Nescito C. Hilario v. Civil Service Commission and Charito L.

Romero, J. – 31 March 1995
SV: Hilario was appointed City Attorney by then QC Mayor Simon. A new mayor,
Mathay, was later elected. Mayor Mathay sent Hilario a letter informing him that his
services were terminated. Subsequently, a complaint was filed against Hilario with
the CSC. The CSC rendered Resolutions saying that Hilario should no longer be
allowed to continue holding the position of Legal Officer of QC. Hilario went to the
SC, seeking to nullify the CSC Resolutions.
The position of Legal Officer is a confidential one, and therefore its term is
coterminous with the appointing Mayor. The SC also said that the CSC had authority
under the Administrative Code to remove petitioner.
- Petitioner was appointed City Attorney by then Mayor of QC Brigido R. Simon, Jr.
(OIC of the Office of the Mayor of QC.
- A new mayor, Ismael Mathay, Jr., was subsequently elected. Mathay sent a letter to
Hilario informing him that the he is deemed resigned pursuant to Sec. 481, Art II of
the LGC of 1991 which provided that the position of City Legal Officer is coterminous with the appointing authority.
- Vice Mayor of QC Charito Planas later filed a complaint with the CSC against Hilario
and a certain Pecson praying that they be found administratively liable for
usurpation, grave misconduct, being notoriously undesirable, gross insubordination,
and conduct grossly prejudicial to the best interest of the service.
- CSC issued Resolution No. 93-4067 holding in abeyance any disciplinary action
against Hilario. CSC also declared in the said resolution that Hilario should no longer
be allowed to continue holding the position of Legal Officer (City Attorney) of QC.
- MR by Hilario was subsequently denied by the CSC in its Resolution No. 94-3336.
- Hilario filed a petition with the SC to annul the above mentioned resolutions of the
1) Is the position of City Legal Officer a confidential one? YES.
Hilario’s arguments:
a) Hilario argued that when he was appointed City Attorney, the applicable law
was BP 337, and therefore his position should not be considered confidential.
b) He argues that while the position was considered confidential under RA 5185,
BP 337 impliedly repealed the confidential nature of the position when it
expanded the duties of the City Attorney.
SC disagreed. The provisions of BP 337 reveal no intention by the legislature to
remove the confidential nature of the position of city legal officer. It merely specifies

the various qualifications, powers and duties of a city legal officer which were not
enumerated in RA 5185.
In previous cases it has been held that the City Legal Officer is a confidential
position. In Grino v. CSC, both the City Legal Officer and its counterpart, the
Provincial Attorney, both involve rendering trusted service.
By virtue of Republic Act No. 5185, both the provincial attorney and city legal
officer serve as the legal adviser and legal officer for the civil cases of the
province and the city that they work for. Their services are precisely
categorized by law to be "trusted services."
2) Does CSC have the authority to remove petitioner? YES.
Hilario argues that the Mayor is the only one who may remove him from office
directly and not the CSC, which only has appellate powers to review the decision of
the Mayor.
SC disagreed. Nothing in the Administrative Code precludes the CSC from deciding a
disciplinary case before it. Sec. 47 states:
Sec. 47. Disciplinary Jurisdiction. — (1) The Commission shall decide upon
appeal all administrative disciplinary cases involving the imposition of a
penalty of suspension for more than thirty days, or fine in an amount
exceeding thirty days' salary, demotion in rank or salary or transfer, removal
or dismissal from office. A complaint may be filed directly with the
Commission by a private citizen against a government official or employee in
which case it may hear and decide the case or it may deputize any
department or agency or official or group of officials to conduct the
investigation. The results of the investigation shall be submitted to the
Commission with recommendation as to the penalty to be imposed or other
action to be taken.
When the CSC determined that petitioner was no longer entitled to hold the position
of City Legal Officer, it was acting within its authority under the Administrative Code
to hear and decide complaints filed before it.
3) (can skip) Other arguments of Hilario:
a) He argues that he is not covered by the LGC of 1991 which explicitly states
that the term of the legal officers shall be co-terminous with the appointing
authority. He argues that the co-terminous provision applies only to future
appointments, not incumbents.
SC: Provision is merely a reiteration of the principle that the position of City
Legal Officer is a confidential one. Therefore, it is co-terminous with that of
the appointing authority.
b) He argues that Mayor Mathay has given him legal assignments, an
indication that Mathay still reposes trust and confidence in him.

SC: If Mayor Mathay really intended to retain Hilario’s services, Mathay would
have issued a formal appointment.