G.R. No. 176707 - ARLIN O. OBIASCA, Petitioner, vs. JEANNE O. BASALLOTE, Respondent.
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D I S S E N T
BERSAMIN, J .
I respectfully register my dissent to the learned and comprehensive majority opinion ably written by an esteemed colleague, Justice Renato C. Corona, dismissing the petition that would treat the appointment of the respondent as ineffective on the ground that the appointment did not carry the attestation by the Civil Service Commission (CSC).
As I write, I find myself in the same situation of Justice Joseph Story of the United States Supreme Court nearly 200 years ago, when dissenting from his colleagues on an important case became unavoidable for him. He said then:
It is a matter of regret that in this conclusion I have the misfortune to differ from a majority of the court, for whose superior learning and ability I entertain the most entire respect. But I hold it an indispensable duty not to surrender my own judgment, because a great weight of opinion is against me a weight which no one can feel more sensibly than myself. Had this been an ordinary case I should have contented myself with silence; but believing that no more important or interesting question ever came before a prize tribunal, and that the national rights suspended on it are of infinite moment to the maritime world, I have thought it not unfit to pronounce my own opinion.1cralaw
I write this dissent, therefore, in the awareness that I had taken an individual oath that imposed on me the duty that I cannot justly satisfy by an automatic acceptance of the views of others which have neither convinced, nor created a reasonable doubt in, [my] mind.2cralaw
For purpose of this dissent, the background of this controversy is as follows.
In a letter dated
respondent assumed as Administrative Officer II on
The respondent sought to obtain Gonzales signature, but the latter refused to sign despite repeated requests. When the respondent informed Oyardo of the situation, she was instead advised to return to her former teaching position of Teacher I.The respondent followed the advice.
In the meanwhile, on
The respondent filed a complaint with the Office of the Deputy Ombudsman for Luzon against Oyardo, Gonzales, and Diaz.
In its decision, the Ombudsman found Oyardo and Gonzales administratively liable for withholding information from the respondent on the status of her appointment, and suspended them from the service for three months; but Diaz was absolved of any wrongdoing.6cralaw
The respondent also filed a protest with the CSC Regional Office V, docketed as Adm. Case No. ND-ARU 04-290. The protest was dismissed on the ground that it should first be submitted to the Grievance Committee of the DepEd for appropriate action. 7cralaw
On motion for reconsideration , the protest was reinstated, but it was eventually dismissed for lack of merit.8cralaw The respondent appealed the dismissal of her protest to the CSC Regional Office, which dismissed the appeal for failure to show that her appointment had been received and attested to by the CSC.9cralaw
The respondent elevated the matter to
the CSC, which granted the appeal by its
Aggrieved, the petitioner filed a petition for certiorari in the Court of Appeals (CA), claiming that the CSC thereby acted without factual and legal bases in recalling his appointment, and praying for the issuance of a temporary restraining order and a writ of preliminary injunction.
Ruling of the CA
The CA found that the respondent possessed all the qualifications and none of the disqualifications for the position of Administrative Officer II; that due to the respondents valid appointment, no other appointment to the sameposition could be made without the position being first vacated; that the petitioners appointment to theposition was thus void; and that contrary to the argument of the petitioner that he had been deprived of his right to due process by not having been allowed to participate in the proceedings in the CSC, it was the petitioner who had himself failed to exercise his right by failing to submit a single pleading despite being furnished with copies of the pleadings in the proceedings in the CSC.
The CA opined that Diaz had unreasonably refused to affix her signature on the respondents PDF and to submit the respondents appointment to the CSC on the ground of non-submission of the respondents PDF, because the PDF had not been required to be submitted and forwarded to the CSC.
The petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration , but his
motion was denied on
Hence, this appeal by petition for review on certiorari .
The petitioner maintains that the respondent was not validly appointed to the position of Administrative Officer II, because her appointment was never attested by the CSC; that without the attestation, the respondents appointment as Administrative Officer II was not completed and did not vest a permanent title upon the respondent; that for that reason, the appointment might still be recalled or withdrawn by the appointing authority; that under the Omnibus Rules Implementing Book V of Executive Order (EO) No. 292 ( Administrative Code of 1987), every appointment is required to be submitted to the CSC within30 days from the date of issuance; otherwise, the appointment becomes ineffective;13cralaw that the respondents appointment issued on 23 May 2003 should have been transmitted to the CSC not later than 22 June 2003 for proper attestation; and that because the respondents appointment had not been sent to the CSC within the proper period, her appointment ceased to be effective and the position of Administrative Officer II was already vacant when the petitioner was appointed to it.
In her comment,[14cralaw the respondent, though admitting that her appointment was not submitted to the CSC for attestation, points out that the reason given by Oyardo for the non-submission of her appointment papers to the CSC the failure of the respondent to have her PDF duly signed by Gonzales was not valid because the PDF was not even a requisite for the submission of her appointment for attestation by the CSC.
The petition for review should be granted , because its denial tends to negate the authority of the CSC, the central personnel agency of the Government,[15cralaw to scrutinize and approve appointments to the Civil Service.
The majority point out that CSC Resolution dated 29 November 2005 (recalling the petitioners appointment and approving that of the respondent) became final and executory by virtue of the petitioners failure to file a petition for reconsideration against said resolution before filing the petition for review in the CA, citing Section 16[16cralaw and Section18 of the Omnibus Rules of the CSC as basis.
I cannot agree to the majoritys position.
To begin with, a dissatisfied employee may avail himself of remedies not limited to the petition for reconsideration . In fact, Section 18 of the Omnibus Rules of the CSC expressly recognizes other remedies available to the affected employee to prevent the disputed action/decision from becoming final and executory, thus:
Section 18. Failure to file a protest, appeal, petition forreconsideration or petitionfor review withintheprescribed periodshall be deemed a waiverof such right and shall render the subject action/decision final and executory.
Moreover, such petition for reconsideration was not a prerequisite to the filing of a petition for review under Rule 43 of the Rules of Court . It was enough that the petition for review was filed within fifteen (15) days from notice of the award, judgment, final order or resolution, or from the date of its last publication, if publication is required by law for its effectivity, or of the denial of petitioners motion for new trial or reconsideration duly filed in accordance with the governing law of the court or agency a quo .17cralaw
In this regard, the petitioners
petition for review was timely filed. After receiving on
And, lastly, a rule of the CSC that might have intended to render a decision final and executory if no petition for reconsideration is first brought against the decision or resolution will not stand and prevail over the Rule 43 of the Rules of Court , which clearly authorizes appeals from the awards, judgments, final orders or resolutions of, or authorized by any quasi-judicial
agency in the exercise of its quasi-judicial functions.18cralaw Rule 43, being issued by the Supreme Court under its rule-making authority in Section 5(5) of Article VIII of the Constitution, has the force and effect of law,19cralaw and repeals or supersedes any law or enactment on the manner and method of appealing the decisions and orders of the specific quasi-judicial bodies.20cralaw
The CSC, being the central personnel agency of the Government, is charged with the duty of determining questions on the qualifications of merit and fitness of the persons appointed to the Civil Service. An appointment to a civil service position, to be fully effective, must comply with all the legal requirements.21cralaw
Section 9 of Presidential Decree (P.D.) No. 807 ( Civil Service Decree of the Philippines )22cralaw relevantly provides:
Thus, the appointment must be submitted within the required period to the CSC, which shall then ascertain, in the main, whether the proposed appointee is qualified to hold the position and whether the rules pertinent to the process of appointment were observed.23cralaw
However, the majority contend that Section 12, Book V of E. O. 292 ( The Revised Administrative Code ) already amended Section 9 (h) of P.D. 807 by deleting the requirement that appointments subject to CSC approval be submitted to CSC within 30 days. Citing Section 12(14) and (15) of E.O. 292,24cralaw the majority state that the amendatory law completely deleted not just a word or two, but the entire last sentence of the provision.
I find the contention not well-taken.
The new provision in Section 12(14) of E.O. 292 Take appropriate action on all appointments and other personnel matters in the Civil Service including extension of Service beyond retirement age is a legal provision altogether different from Section 9 (h) of P.D. 807. The former is too broad in scope, for, certainly, the CSC is not to be limited to merely approving and disapproving appointments.Even with E.O. 292s repealing clause (All laws, decrees, orders, rules and regulations, or portions thereof, inconsistent with this Code are hereby repealed or modified accordingly), the requirement of submission of appointments within 30 days expressly stated in the latter is not inconsistent with the authority of the CSC to take appropriate action on all appointments and other personnel matters.
The Court cannot interpret E.O. 292 as having entirely dispensed with the submission requirement in order to make an appointment effective. To hold otherwise is to deprive the CSC of the opportunity to determine whether or not an appointee is qualified for the position to which he is appointed, which certainly weakens the mandate of the CSC as the central personnel agency of the Government and negates the constitutional objective of establishing a career service steeped in professionalism, integrity, and accountability.
In fact, despite the issuance of E.O. 292, the CSC itself has continued to require the submission of appointments within 30 days from the dates of their issuance. There is no better proof of this than the Omnibus Rules Implementing Book V of E.O. 292, whose Rule V provides:
Section 11. An appointment not submitted to the Commission within 30 days from the date of issuance which shall be the date appearing on the face of the appointment shall be ineffective. The appointing authority shall be liable for the salaries of the appointee whose appointment became ineffective. The appointing authority shall likewise be liable for the payment of the salary of the appointee if the appointment is disapproved because the appointing authority has issued it in violation of existing laws or rules, making the appointment unlawful.
The CA ruled that the respondents
appointment became effective from the moment of its issuance on
I insist that the CA thereby erred.
Its mere issuance does not render an appointment to the Civil Service complete and effective. Under the Omnibus Rules Implementing Book V of E.O. 292, an appointment not submitted to the CSC within 30 days from the date of its issuance shall be ineffective. Compliance with this statutory directive is essential in order to make an appointment to a civil service position fully effective.Without the favorable certification or approval of the CSC, where such approval is required, no title to the office can yet be deemed permanently vested in the appointee; hence, the appointment can still be recalled or withdrawn by the appointing authority.25cralaw
Otherwise put, the appointing officer and the CSC, acting together, though not concurrently but consecutively, make an appointment complete.26cralaw It is from the moment that an appointee assumes a position in the Civil Service under a completed appointment that he acquires a legal, not merely equitable, right that is protected not only by statute, but also by the Constitution . Said right cannot then be taken away from him, either by revocation of the appointment or by removal, except for cause and with previous notice and hearing.27cralaw
Herein, there is no dispute that the
respondents appointment as Administrative Officer II on
The majority opine that the Court should not look the other way and allow the respondent to suffer the consequences of the willful and deliberate acts of Diaz, Oyardo and Gonzales who conspired not to submit the respondents appointment to the CSC.
I cannot subscribe to the majoritys opinion.
This dissent never intends to appear as condoning the willful and deliberate acts of Diaz, Oyardo and Gonzales vis--vis the respondents appointment. All that I want to put across is that the Court should simply implement the clear and unambiguous provisions of the applicable law.
The appropriate disciplining authorities had already held Diaz, Oyardo and Gonzales to account for their misdeed, with Diaz being sanctioned by the CSC, and Oyardo and Gonzales being held liable by the Ombudsman. There the issue of their misdeed should end. Indeed, the Court has made clear in Favis v. Rupisan 28cralaw that the failure of the responsible official to submit for approval an employees appointment did not negate such requirement, thus:
xxx. The tolerance, acquiescence or mistake of the proper officials, resulting in the non-observance of the pertinent rules on the matter does not render the legal requirement, on the necessity of approval of the Commissioner of Civil Service of appointments, ineffective and unenforceable.In the circumstances, for the duration of his occupancy of the position in question, the petitioner may be considered merely as a de facto officer, and may consequently be removed from office even without cause.
Accordingly, that the respondents appointment was not submitted to the CSC because of Diazs unjustified refusal to sign it on the fallacious ground that the respondents PDF had not been duly signed by Gonzales was no reason to validate the respondents appointment, or to grant her any right to the position or to the guarantees provided by law.
Still, the majority consider as misplaced the petitioners reliance on Favis and Tomali v. Civil Service Commission, 29cralaw because, one , the issue in Favis related to the necessity for the CSC approval, not to the submission of the appointment within the 30-day period; and, two , the facts in Tomali were different from those herein.
I cannot join the majoritys rejection of the applicability of Favis and Tomali v. Civil Service Commission to this case. On the contrary, I urge that the Court take such case law as authoritative.
Favis, being of 1966 vintage, does not mention the 30-day submission period because the case was decided under the old Civil Service Law, which then required merely the submission of the appointment, without any prescribed period. The 30-day submission period was introduced by P.D. 807 only in 1975. Favis is authoritative and instructive nonetheless, because it establishes the rule that the approval of the CSC is necessary to render an appointment effective . With the introduction by P.D. 807 of the 30-day period within which to submit an appointment for the CSCs approval, it should follow that an appointment not submitted within the period does not, and cannot, be approved.
Tomali states the prevailing rule that compliance with the legal requirement for an appointment to a civil service position is essential in order to make the appointment fully effective. Tomali was decided in 1994, when P.D. 807 and E.O. 202 were already in force. Although the petitioner in Tomali did not follow up on the status of her appointment, there was a finding that the appointing authority did not unjustly favor the respondent, thereby justifying the Courts declaration that the non-submission of the appointment rendered the appointment ineffective .
Nothing in Tomali even remotely implies that the bad faith on the part of the appointing authority, causing the delay or the non-submission of the appointment paper to the CSC, is sufficient excuse to do away with the 30-day period for the submission.The Courts statement in Tomali that (t)here is nothingon record to convince us that the new OMA Director has unjustly favored private respondent nor has exercised his powerof appointment in an arbitrary, whimsical or despotic manner30cralaw is merely part of the finding that there was no grave abuse of discretion committed by the public respondents. Tomali was, after all, a special civil action for certiorari , which necessarily called for a determination of whether the respondent had committed grave abuse of discretion.
Verily, in declaring an appointment as ineffective for failure to submit it to the CSC for approval within the prescribed period, the Court need not distinguish between deliberate or malicious acts and mere tolerance, acquiescence or mistake of the officials that lead to the non-submission of the appointment to the CSC. The mere failure to submit the appointment, regardless of the reason for non-submission , renders the appointment ineffective.
The majority argue that the submission of the appointment beyond the prescribed period is not an impediment to its validity. They cite Civil Service Commission v. Joson 31cralaw and Chavez v. Ronidel, 32cralaw in which the Court has ruled thatan appointment remains valid despite the non-compliance of the proper officials with the pertinent CSC rules.
In Civil Service Commission v. Joson and Chavez v. Ronidel , the inaction of certain officials led to the non-compliance with the CSC requirement that appointments should be included in the monthly report of personnel action (ROPA), which must be submitted in turn to the CSC. The Court held that legitimate justifications excused the delayed observance of or the non-compliance with the requirement. It should be noted, however, that the agencies concerned33cralaw were accredited agencies of the CSC; that is , they could take final action on the appointments without first submitting the appointments to the CSC for approval.34cralaw Accredited agencies are required only to submit a report on appointments issued (RAI), together with the photocopies of appointments issued during the month, within 15 days of the succeeding month. The accredited agencies involved in Civil Service Commission v. Joson and Chavez v. Ronidel could take, and, in fact, took, final action on the appointments. The submission of the ROPA was a mere ministerial duty, because the CSCs approval was no longer needed for such appointments.Hence, the leniency extended by the Court to the appointees whose names were not timely included in the ROPA should not be applied to instances where the submission of the appointment is necessary to complete an appointment, like herein.
the petitioner was appointed as Administrative Officer II on
The majoritys argument, that it is the CSC, not the appointing authority, that can revoke the respondents appointment, because the respondent had meanwhile accepted her appointment, citing Section 9, Rule V of the Omnibus Rules35cralaw and De Rama v. Court of Appeals, 36cralaw is unacceptable to me.
In my view, De Rama v. Court of Appeals actually bolsters the conclusion that the petitioners appointment effectively revoked that of the respondent.Indeed, De Rama states:
Rule V, Section 9 of the Omnibus Implementing Regulations of the Revised Administrative Code specifically provides that an appointment accepted by the appointee cannot be withdrawn or revoked by the appointing authority and shall remain in force and in effect until disapproved by the Commission.Thus, it is the CSC that is authorized to recall an appointment initially approved, but only when such appointment and approval are proven to be in disregard of applicable provisions of the civil service law and regulations.37cralaw
As interpreted in De Rama, the prohibition against the revocation of an appointment under Section 9 presupposes that the appointment was already initially approved by the CSC itself. It is not disputed that the respondents appointment was never submitted to the CSC; hence, there was never any chance for the CSC to initially approve her appointment, prior to the petitioners appointment.
The rule has always been that an appointment is essentially a discretionary act, performed by an officer in whom it is vested according to his best judgment, the only condition being that the appointee should possess all the qualifications required therefor.In the absence of any showing that the respondent is not qualified for the position of Administrative Officer II, the Court will not interfere with the prerogative of the appointing officer in this case.
ACCORDINGLY, I vote to grant the petition for review on certiorari .
The decision and resolution of the
Court of Appeals dated
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