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[G.R. No. 145953.June 19, 2001]

ALFREDO R. JOSE, JR. vs. CA, et al.

EN BANC

Gentlemen:

Quoted hereunder, for your information, is a resolution of this Court dated JUN 19 2001.

G.R. No. 145953(Alfredo R. Jose Jr., vs. Court of Appeals and Civil Service Commission.)

This is a petition for certiorari from the decision of the Court of Appeals dated June 30, 2000 in CA G.R. SP No. 55191 affirming in toto the resolution of the Civil Service Commission dated October 27, 1998 denying the petitioner's motion to dismiss the administrative complaint filed against him.

The petitioner is a stenographic reporter in the office of the Ombudsman.Sometime in 1996 a certain Blesilda Servando, petitioner's officemate, filed a complaint against him before the grievance committee of the said office for conduct unbecoming a government employee and for rumor mongering.The complaint was assigned to a panel of investigators.Before termination of the investigation at the grievance committee level, and before the case was docketed as an administrative case, the complaint was withdrawn on November 8, 1996.Meanwhile, another complaint based on the same facts was filed by the same complainant with the regional office of the Civil Service Commission.The Regional Office of the CSC assumed jurisdiction over the complaint and after due investigation a formal charge was filed against herein petitioner on January 8, 1997 before the said office.Petitioner filed a motion to dismiss the charges filed against him on the ground that the Ombudsman grievance committee has assumed jurisdiction over the complaint.The CSC Regional Office denied the motion.The order denying the motion to dismiss was affirmed by the Civil Service Commission and by the Court of Appeals.

Hence, this petition.

The petitioner's main contention is that the Regional Office of the Civil Service Commission erred in assuming jurisdiction over the case even before the grievance committee of the Ombudsman, where both the complainant and the respondent are employed, has terminated its investigation.It is claimed that the grievance committee first assumed jurisdiction over the case to the exclusion of all other tribunals.

In its resolution affirming the findings of the regional office, the Civil Service Commission took into consideration the fact that the complaint filed before the Ombudsman was already withdrawn by the complaint on November 8, 1996 or prior to the filing of formal charges against the petitioner by the regional office of the Commission on January 8, 1997.Accordingly, the regional office of the Commission correctly assumed jurisdiction over the case.The Court of Appeals affirmed the resolution of the Commission based on the same legal ground.

We find no grave abuse of discretion committed by the appellate court.

Section 29 of the Implementing Rules of Book V of Executive Order 292 on Civil Service Laws states:

"Sec. 29.The Commission may assume original jurisdiction on complaints filed directly before it against any other official or employee.For this purpose, it may hear and decide the case or it may deputize any other officer of the department or agency to conduct the investigation and to receive evidence.The results of the investigation together with the evidence adduced and recommendation shall be submitted to the commission for decision."

The withdrawal of the complaint filed before the Ombudsman, prior to the filing of formal charges against the petitioner by the regional office of the Commission, is not disputed by the petitioner.The said withdrawal is supported by an official letter sent by the office of the Ombudsman, and that of the complainant, to the Commission.The Chairman of the grievance committee of the Ombudsman even informed the regional office of the Commission that the said complaint was withdrawn even before it ripened into an administrative case.Accordingly, the Ombudsman ceased to have jurisdiction over the complaint once it was withdrawn and the regional office of the Commission properly assumed jurisdiction over the complaint directly filed before it under the above-quoted rule.When the regional office filed formal charges against the petitioner there was no pending investigation before the grievance committee of the Ombudsman to speak of.We find no grave abuse of discretion committed by the appellate court in upholding the finding of the Commission that the regional office properly assume jurisdiction over the case.

Wherefore, the petition is dismissed for lack of merit.

Very truly yours,

LUZVIMINDA D. PUNO
Clerk of Court

(Sgd.) MA. LUISA D. VILLARAMA

Asst. Clerk of Court


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