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[G.R. No. 149293. October 15, 2001]

PO1 EDGARDO O. TRINIDAD vs. JESSICA PALUSTRE SANTOS

THIRD DIVISION

Gentlemen:

Quoted hereunder, for your information, is a resolution of this Court dated OCT 15 2001.

G.R. No. 149293(PO1 Edgardo O. Trinidad vs. Jessica Palustre Santos.)

Petitioner assails the decision of the Court of Appeals affirming the decision of the Third Division of the Regional Appellate Board (RAB) of the National Police Commission which in turn affirmed that of the People's Law Enforcement Board (PLEB) finding petitioner guilty of grave misconduct and oppression, which latter board, insofar as pertinent, disposed as follows:

WHEREFORE, considered in the light of the foregoing, this Board renders judgment:

A. Finding the respondent, EDGARDO 0. TRINIDAD GUILTY of the offenses of Grave Misconduct and Oppression, with aggravating circumstance cited in the body of this Decision and with no proven mitigating circumstance;

B. Ordering his DISMISSAL from the service, which shall carry with it the cancellation of his eligibility, forfeiture of leave credits and retirement benefits and disqualification for re-employment in the police service, effective upon his receipt of this Decision, despite timely motion for reconsideration or appeal that may be taken by him.

The present controversy stemmed from a shooting incident which occurred on the morning of February 10, 1994 wherein a certain Pedro L. Palustre, Jr., brother of private respondent, was shot and mortally wounded by petitioner PO1 Edgardo O. Trinidad, prompting private respondent to file a complaint before the PLEB for grave misconduct. Petitioner was therein found guilty of grave misconduct and oppression and his dismissal from service with forfeiture of benefits was accordingly ordered.

On appeal, the National Police Commission Regional Appellate Board affirmed. However, acting on a motion for reconsideration, the penalty of dismissal was later modified to forced resignation with entitlements.

Still not satisfied, petitioner elevated the matter to the Court of Appeals which rendered the above assailed decision. Petitioner contends that the appellate court erred when it did not order his reinstatement to his former position pursuant to Section 48 of Republic Act 6975.

Said law provides:

Section 48. Entitlement to Reinstatement and Salary - A member of the PNP who may have been suspended from office in accordance with the provisions of this Act or who shall have been terminated or separated from office shall, upon acquittal from the charges against him, be entitled to reinstatement and to prompt payment of salary, allowances and other benefits withheld from him by reason of such suspension or termination.

Petitioner argues that when the separate criminal charge against him under Case No. 94-137675 was dismissed, said dismissal was an acquittal in accordance with the above provision which necessitates his immediate reinstatement.

Petitioner is in grave error. There is nothing in the provision relied upon which indicates that once an accused is acquitted in the criminal case, he shall be automatically entitled to reinstatement which is tantamount to an exoneration in the administrative case wherein petitioner was repeatedly found guilty. The acquittal spoken of by Section 48 is exoneration in the administrative case, which circumstance of course will entitle one to reinstatement and payment of backwages.

WHEREFORE, petition is denied due course.

SO ORDERED.

Very truly yours,

(Sgd.) JULIETA Y. CARREON
Clerk of Court


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