November 2005 - Philippine Supreme Court Decisions/Resolutions
G.R. NO. 142937 - Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation v. Marita A. Angara, et al.
[G.R. NO. 142937 November 15, 2005]
PHILIPPINE AMUSEMENT AND GAMING CORPORATION, Petitioner, v. MARITA A. ANGARA and BEATRIZ T. LA VICTORIA, Respondents.
D E C I S I O N
Before this Court is a Petition for Review on Certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court assailing the Resolution1 of the Court of Appeals (CA) dated January 31, 2000 in CA-G.R. SP No. 56375, which dismissed petitioner's Petition for Review for late filing; and the Resolution dated April 7, 2000, which denied petitioner's motion for reconsideration.
The factual background of the case is as follows:
Respondents Beatriz T. La Victoria (La Victoria) and Marita A. Angara (Angara) were Slot Machine Roving Token Attendants (SMRTAs)2 of petitioner Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) assigned at its casino in Davao City.
In a letter dated July 23, 1997, the PAGCOR Board of Directors dismissed them from service, effective June 28, 1997, for loss of trust and confidence.3 It appears that respondent La Victoria was dismissed for alleged short selling of tokens while respondent Angara was dismissed for alleged token passing and condoning or actively assisting La Victoria in covering up her shortage. On August 12, 1997, respondents filed a motion for reconsideration4 but their motion was denied.5
On October 17, 1997, respondents filed their appeal memorandum with the Civil Service Commission (CSC).6 In a resolution dated October 21, 1997, the CSC directed PAGCOR Chairman Alicia Ll. Reyes to submit her comment on the said appeal together with the records of the case within ten days from receipt of the resolution.7 Instead of filing a comment, petitioner filed a motion to dismiss, on November 24, 1997, on the ground that the appeal was filed out of time.8
On May 27, 1999, the CSC issued Resolution No. 991110. It treated petitioner's motion to dismiss as its comment and, on the basis of respondents' appeal memorandum, ruled in the latter's favor. It reversed the respondents' dismissal and ordered their reinstatement.9
On December 22, 1999, petitioner filed a motion for a twenty-day extension of time from December 23, 1999 or until January 11, 2000 within which to file its Petition for Review with the CA.12
On January 10, 2000, petitioner filed its Petition for Review with the CA.13
On January 13, 2000, the CA granted petitioner's motion for extension but only for fifteen days from December 23, 1999 or until January 7, 2000.14
On January 31, 2000, the CA issued the first assailed Resolution denying due course to the Petition for Review for having been filed three days past the extended period granted by the court.15
On February 22, 2000, petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration, contending that the petition was filed within the twenty-day extension it had asked for and thus should have been given due course. It further invoked liberal interpretation of the Rules for consideration of equity and substantial justice.16
On April 7, 2000, the CA rendered the second assailed Resolution denying for lack of merit petitioner's motion for reconsideration.17
The CA held that: Section 3,18 Rule 43 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure expressly provides that only one extension of fifteen (15) days may be granted to a petitioner within which to file a Petition for Review; petitioner took the risk when it asked for a twenty-day extension, evidently assuming that the court will grant the extension prayed for; even if the petition was timely filed, it will still have to be denied for the following formal defects: (a) the petition lacks an affidavit of service as mandated under Section 1319 of Rule 13; (b) the signatory to the certification against forum shopping was not shown to have been validly and legally authorized by the petitioner to sign the same; and (c) the written explanation required under Section 11,20 Rule 13 shows that the respondents were furnished, not with copies of the Petition for Review , but with copies of the "Motion for Extension of Time to File Verified Petition for Review."
Hence, the present Petition for Review on Certiorari anchored on the following assigned errors:
THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS SERIOUSLY ERRED IN DISMISSING PETITIONER'S VERIFIED PETITION FOR REVIEW.
THE CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION (CSC) ERRED IN DECLARING PRIVATE RESPONDENTS DISMISSAL WITHOUT CAUSE AND WITHOUT DUE PROCESS EVEN WITHOUT AWAITING THE COMMENT OF THE PETITIONER AND THE COMPLETE RECORDS OF THE CASE, WHERE THE MERIT OF THE CASE SHOULD HAVE BEEN FAIRLY AND IMPARTIALLY ASSESSED.
THE ACTS OF RTAs LA VICTORIA AND ANGARA CONSTITUTE DISHONESTY, A VIOLATION OF PAGCOR'S RULES ON EMPLOYEES DISCIPLINE REGARDED AS LOSS OF TRUST AND CONFIDENCE.
RTA's LA VICTORIA AND ANGARA HOLD CONFIDENTIAL POSITIONS WHOSE REMOVAL FROM THE SERVICE CAN BE JUSTIFIED THROUGH LOSS OF TRUST AND CONFIDENCE.
THE APPEAL FILED BY THE RESPONDENTS BEFORE THE CSC WAS NOT WITHIN THE REGLEMENTARY PERIOD TO FILE AN APPEAL, AND THEREFORE, THE CSC COULD NOT VALIDLY ACT ON IT.21
Petitioner submits that technicalities should be set aside in the interest of substantial justice. It avers that the dismissal of the petition filed three days past the granted period is unwarranted because the delay is excusable. It points out that: the case was originally handled by PAGCOR and referred to the Office of the Government Corporate Counsel for proper handling on December 10, 1999; the case was assigned to the present counsel for preparation of the petition only on December 13, 1999, or ten days before December 23, 1999, the expiry date for appeal; counsel had to coordinate with the former handling counsel of PAGCOR in order to be apprised of the factual background of the case and collate the documents and exhibits necessary for the preparation of the petition.
On the failure to attach an affidavit of service, petitioner contends that the CA did not require it to attach the same. Besides, the CA had notice that the petition was duly furnished all the parties, as manifested by the annotation of the registry receipt numbers, place and date of filing opposite the names of the parties, located at the last page of the petition, such that there was substantial compliance with the requirements of the Rules.
As to the verification and certification of non-forum shopping, petitioner maintains that the same was signed by the Managing Head for Corporate and Legal Services Department, Atty. Carlos R. Bautista, the officer of the petitioner who has personal knowledge of all the cases, perhaps, more knowledgeable than the head of the office.
With regard to the written explanation in the petition which states that respondents were furnished with copies of the "Motion for Extension of Time to File Verified Petition for Review," petitioner submits that it should be considered a mere typographical error.
Moreover, petitioner submits that its case is meritorious. It insists that it was denied due process when the CSC treated petitioner's motion to dismiss as its comment and decided the case forthwith, without allowing petitioner to submit its comment or the whole record of the case be elevated to it. Besides, petitioner maintains that the records show that respondents committed acts of dishonesty which are punishable with dismissal, even on the first offense.
Furthermore, petitioner submits that since respondents are confidential employees, pursuant to Section 1622 of Presidential Decree No. 186923 (the PAGCOR Charter), they did not have fixed term of office; their tenure of employment was dependent on the continued confidence of their superiors; such confidence was lost because it was proven that they committed dishonest acts in the performance of their duties.
Lastly, petitioner submits that since the CSC admitted that the appeal of the respondents was filed out of time, it should not have entertained the same. Therefore, petitioner's decision dismissing respondents from service, being final and executory, should stand.
Respondents, on the other hand, submit that the instant petition should have been dismissed outright since the verification and certification of non-forum shopping was signed by Atty. Bautista, the Managing Head for Corporate and Legal Services Department, and no board resolution was attached to show that he is petitioner's duly authorized representative. They further submit that there is no proof of service.
As to the issues presented by petitioner, respondents contend that the appeal before the CSC was not filed beyond the reglementary period because respondents were not furnished with petitioner's resolution dismissing them from service for loss of trust and confidence. Respondent La Victoria claims that she secured a copy through her own efforts while respondent Angara alleges that she was never furnished with a decision dismissing her from service. Besides, they submit that there is no rule before the CSC which provides that whenever a motion for reconsideration is denied, the moving party has only the remaining period from notice of denial within which to file notice of appeal. In any event, they aver that the CSC did not err in admitting the appeal because it is within its power to relax the rules to attain substantial justice.
They further contend that the CSC did not err in issuing Resolution No. 991110 despite the absence of the records since petitioner was deemed to have waived such right to file its comment when it chose to file a motion to dismiss. Moreover, the CSC did not err in ruling that respondents were not dismissed for cause and after due process since loss of trust and confidence is not one among the grounds for disciplinary action and there was no formal investigation conducted but a summary proceeding.
On one hand, the Court finds that petitioner has offered no justifiable reasons in filing the Petition for Review three days past the period granted since the Rules allow only a 15-day extension and petitioner's counsel cannot assume that his request for a 20-day extension will be granted. The reasons proffered by petitioner's counsel that he "needs sufficient time to collate and review the records of the case which are still in the possession of PAGCOR in order to come up with a well studied and appropriate Verified Petition for Review"24 and "since assigned counsel is saddled with the preparation of equally important pleadings coupled with almost daily appearances in court"25 are not exceptionally meritorious or most compelling reasons to allow petitioner additional three days or up to January 10, 2000, after the lapse of the fifteen-day period on January 7, 2000.
On the other hand, the Court notes that the last day for filing the Petition for Review , that is, January 7, 2000, fell on a Friday. Petitioner filed its Petition for Review on January 10, 2000, Monday, which was the next working day. Therefore, the delay in filing the motion for extension was actually for one day only.
It has been held that a one-day delay does not justify the appeal's denial where no element of intent to delay the administration of justice could be attributed to the petitioner.26 Needless to stress, the real purpose behind the limitation of the period of appeal is to forestall or avoid an unreasonable delay in the administration of justice and to put an end to controversies.27
In this case, the Court is inclined to excuse the one-day delay, in order to fully settle the merits of the case. After all, the policy of our judicial system is to encourage full adjudication of the merits of an appeal.
With respect to the non-attachment of the affidavit of service, such is not fatal to the petition since the registry receipts attached to the petition clearly show that respondents were served copies of the petition.28 The demands of substantial justice were satisfied by the actual receipt of the petition. In fact, respondents filed their comment thereon.29
With respect to the verification and certification signed by Atty. Bautista, petitioner's Managing Head for Corporate and Legal Services Department, it is but logical that he be the party affixing his signature therein, considering that the person who is in the best position to ascertain the truthfulness and the correctness of the allegations in the petition is its legal officer, who necessarily knows the status of any suit involving the company.30
As to the written explanation stating that respondents were furnished with copies of the "Motion for Extension of Time to File Verified Petition for Review,"31 it should be considered as a typographical or clerical error since what was actually furnished, as shown by the heading of the pleading, is a "Verified Petition for Review."32
While it is true that rules of procedure are intended to promote rather than frustrate the ends of justice, and the swift unclogging of court dockets is a laudable objective, it nevertheless must not be met at the expense of substantial justice.33 Time and again, this Court has reiterated the doctrine that the rules of procedure are mere tools intended to facilitate the attainment of justice, rather than frustrate it. A strict and rigid application of the rules must always be eschewed when it would subvert the primary objective of the rules, that is, to enhance fair trials and expedite justice. Technicalities should never be used to defeat the substantive rights of the other party. Every party-litigant must be afforded the amplest opportunity for the proper and just determination of his cause, free from the constraints of technicalities.34 Thus, the CA should have refrained from hastily dismissing the petition on procedural flaws.
In similar cases,35 the Court ordinarily remands the case to the CA for proper disposition on the merits. However, in the present case, considering the issues raised and the fact that the records of the case are before us, the Court deems it more appropriate and practical to resolve the present controversy in order to avoid further delay.36
The issue on the nature of employment of an employee of the petitioner has been laid to rest in Civil Service Commission v. Salas, wherein the Court en banc, speaking through the learned Justice Florenz D. Regalado, held:37
In reversing the decision of the CSC, the Court of Appeals opined that the provisions of Section 16 of Presidential Decree No. 1869 may no longer be applied in the case at bar because the same is deemed to have been repealed in its entirety by Section 2(1), Article IX-B of the 1987 Constitution. This is not completely correct. On this point, we approve the more logical interpretation advanced by the CSC to the effect that "Section 16 of PD 1869 insofar as it exempts PAGCOR positions from the provisions of Civil Service Law and Rules has been amended, modified or deemed repealed by the 1987 Constitution and Executive Order No. 292 (Administrative Code of 1987).
However, the same cannot be said with respect to the last portion of Section 16 which provides that "all employees of the casino and related services shall be classified as 'confidential' appointees." While such executive declaration emanated merely from the provisions of Section 2, Rule XX of the Implementing Rules of the Civil Service Act of 1959, the power to declare a position as policy-determining, primarily confidential or highly technical as defined therein has subsequently been codified and incorporated in Section 12(9), Book V of Executive Order No. 292 or the Administrative Code of 1987. This later enactment only serves to bolster the validity of the categorization made under Section 16 of Presidential Decree No. 1869. Be that as it may, such classification is not absolute and all-encompassing.
Prior to the passage of the aforestated Civil Service Act of 1959, there were two recognized instances when a position may be considered primarily confidential: Firstly, when the President, upon recommendation of the Commissioner of Civil Service, has declared the position to be primarily confidential; and, secondly, in the absence of such declaration, when by the nature of the functions of the office there exists "close intimacy" between the appointee and appointing power which insures freedom of intercourse without embarrassment or freedom from misgivings of betrayals of personal trust or confidential matters of state.
At first glance, it would seem that the instant case falls under the first category by virtue of the express mandate under Section 16 of Presidential Decree No. 1869. An in-depth analysis, however, of the second category evinces otherwise.
When Republic Act No. 2260 was enacted on June 19, 1959, Section 5 thereof provided that "the non-competitive or unclassified service shall be composed of positions expressly declared by law to be in the non-competitive or unclassified service or those which are policy-determining, primarily confidential, or highly technical in nature." In the case of Piñero, et al. v. Hechanova, et al., the Court obliged with a short discourse there on how the phrase "in nature" came to find its way into the law, thus:
"The change from the original wording of the bill (expressly declared by law x x x to be policy-determining, etc.) to that finally approved and enacted ('or which are policy determining, etc. in nature') came about because of the observations of Senator Tañada, that as originally worded the proposed bill gave Congress power to declare by fiat of law a certain position as primarily confidential or policy-determining, which should not be the case. The Senator urged that since the Constitution speaks of positions which are 'primarily confidential, policy-determining or highly technical in nature,' it is not within the power of Congress to declare what positions are primarily confidential or policy-determining. 'It is the nature alone of the position that determines whether it is policy-determining or primarily confidential. 'Hence, the Senator further observed, the matter should be left to the 'proper implementation of the laws, depending upon the nature of the position to be filled,' and if the position is 'highly confidential' then the President and the Civil Service Commissioner must implement the law.
To a question of Senator Tolentino, 'But in positions that involved both confidential matters and matters which are routine, x x x who is going to determine whether it is primarily confidential?' Senator Tañada replied:
'SENATOR TAÑADA: Well, at the first instance, it is the appointing power that determines that: the nature of the position. In case of conflict then it is the Court that determines whether the position is primarily confidential or not."'
Hence the dictum that, at least since the enactment of the Civil Service Act of 1959, it is the nature of the position which finally determines whether a position is primarily confidential, policy-determining or highly technical. And the Court in the aforecited case explicitly decreed that executive pronouncements, such as Presidential Decree No. 1869, can be no more than initial determinations that are not conclusive in case of conflict. It must be so, or else it would then lie within the discretion of the Chief Executive to deny to any officer, by executive fiat, the protection of Section 4, Article XII (now Section 2, Article IX-B) of the Constitution. In other words, Section 16 of Presidential Decree No. 1869 cannot be given a literally stringent application without compromising the constitutionally protected right of an employee to security of tenure.
The doctrinal ruling enunciated in Piñero finds support in the 1935 Constitution and was reaffirmed in the 1973 Constitution, as well as in the implementing rules of Presidential Decree No. 807, or the Civil Service Decree of the Philippines. It may well be observed that both the 1935 and 1973 Constitutions contain the provision, in Section 2, Article XII-B thereof, that "appointments in the Civil Service, except as to those which are policy-determining, primarily confidential, or highly technical in nature, shall be made only according to merit and fitness, to be determined as far as practicable by competitive examination." Corollarily, Section 5 of Republic Act No. 2260 states that "the non-competitive or unclassified service shall be composed of positions expressly declared by law to be in the non-competitive or unclassified service or those which are policy-determining, primarily confidential, or highly technical in nature." Likewise, Section 1 of the General Rules in the implementing rules of Presidential Decree No. 807 states that "appointments in the Civil Service, except as to those which are policy-determining, primarily confidential, or highly technical in nature, shall be made only according to merit and fitness to be determined as far as practicable by competitive examination." Let it be here emphasized, as we have accordingly italicized them, that these fundamental laws and legislative or executive enactments all utilized the phrase "in nature" to describe the character of the positions being classified.
The question that may now be asked is whether the Piñero doctrine to the effect that notwithstanding any statutory classification to the contrary, it is still the nature of the position, as may be ascertained by the court in case of conflict, which finally determines whether a position is primarily confidential, policy-determining or highly technical is still controlling with the advent of the 1987 Constitution and the Administrative Code of 1987, Book V of which deals specifically with the Civil Service Commission, considering that from these later enactments, in defining positions which are policy-determining, primarily confidential or highly technical, the phrase "in nature" was deleted.
We rule in the affirmative. The matter was clarified and extensively discussed during the deliberations in the plenary session of the 1986 Constitutional Commission on the Civil Service provisions, to wit:
"MR. FOZ: Which department of government has the power or authority to determine whether a position is policy-determining or primarily confidential or highly technical?cralawlibrary
FR. BERNAS: The initial decision is made by the legislative body or by the executive department, but the final decision is done by the court. The Supreme Court has constantly held that whether or not a position is policy-determining, primarily confidential or highly technical, it is determined not by the title but by the nature of the task that is entrusted to it. For instance, we might have a case where a position is created requiring that the holder of that position should be a member of the Bar and the law classifies this position as highly technical. However, the Supreme Court has said before that a position which requires mere membership in the Bar is not a highly technical position. Since the term 'highly technical' means something beyond the ordinary requirements of the profession, it is always a question of fact.
MR. FOZ: Does not Commissioner Bernas agree that the general rule should be that the merit system or the competitive system should be upheld?cralawlibrary
FR. BERNAS: I agree that that should be the general rule; that is why we are putting this as an exception.
MR. FOZ: The declaration that certain positions are policy-determining, primarily confidential or highly technical has been the source of practices which amount to the spoils system.
FR. BERNAS: The Supreme Court has always said that, but if the law of the administrative agency says that a position is primarily confidential when in fact it is not, we can always challenge that in court. It is not enough that the law calls it primarily confidential to make it such; it is the nature of the duties which makes a position primarily confidential.
MR. FOZ: The effect of a declaration that a position is policy-determining, primarily confidential or highly technical as an exception is to take it away from the usual rules and provisions of the Civil Service Law and to place it in a class by itself so that it can avail itself of certain privileges not available to the ordinary run of government employees and officers.
FR. BERNAS: As I have already said, this classification does not do away with the requirement of merit and fitness. All it says is that there are certain positions which should not be determined by competitive examination.
For instance, I have just mentioned a position in the Atomic Energy Commission. Shall we require a physicist to undergo a competitive examination before appointment? Or a confidential secretary or any position in policy-determining administrative bodies, for that matter? There are other ways of determining merit and fitness than competitive examination. This is not a denial of the requirement of merit and fitness."
It is thus clearly deducible, if not altogether apparent, that the primary purpose of the framers of the 1987 Constitution in providing for the declaration of a position as policy-determining, primarily confidential or highly technical is to exempt these categories from competitive examination as a means for determining merit and fitness. It must be stressed further that these positions are covered by security of tenure, although they are considered non-competitive only in the sense that appointees thereto do not have to undergo competitive examinations for purposes of determining merit and fitness.
In fact, the CSC itself ascribes to this view as may be gleaned from its questioned resolution wherein it stated that "the declaration of a position as primarily confidential if at all, merely exempts the position from the civil service eligibility requirement." Accordingly, the Piñero doctrine continues to be applicable up to the present and is hereby maintained. Such being the case, the submission that PAGCOR employees have been declared confidential appointees by operation of law under the bare authority of CSC Resolution No. 91-830 must be rejected.38 (Emphasis supplied)ςrαlαωlιbrαrÿ
In Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation v. Rilloraza,39 the Court, in reiterating the foregoing pronouncements, further stated that:
Justice Regalado's incisive discourse yields three (3) important points: first, the classification of a particular position as primarily confidential, policy-determining or highly technical amounts to no more than an executive or legislative declaration that is not conclusive upon the courts, the true test being the nature of the position. Second, whether primarily confidential, policy-determining or highly technical, the exemption provided in the Charter pertains to exemption from competitive examination to determine merit and fitness to enter the civil service. Such employees are still protected by the mantle of security of tenure. Last, and more to the point, Section 16 of P.D. 1869, insofar as it declares all positions within PAGCOR as primarily confidential, is not absolutely binding on the courts.40
In the present case, as SMRTAs, respondents' duties and responsibilities are:
JOB SUMMARY: Working under the supervision of the Slot Machine Supervisor, the Slot Machine Roving Token Attendant provides cash-to-token exchange services to slot machine players.
DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES:
1. Handles cash-to-token exchange transactions with slot machine players.
2. Accounts for the proper use, safekeeping, and liquidation of the individual vale issued by Treasury.
3. Provides optimum customer service to casino players in accordance with the established House Rules and company policies.
4. Notifies the Slot Machine Attendant of any need for jackpot payment or hopper refills, and informs the Slot Machine Technician of any fault codes or machine malfunctions.
5. Ensures the cleanliness of slot machine units, the proper arrangement of slot machine area stools, and the return of empty coin trays, bowls or tubes to the Token Counter or to a designated location.
6. Assists in the preparation of periodic slot machine reports, and in the maintenance of the section's files records and reports.
7. Notifies the Slot Machine Head/Asst. Head/Supervisor of any incident of doubtful nature.
8. Performs other duties as may be designated by the Casino Operations Manager.41
As a SMRTA, each of them earns
P3,000.00 a month.42 From the nature of respondents' functions, their organizational ranking, and their compensation level, it is obviously beyond debate that respondents, occupying one of the lowest ranks in petitioner, cannot be considered confidential employees. Their job description spells out their routinary functions. As enumerated in their functions, there is nothing to suggest that their positions were "highly," or much less "primarily" confidential in nature. There is no showing of that element of trust indicative of a primarily confidential position, as defined in De los Santos v. Mallare,43 thus:
Every appointment implies confidence, but much more than ordinary confidence is reposed in the occupant of a position that is primarily confidential. The latter phrase denotes not only confidence in the aptitude of the appointee for the duties of the office but primarily close intimacy which insures freedom of intercourse without embarrassment or freedom from misgivings of betrayals of personal trust or confidential matters of state.44
Petitioner, therefore, cannot justify respondents' dismissal on loss of trust and confidence since the latter are not confidential employees. Being regular employees that enjoy security of tenure, respondents can only be dismissed for just cause and with due process, notice and hearing. Petitioner cannot, in the alternative, allege that respondents are being dismissed for dishonesty since petitioner's thesis, in its motion for reconsideration in the CSC and petition before the CA, has always been that respondents, as confidential employees, can be dismissed for loss of trust and confidence. Besides, dishonesty is not the reason for which they were dismissed per the letter of dismissal of July 23, 1997, but for loss of trust and confidence.45
Moreover, the petitioner cannot claim it was deprived of due process of law when the CSC granted respondents' appeal without the comment of the petitioner or the records before it. Petitioner was directed to file its comment but chose instead to move for the dismissal of the appeal. It must be remembered that the CSC, being an administrative body with quasi-judicial powers, is not bound by the technical rules of procedure and evidence in the adjudication of cases, subject only to limitations imposed by basic requirements of due process.46
In Ang Tibay v. Court of Industrial Relations,47 we held that the provision for flexibility in administrative procedure does not go so far as to justify orders without a basis in evidence having rational probative value. In the present case, since petitioner claims that respondents are confidential employees and can be dismissed on loss of trust and confidence, the attachments to respondents' appeal memorandum, namely: (a) the letter dated February 6, 1997 from the petitioner's Board of Directors confirming respondent La Victoria's regular appointment as SMRTA, effective January 8, 1997, after six months probationary period, with a salary of
P3,000 a month;48 (b) the letter dated July 11, 1996 from the petitioner's Board of Directors confirming respondent Angara's regular appointment as SMRTA, effective June 4, 1996 with a salary of P3,000 a month;49 (c) the letter dated July 28, 1997 from Richard S. Syhongpan (Syhongpan), Branch Manager, Casino Filipino, Davao, addressed to respondent Angara informing her of preventive suspension effective same date, pending investigation;50 (d) two letters, both dated July 1, 1997, from Syhongpan, separately addressed to respondents, requiring them to appear before the Branch Management Panel;51 (e) the letter dated July 2, 1998 of respondent La Victoria addressed to the Branch Manager, explaining her side on the incident she was investigated on;52 (f) the Memorandum dated July 5, 1997 from Syhongpan directing respondent Angara to report to the Corporate Office on July 7, 1997 for further investigation;53 (g) the two letters, both of July 23, 1997, separately addressed to respondents, from Teresita S. Ela, Managing Head of the Personnel Administration Department of PAGCOR, informing them that the Board of Directors in the meeting on July 22, 1997 resolved to dismiss them from service for loss of trust and confidence effective June 28, 1997;54 (h) respondents' appeal for reconsideration dated August 12, 1997 filed with Alicia Ll. Reyes, Chairman and Chief Executor Officer of PAGCOR;55 (i) respondents' tracer letter dated September 12, 1997 addressed to Reyes, requesting speedy disposition of their appeal for reconsideration;56 (j) the Reply to Endorsement of Appeal for Reconsideration, dated September 12, 1997 from Reyes addressed to then Senate President Ernesto Maceda, on the denial of respondent La Victoria's appeal for reconsideration of their dismissal;57 and (k) the letter dated September 17, 1997 from Romeo T. Trio, PAGCOR's Corporate Secretary, informing respondents of the denial of their appeal for reconsideration by the PAGCOR's Board of Directors;58 and settled jurisprudence enunciated in Civil Service Commission v. Salas and Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation v. Rilloraza, are sufficient bases for the CSC's decision in favor of respondents.
Besides, petitioner was given the opportunity to be heard when it filed a motion for reconsideration of Resolution No. 991110, wherein it attached the records of the case, which included all the documents attached to respondents' appeal memorandum.59 The CSC, however, after a thorough re-evaluation of the arguments raised by petitioner, found no sufficient legal and factual basis to modify or alter its decision in the resolution. Petitioner cannot bewail denial of due process since it was given the opportunity to present its side on the propriety of respondents' dismissal through its motion for reconsideration and the attachments therein.60 Accordingly, the demands of due process have been sufficiently met.
WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED for lack of merit.
1 Penned by Justice Cancio C. Garcia (now Justice of this Court) and concurred in by Justices Romeo J. Callejo, Sr. (now Justice of this Court) and Presbitero J. Velasco, Jr. (now Court Administrator).
2 In its pleadings, petitioner refers to the respondents as simply RTAs or Roving Token Attendants.
3 CSC Records, p. 200.
4 Id., p. 215.
5 Id., p. 216.
6 Id., p. 190.
7 Id., p. 188.
8 Id., p. 182.
9 Id., p. 60.
10 Id., p. 67.
11 Id., p. 43.
12 CA Rollo, p. 2.
13 Id., p. 8.
14 Id., p. 7.
15 Id., p. 44.
16 Id., p. 45.
17 Id., p. 66.
18 Should be SEC. 4. Period of Appeal. - The appeal shall be taken 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 petitioner's motion for new trial or reconsideration duly filed in accordance with the governing law of the court or agency a quo. Only one (1) motion for reconsideration shall be allowed. Upon proper motion and the payment of the full amount of the docket fee before the expiration of the reglementary period, the Court of Appeals may grant an additional period of fifteen (15) days only within which to file the Petition for Review . No further extension shall be granted except for the most compelling reason and in no case to exceed fifteen (15) days. (Emphasis supplied)ςrαlαωlιbrαrÿ
19 SEC. 13. Proof of service. - Proof of personal service shall consist of a written admission of the party served, or the official return of the server, or the affidavit of the party serving, containing a full statement of the date, place and manner of service. If the service is by ordinary mail, proof thereof shall consist of an affidavit of the person mailing of facts showing compliance with section 7 of this Rule. If service is made by registered mail, proof shall be made by such affidavit and the registry receipt issued by the mailing office. The registry return card shall be filed immediately upon its receipt by the sender together with the certified or sworn copy of the notice given by the postmaster to the addressee. (Emphasis supplied)ςrαlαωlιbrαrÿ
20 SEC. 11. Priorities in modes of service and filing. - Whenever practicable, the service and filing of the pleadings and other papers shall be done personally. Except with respect to papers emanating from the court, a resort to other modes must be accompanied by a written explanation why the service or filing was not done personally. A violation of this Rule may be cause to consider the paper as not filed. (Emphasis supplied)ςrαlαωlιbrαrÿ
21 Rollo, pp. 23-24.
22 SECTION 16. Exemption. - All positions in the Corporation, whether technical, administrative, professional, or managerial are exempt from the provisions of the Civil Service Law, rules and regulations, and shall be governed only by the personnel management policies set by the Board of Directors. All employees of the casinos and related services shall be classified as "Confidential" appointees. (Emphasis supplied)ςrαlαωlιbrαrÿ
23 Entitled, "Consolidating and Amending Presidential Decree Nos. 1067-A, 1067-B, 1067-C, 1399 and 1632, relative to the Franchise and Powers of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR)."
24 CA Rollo, p. 6.
25 Id., p. 7.
26 Reyes v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 149580, March 16, 2005; Samala v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 128628, August 23, 2001, 363 SCRA 535.
27 Samala v. Court of Appeals, supra; De Las Alas v. Court of Appeals, No. L-38006, May 16, 1978, 83 SCRA 200; Dy Cay v. Crossfield & O Brien, No. 12375, August 30, 1918, 38 Phil. 521.
28 CA Rollo, p. 30. Gutierrez v. Secretary of DOLE, G.R. No. 142248, December 16, 2004; Añonuevo v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 152998, September 23, 2003, 411 SCRA 621.
29 Rollo, p. 201.
30 Mercury Drug Corporation v. Libunao, G.R. No. 144458, July 14, 2004, 434 SCRA 404; Robern Development Corporation v. Quitain, G.R. No. 135042, September 23, 1999, 315 SCRA 150.
31 CA Rollo, p. 30.
32 Id., p. 8.
33 Wack Wack Golf and Country Club v. NLRC, G.R. No.149793, April 15, 2005; General Milling Corporation v. NLRC, G.R. No. 153199, December 17, 2002, 394 SCRA 207.
34 Reyes v. Court of Appeals, supra Note No. 26; Development Bank of the Philippines v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 139034, June 6, 2001, 358 SCRA 501.
35 Garcia v. Philippine Airlines, G.R. No. 160798, June 8, 2005; Vicar International Construction, Inc. v. FEB Leasing and Finance Corporation, G.R. No. 157195, April 22, 2005; Donato v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 129638, December 8, 2003, 417 SCRA 216; BA Savings Bank v. Sia, G.R. No. 131214, July 27, 2000, 336 SCRA 484.
36 Wack Wack Golf and Country Club v. NLRC, supra Note No. 33.
37 G.R. No. 123708, June 19, 1997, 274 SCRA 414.
38 Id., pp. 420-427.
39 G.R. No. 141141, June 25, 2001, 359 SCRA 525.
40 Id., pp. 535-536.
41 CSC Records, p. 169.
42 Id., p. 206.
43 No. L-3881, August 31, 1950, 87 Phil. 289.
44 Id., p. 298.
45 CSC Records, p. 200.
46 Ang Tibay v. Court of Industrial Relations, No. 46496, February 27, 1940, 69 Phil. 635. See also Uichico v. NLRC, G.R. No. 121434, June 2, 1997, 273 SCRA 35; IBM Phils., Inc. v. NLRC, G.R. No. 117221, April 13, 1999, 305 SCRA 592; Asuncion v. NLRC, G.R. No. 129329, July 31, 2001, 362 SCRA 56.
47 No. 46496, February 27, 1940, 69 Phil. 635, 643.
48 CSC Records, p. 201.
49 Id., p. 206.
50 Id., p. 207.
51 Id., pp. 202, 208.
52 Id., p. 203.
53 Id., p. 209.
54 Id., pp. 200, 210.
55 Id., p. 211.
56 Id., p. 215.
57 Id., p. 204.
58 Id., p. 216.
59 Id., pp. 88-166.
60 Vda. de Chua v. Court of Appeals (Special Eighth Division), G.R. No. 116835, March 5, 1998, 287 SCRA 33, 50; Rodriguez v. Project 6 Market Service Cooperative, Inc., G.R. No. 79968, August 23, 1995, 247 SCRA 528, 534; Rubenecia v. Civil Service Commission, G.R. No. 115942, May 31, 1995, 244 SCRA 640, 652.