary, demotion in rank or salary, or transfer, removal or dismissal from office. The inescapable conclusion is that in an administrative case, where the penalty imposed is not one of those covered by or is less than those enumerated under Section 37, the decision of the disciplining authority shall be final and inappealable. Respondent CSC has no jurisdiction to review the same on appeal.
WHEREFORE, all premises considered, Resolution No. 92-1249 dated September 8, 1992 and Resolution No. 93-4502 dated October 12, 1993 of the respondent Civil Service Commission are hereby REVERSED and the decision of the Merit System Protection Board is REINSTATED.
, Feliciano Padilla, Bidin, Regalado, Davide, Jr., Romero, Bellosillo, Melo, Quiason, Puno, Vitug, Mendoza and Francisco, JJ.
1. Rollo, p. 29.
2. Id., at p. 34.
3. Id., at p. 89.
4. Id., at p. 117
5. Id., at p. 139.
6. Rollo, p. 17.
7. 204 SCRA 965.
8. 226 SCRA 522.
10. 228 SCRA 207.