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Title: Grino vs.

Civil Service Commission, 194 SCRA 458


Statement of the Facts:
Petitioner Sixto Demaisip was the first appointed Provincial Attorney of Iloilo. He
resigned and recommended respondent Teotimo Arandela as his replacement. The OIC
governor approved the recommendation and assigned Arandela as his replacement.
On February 2, 1988, petitioner Simplicio Grio assumed office as the newly elected
governor of Iloilo. One month later, he informed respondent Arandela and all the legal
officers at the Provincial Attorney's Office about his decision to terminate their services.
In his letter, petitioner Grio made mention of an article pertaining to the Iloilo office of
the Provincial Attorney which appeared in the Panay News and which "undermined that
trust and confidence" that he reposed on them. Petitioner Demaisip was reappointed by
Governor Grio as the Provincial Attorney
Arandela appealed the action taken by Governor Grino to the Merit Systems Protection
Board of the CSC. The MSPB declared the termination illegal, and ordered Arandela
and others to be immediately restored to their positions, with backwages. This was
affirmed by the CSC.
Gov. Grino now filed a petition for review assailing the decision of the MSPB and CSC.
He relied on the case of Cadiente, which ruled that a city legal officer was a primarily
confidential position. He argued that since a provincial attorney and a city legal officer
has similar functions, the provincial attorney is also a primarily confidential position, one
requiring utmost confidence on the part of the mayor to be extended to said officer
Issue:
WON the position of a Provincial Attorney and Legal Officer were confidential in
character and thus can be terminated upon loss of trust
Ruling:
Yes the Provincial Attorney and Legal officer were confidential position.
In Cadiente vs. Santos, the court ruled that the position of a city legal officer is
undeniably one which is primarily confidential in this manner:
The position of a City Legal Officer is one requiring that utmost confidence on the part
of the mayor be extended to said officer. The relationship existing between a lawyer and
his client, whether a private individual or a public officer, is one that depends on the
highest degree of trust that the latter entertains for the counsel selected. The phrase
"primarily confidential" "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 on confidential matters of state
The court agreed to the petitioners that the Cadiente case can be made applicable to
the provincial attorneys.
The positions of city legal officer and provincial attorney were created under RA5185,
which categorized them together as positions of trust. Both the provincial attorney and
the city legal officer serve as a 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.
A comparison of these 2 positions under the LGC would reveal the close similarity of
the 2 positions. Said functions clearly reflect the highly confidential nature of the 2
offices and the need for a relationship based on trust between the officer and the head
of the LGU he serves. The fact that the position of Arandela as provincial attorney has
already been classified as under career service and certified as permanent by the CSC
cannot conceal or alter its highly confidential nature. Since in the Cadiente case the city
legal officer was declared by this Court to be primarily confidential, the Court must also
hold that the position of provincial attorney is also primarily confidential. To
rule otherwise would be tantamount to classifying 2 positions with the same nature and
functions in to incompatible categories
Arandelas termination is valid. The tenure of an official holding a primarily confidential
position ends upon loss of confidence. He was not dismissed or removed from office,
his term merely expired.
With respect to the legal assistants and subordinates of the provincial attorney (who
were also terminated along with Arandela), they have been employed due to their
technical qualifications. Their positions are highly technical in character and not
confidential. Thus they are PERMANENT EMPLOYEES and they belong to the
category of CLASSIFIED employees under the CSL. Thus, the positions are permanent
and they enjoy security of tenure.