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Case Digests on Civil Procedure (Part II)

Case Digests on Civil Procedure (Part II)

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Published by Danniel Ancheta
Philippine Remedial Law
Philippine Remedial Law

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Published by: Danniel Ancheta on Nov 10, 2009
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[G.R. No. 135805. April 29, 1999]
Pedro Dacoycoy was charged withhabitual drunkenness, misconduct andnepotism. After the fact-finding investigation,the CSC Regional Office Tacloban City,found a
 prima facie
case against respondentand issued the corresponding formal chargeagainst him. Accordingly, the CSC conducteda formal investigation and the CSCpromulgated its resolution finding nosubstantial evidence to support the charge of habitual drunkenness and misconduct.However, CSC found respondent Dacoycoyguilty of nepotism on two counts as a result of the appointment of his two sons, Rito andPed, as driver and utility worker, respectively,and their assignment under his immediatesupervision and control as the VocationalSchool Administrator Balicuatro College of Arts and Trades, and imposed on him thepenalty of dismissal from the service.Respondent Dacoycoy filed a motion foreconsideration. However CSC denied themotion.
Respondent Dacoycoy filed with theCourt of Appeals a special civil action for 
with preliminary injunction to setaside the Civil Service Commission’sresolutions.CA reversed and set aside the decision of theCSC, ruling that respondent did not appointor recommend his two sons Rito and Ped,and, hence, was not guilty of nepotism. TheCourt further held that it is “the person whorecommends or appoints who should besanctioned, as it is he who performs theprohibited act.”
Hence, this appeal.
We agree with the CSC thatrespondent Pedro O. Dacoycoy was guilty of nepotism and correctly meted out the penaltyof dismissal from the service.At this point, we have necessarily to resolve thequestion of the party adversely affected who maytake an appeal from an adverse decision of theappellate court in an administrative civil servicedisciplinary case. There is no question thatrespondent Dacoycoy may appeal to the Court of Appeals from the decision of the Civil ServiceCommission adverse to him.He was the respondent official meted out thepenalty of dismissal from the service. On appealto the Court of Appeals, the court required thepetitioner therein, here respondent Dacoycoy, toimplead the Civil Service Commission as publicrespondent as the government agency taskedwith the duty to enforce the constitutional andstatutory provisions on the civil service.Subsequently, the Court of Appeals reversed thedecision of the Civil Service Commission andheld respondent not guilty of nepotism. Whonow may appeal the decision of the Court of Appeals to the Supreme Court? Certainly notthe respondent, who was declared not guilty of the charge. Nor the complainant George P.Suan, who was merely a witness for thegovernment.Consequently, the Civil Service Commission hasbecome the party adversely affected by suchruling, which seriously prejudices the civil servicesystem. Hence, as an aggrieved party, it mayappeal the decision of the Court of Appeals tothe Supreme Court.By this ruling, we now expressly abandon andoverrule extant jurisprudence that “the phrase‘party adversely affected by the decision’ refersto the government employee against whom theadministrative 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 officeand notincluded are “cases where the penalty imposedis suspension for not more then thirty (30) daysor fine in an amount not exceeding thirty days
Danniel AnchetaPage 1 of 1411/9/2009
salaryor when the respondent isexonerated of the charges, there is nooccasion for appeal.”In other words, we overrule prior decisionsholding that the Civil Service Law “does notcontemplate a review of decisionsexonerating officers or employees fromadministrative chargesenunciated inParedes v. Civil Service Commission;Mendez v. Civil Service Commission;Magpale v. Civil Service Commission;Navarro v. Civil Service Commission andExport Processing Zone Authority and morerecently Del Castillo v. Civil ServiceCommission[G.R. No. 128345. May 18, 1999]PNCC
A complaint was formally aired tothe Tollway General Manager (GM) about the“mulcting activitiesof some securitypersonnel at the North Luzon Tollway. Theinvestigating team staged an entrapment.The jeepney was then carrying a cargo of dogs destined for Baguio City.Before reaching the Plaza Santa Entry, the jeepney was stopped by private respondentAngeles who was on duty at that time. Heallegedly suspected them of illegallytransporting dogs. Angeles approached thedriver, asked for his driver’s license and toldhim to park at the shoulder of the road. After the jeepney had parked, the driver alightedand talked to the guards on duty. Themembers of the investigating team sawprivate respondents accept cash and a sackcontaining a dog, after which they allowed the jeepney to leave.As private respondents walked toward the tollplaza, they were accosted by the members of the investigating team. Upon verification, theteam found that these were the same billsthey had previously marked. After the formalinvestigation, the investigating officesubmitted his findings to GM and recommendedthe dismissal of private respondents. Adoptingthe findings and recommendation of theinvestigating officer, GM issued a Notice of Termination to private respondents.Private respondents filed a complaint for illegaldismissal against petitioner. They alleged thatthey were dismissed without just or authorizedcause and without due process. The complaintprayed for reinstatement plus payment of backwages and mid-year bonus.LA ruled in favor of private respondents. He heldthat petitioner failed to prove by clear andconvincing evidence that private respondentscommitted serious misconduct. However,instead of ordering their reinstatement, the Labor Arbiter ordered the payment of separation paybecause of strained relations. He also orderedpetitioner to pay private respondents theibackwages and mid-year bonus.On appeal, NLRC modified the decision of theLA. It held that private respondents’ act of receiving a sum of money and a dog frommotorists constituted bribery which was asufficient ground for their dismissal. The NLRCnonetheless ordered petitioner to pay privaterespondents their separation pay on the groundof equity. It also retained the award of privaterespondents’ mid-year bonus for 1994.Petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration but itwas denied by the NLRC for lack of merit. Hencethis petition for certiorari.
The petition was filed on March 13,1997. At that time, the prevailing rule was thatpetitions for 
may be filed withinreasonable time from receipt of the resolutiondenying the motion for reconsideration. Therewas no fixed standard to determine thereasonableness of the period, but the Courtgenerally considered the period of three (3)months to be reasonable.
Danniel AnchetaPage 2 of 1411/9/2009
The records show that petitioner received theresolution of the NLRC denying its motion for reconsideration on December 16, 1996 andthe petition at bar was filed two (2) monthsand twenty-seven (27) days later. We thusfind that the instant petition was filed on time.We now go to the primary issue in this case –whether private respondents are entitled toseparation pay and mid-year bonus. We rulein the negative.An employee who is dismissed for just causeis generally not entitled to separation pay. Insome cases, however, the Court awardsseparation pay to a legally dismissedemployee on the grounds of equity and social justice. This is not allowed, though, when theemployee has been dismissed for seriousmisconduct or some other cause reflecting onhis moral character.In the case at bar, private respondents werecaught in the act of accepting bribe in theform of cash and a dog from a motorists whowas suspected of illegality transporting dogs.As tollway guards, private respondents hadthe duty to maintain peace and order at theNorth Luzon Expressway and to ensure thattollway rules and regulations are followed.But private respondents did the contrary byyielding to bribery. They were the first toviolate the rules they were tasked to enforce.Undoubtedly, private respondents’ actconstituted serious misconduct whichwarranted their dismissal from service. It isfor this reason that we find privaterespondents undeserving of the comparisonaccorded by the law to workers who arebound to join the ranks of the unemployed.Likewise, private respondents are not entitledto the mid-year bonus they are claiming. Wedo not agree with the Solicitor General’scontention that private respondents havealready earned their mid-year bonus at thetime of their dismissal. A bonus is a gift fromthe employer and the grant thereof is amanagement prerogative. Petitioner may not becompelled to award a bonus to privaterespondents whom it found guilty of seriousmisconduct.We further held in
Metro Transit Organization,Inc. vs. NLR
that a bonus becomes ademandable or enforceable obligation only whenit is made part of the wage or salary ocompensation of the employee, thus:
“The general rule is that a bonus is a gratuity or an act of liberality which the recipient hasno right to demand as a matter of right. Abonus, however, is a demandable oenforceable obligation when it is made part of the wage or salary or compensation of theemployee. Whether or not a bonus forms part of wages depends upon thecircumstances and conditions for its payment. If it is additional compensationwhich the employer promised and agreed togive without any conditions imposed for its payment, such as success of business or greater production or output, then it is part of the wage. But if it is paid only if profits arerealized or if a certain level of productivity isachieved, it cannot be considered part of thewage. Where it is not payable to all but only to some employees and only when their labor becomes more efficient or more productive, it is only an inducement for efficiency, a prizetherefor, not a part of the wage.” 
Private respondents in this case neither allegednor adduced evidence to show that the bonusthey are claiming is a regular benefit which hasbecome part of their compensation. Thus, thepresumption is that it is not a demandableobligation from the employer and the latter maynot be compelled to grant the same toundeserving employees.
[G.R. No. 123910. April 5, 1999]
, vs.
Danniel AnchetaPage 3 of 1411/9/2009

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