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Commission on Human Rights Employees' Association (CHREA) vs.

Commission on Human Rights [GR 155336, 25 November 2004] Second Division, Chico-Nazario (J): 4 concur Facts: On 14 February 1998, Congress passed Republic Act 8522, otherwise known as the General Appropriations Act of 1998. It provided for Special Provisions Applicable to All Constitutional Offices Enjoying Fiscal Autonomy. The last portion of Article XXXIII covers the appropriations of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR). These special provisions tackles Organizational Structure and the Use of Savings. On the strength of these special provisions, the CHR, through its then Chairperson Aurora P. Navarette-Recia and Commissioners Nasser A. Marohomsalic, Mercedes V. Contreras, Vicente P. Sibulo, and Jorge R. Coquia, promulgated Resolution A98-047 n 04 September 1998, adopting an upgrading and reclassification scheme among selected positions in the Commission. Annexed to said resolution is the proposed creation of ten additional plantilla positions, namely: one Director IV position, with Salary Grade 28 for the Caraga Regional Office, four Security Officer II with Salary Grade 15, and five Process Servers, with Salary Grade 5 under the Office of the Commissioners. On 19 October 1998, CHR issued Resolution No. A98-055 providing for the upgrading or raising of salary grades of certain positions in the Commission. It, likewise, provided for the creation and upgrading of other positions. To support the implementation of such scheme, the CHR, in the same resolution, authorized the augmentation of a commensurate amount generated from savings under Personnel Services. By virtue of Resolution A98-062 dated 17 November 1998, the CHR collapsed the vacant positions in the body to provide additional source of funding for said staffing modification. Among the positions collapsed were: one Attorney III, four Attorney IV, one Chemist III, three Special Investigator I, one Clerk III, and one Accounting Clerk II. The CHR forwarded said staffing modification and upgrading scheme to the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) with a request for its approval, but the then DBM secretary Benjamin Diokno denied the request. In light of the DBM's disapproval of the proposed personnel modification scheme, the Civil Service Commission (CSC)-National Capital Region Office, through a memorandum dated 29 March 1999, recommended to the CSC-Central Office that the subject appointments be rejected owing to the DBM's disapproval of the plantilla reclassification. Meanwhile, the officers of the Commission on Human Rights Employees' Association (CHREA), in representation of the rank and file employees of the CHR, requested the CSC-Central Office to affirm the recommendation of the CSC-Regional Office. CHREA stood its ground in saying that the DBM is the only agency with appropriate authority mandated by law to evaluate and approve matters of reclassification and upgrading, as well as creation of positions. The CSC-Central Office denied CHREA's request in a Resolution dated 16 December 1999, and reversed the recommendation of the CSC-

Regional Office that the upgrading scheme be censured. CHREA filed a motion for reconsideration, but the CSC-Central Office denied the same on 9 June 2000. Given the cacophony of judgments between the DBM and the CSC, CHREA elevated the matter to the Court of Appeals. The Court of Appeals affirmed the pronouncement of the CSC-Central Office and upheld the validity of the upgrading, retitling, and reclassification scheme in the CHR on the justification that such action is within the ambit of CHR's fiscal autonomy. The CHREA filed the petition for review.

Issue : Whether CHREA is a proper party to bring the suit in Court.

Held: The doctrine of locus standi was used. It has been held in a multitude of cases that a proper party is one who has sustained or is in immediate danger of sustaining an injury as a result of the act complained of. Here, CHREA, which consists of rank and file employees of CHR, protests that the upgrading and collapsing of positions benefited only a select few in the upper level positions in the Commission resulting to the demoralization of the rank and file employees. This sufficiently meets the injury test. Indeed, the CHR's upgrading scheme, if found to be valid, potentially entails eating up the Commission's savings or that portion of its budgetary pie otherwise allocated for Personnel Services, from which the benefits of the employees, including those in the rank and file, are derived. Further, the personality of the CHREA to file this case was recognized by the CSC when it took cognizance of the CHREA's request to affirm the recommendation of the CSC- National Capital Region Office. CHREA's personality to bring the suit was a non-issue in the Court of Appeals when it passed upon the merits of this case. Thus, neither should our hands be tied by this technical concern. Indeed, it is settled jurisprudence that an issue that was neither raised in the complaint nor in the court below cannot be raised for the first time on appeal, as to do so would be offensive to the basic rules of fair play, justice, and due process.

MATEO, et. al. vs. COURT OF APPEALS, et. al G. R. No. 113219, August 4, 1995 FACTS: Petitioners, all Board Members of MOWAD, conducted an investigation on private respondent Edgar Sta. Maria, then General Manager. When placed

under preventive suspension, Maximo San Diego was designated in his place as acting General Manager. He was later dismissed from service. Private respondent then filed a Special Civil Action before the Regional Trial Court of Rizal, Branch 78, challenging his dismissal by petitioners. Petitioners moved to dismiss the case on two grounds: 1. The court had no jurisdiction over the case; and 2. Quo warranto was not the proper remedy. Respondent judge denied the motion to dismiss and the motion for reconsideration as well.

ISSUE: Whether or not the regional trial court has jurisdiction over the special civil case involving dismissal of an employee of quasi-public corporation.

RULING: The Supreme Court held that it has no jurisdiction. MOWAD is a quasi-public corporation created pursuant to Presidential Decree No. 198, as amended, and as such its officers and employees are covered by the Civil Service Law. Indeed the established rule is that the hiring and firing of employees of government-owned and controlled corporations are governed by the provisions of the Civil Service Laws and Rules and Regulations. Petition is hereby granted. Doctrines: Civil Service Commission powers: Power to hear and decide administrative cases. Under the Administrative Code of 1987, the CSC has the power to hear and decide administrative cases instituted before it directly or on appeal, including contested appointments. Jurisdiction on Personnel actions. It is the intent of the Civil Service Law, in requiring the establishment of a grievance procedure, that decisions of lower officials (in cases involving personnel actions) be appealed to the agency head, then to the CSC. The RTC does not have jurisdiction over such personal actions.

Debulgado vs. CSCG

R. No. 111471 September 26, 1994 EN BANC FELICIANO,J. Facts: Rogelio R. Debulgado is the incumbent Mayor of the City of San Carlos, NegrosOccidental. Mayor appointed his wife, petitioner Victoria T. Debulgado, as General ServicesOfficer, that is, as head of the Office of General Services of the City Government of San Carlos.Victoria was one of three (3) employees of the City Government who were considered for theposition of General Services Officer. Before her promotion in 1992, she had been in the serviceof the City Government for about thirty-two (32) years. She joined the City Government on 3January 1961 as Assistant License Clerk. Through the years, she rose from the ranks,successively occupying the following positions: (a) Assistant Chief of the License & Fees Division, from 1 July 1965 to 30 June 1973;(b) Chief of the License and Fees Division, from 1 July 1973 to 1 January 1981;(c) Cashier, from 2 January 1981 to 30 June 1989; and(d) Cashier IV, from 1 July 1989 to 30 September 1992. On 1 October 1992, petitioner Victoria assumed the new post, and commenceddischarging the functions, of General Services Officer of San Carlos City and receiving theregular salary attached to that position.Congressman Tranquilino B. Carmona of the First District of Negros Occidental, calledthe attention of the CSC to the promotional appointment issued by petitioner Mayor in favor of his wife. From the report submitted by Director Jesse J. Caberoy of the Iloilo City-CSRO No. 6,the Commission found that petitioner Mayor was the lawful husband of the appointee, petitioner Victoria, the two (2) having been married sometime in 1964. Director Caberoy also reported thatthe appointment papers prepared by the Office of the City Mayor of San Carlos were submittedto the Bacolod City CSC-Field Office on 28 October 1992, and that the appointment wasthereafter approved by Director Purita H. Escobia of that CSC-Field Office.Acting on the report of Director Caberoy, the Commission, in its Resolution No. 93-1427dated 13 April 1993, recalled the approval issued by Director Escobia and disapproved thepromotion of petitioner Victoria to the position of General Services Officer of San Carlos Cityupon the ground that that promotion violated the statutory prohibition against nepoticappointments.Mayor and petitioner Victoria contend that the Commission had gravely abused itsdiscretion in withdrawing and disapproving petitioner Victoria's promotional appointment.Petitioners assert that Victoria can no longer be removed from the position of General ServicesOfficer without giving her an opportunity to be heard and to answer the charged of nepotism.Petitioner Mayor denies that he had been motivated by personal reasons when heappointed his wife to the new post. He states

that his wife was the most qualified among thecandidates for appointment to that position, she having worked for the City Government for thirty-two (32) years and being highly recommended by the OIC-Treasurer of San Carlos City. Issue: WON the right to due process of Victoria Debulgado was violated when her appointmentwas revoked even though she was a legitimate candidate for the position.

Held: Petition DISMISSED DOCTRINE Section 6 of Rule XVIII, of the "Omnibus Rules Implementing Book V of ExecutiveOrder No. 292 and other Pertinent Civil Service Laws," issued on 27 December 1991,implementing, among other things, the abovequoted Section 59, provides as follows: Sec. 6. No appointments in the national, provincial, city and municipal government or in any branch or instrumentality thereof, including government-owned or controlled corporations with original charters shall be made in favor of a relative of the appointing or recommending authority, or of the chief of the bureau oroffice, or of the persons exercising immediate supervision over the appointee. A textual examination of Section 59 at once reveals that the prohibition was cast incomprehensive and unqualified terms. Firstly, it explicitly covers " all appointments", withoutseeking to make any distinction between differing kinds or types of appointments. Secondly ,Section 59 covers all appointments to the national, provincial, city and municipal government, aswell as any branch or instrumentality thereof and all government owned or controlled corporations. Thirdly, there is a list of exceptions set out in Section 59 itself.For the appointee, whether in an original or a promotion appointment, may in fact bequite loyal and efficient and hard-working; yet that circumstance will not prevent the applicationof the prohibition certainly in respect of the original appointment. The Court is not unaware of the difficulties that the comprehensive prohibition against nepotism would impose uponpetitioner Victoria and others who maybe in the same position. It is essential to stress, however,that the prohibition applies quite

without regard to the actual merits of the proposed appointee and to the good intentions of the appointing or recommending authority, and that the prohibitionagainst nepotism in appointments whether original or promotional, is not intended by thelegislative authority to penalize faithful service.It follows that the promotional appointment of petitioner Victoria by her husband,petitioner Mayor, falls within the prohibited class of appointments: the prohibited relationshipbetween the appointing authority (petitioner Mayor) and the appointee (wife Victoria) existed atthe time the promotional appointment was issued. It is scarcely necessary to add that the reasonswhich may have moved petitioner Mayor to issue the prohibited appointment are, as a matter of law, not relevant in this connection.There were no administrative charges in respect of which petitioner Victoria would havebeen entitled to notice and hearing. The Commission, in approving or disapproving anappointment, only examines the conformity of the appointment with applicable provisions of lawand whether the appointee possesses all the minimum qualifications and none of thedisqualifications. In any case, Victoria was afforded an opportunity to be heard when she filed amotion for reconsideration with the Commission and there challenged the disapproval by theCommission.The action of the Commission was, in other words, taken in implementation of Section59, Book V, E.O. No. 292 and the relevant Implementing Regulations. Because the promotionalappointment in favor of petitioner Victoria was a violation of Section 59, it was null and void as being contra lege.

CRUZ and PAITIM vs. CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION [G.R. No. 144464, November 22, 2001] FACTS: On September 9, 1994 it was discovered by the Civil Service Commission that Paitim, MunicipalTreasurer of Bulacan took the non-professional examination for Cruz after the latter had previously failedin the said examination three times.The CSC found after a fact finding investigation that a prima facie case exists against you forDISHONESTY, GRAVE MISCONDUCT and CONDUCT PREJUDICIAL TO THE BEST INTEREST OF THE SERVICE.The petitioners filed their Answer to the charge entering a general denial of the materialaverments of the "Formal Charge." They also declared that they were electing a formal investigation onthe matter. The petitioners subsequently filed a Motion to Dismiss averring that if the investigation willcontinue, they will be deprived of their right to due process because the Civil Service

Commission was thecomplainant, the Prosecutor and the Judge, all at the same time.On November 16, 1995, Dulce J. Cochon issued an "Investigation Report and Recommendation" findingthe Petitioners guilty of "Dishonesty" and ordering their dismissal from the government servicePetitioners maintain that the CSC did not have original jurisdiction to hear and decide theadministrative case. Allegedly, in accordance with Section 47(1), Chapter 7, Subtitle A, Title 1, Book V,Administrative Code of 1987, the CSC is vested with appellate jurisdiction only in all administrative caseswhere the penalty imposed is removal or dismissal from the office and where the complaint was filed by aprivate citizen against the government employee. ISSUE: Whether or not petitioners right to due process was violated when the CSC acted as investigator,complainant, prosecutor and jugde all at the same time. HELD: NO The fact that the complaint was filed by the CSC itself does not mean that it could not be an impartial judge. As an administrative body, its decision was based on substantial findings. Factualfindings of administrative bodies, being considered experts in their field, are binding on the SupremeCourt. The records clearly disclose that the petitioners were duly investigated by the CSC. After a carefulexamination of the records, the Commission finds respondents guilty as charged. The photograph pastedover the name Gilda Cruz in the Picture Seat Plan (PSP) during the July 30, 1989 Career ServiceExamination is not that of Cruz but of Paitim. Also, the signature over the name of Gilda Cruz in the saiddocument is totally different from the signature of Gilda Cruz.Petitioners' contention that they were denied due process of law by the fact that the CSC acted asinvestigator, complainant, prosecutor and judge, all at the same time against the petitioners is untenable.The CA correctly explained that the CSC is mandated to hear and decide administrative case instituted byit or instituted before it directly or on appeal including actions of its officers and the agencies attached toit pursuant to Book V, Title 1, Subtitle A, Chapter 3, Section 12, paragraph 11 of the Administrative Codeof 1987.It can not be denied that the petitioners were formally charged after a finding that a prima faciecase for dishonesty lies against them. They were properly informed of the charges. They submitted anAnswer and were given the opportunity to defend themselves. Petitioners can not, therefore, claim thatthere was a denial of due process much less the lack of jurisdiction on the part of the CSC to takecognizance of the case.

G.R. No. 160465

May 27, 2004

ROMEO M. ESTRELLA, petitioner, vs. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, HON. COMMISSIONER RALPH C. LANTION and ROLANDO F. SALVADOR, respondents. Facts: From this Courts Resolution of April 28, 2004, private respondent Rolando F. Salvador seeks a reconsideration. In his petition for certiorari filed before this Court, petitioner Romeo M. Estrella sought the nullification of the November 5, 2003 Status Quo Ante Order1 issued by the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) En Banc in EAC No. A-10-2002, "Romeo M. Estrella v. Rolando F. Salvador," directing the "parties to maintain the status quo ante order, which is the condition prevailing before the issuance" by the Regional Trial Court of Malolos of a writ of execution for the enforcement of said courts decision declaring petitioner as the duly elected mayor of Baliwag, Bulacan. In the issuance of the questioned COMELEC En Banc Status Quo Ante Order, five (5) of the then incumbent seven (7) members of the COMELEC participated: Commissioners Benjamin Abalos, Sr., Luzviminda Tangcangco, Rufino S.B. Javier, Ressureccion Z. Borra and Ralph C. Lantion. Commissioners Abalos, Tangcangco, Javier and Lantion voted for the issuance of said order, while Commissioner Borra dissented. Commissioner Lantion previously inhibited in SPR No. 21-2002, a case pending before the COMELEC Second Division involving the same parties, thus necessitating the issuance of an order designating Commissioner Borra as his substitute. The substitution order was subsequently adopted in EAC No. A-10-2002. Parenthetically, petitioner had previously filed a Motion for Inhibition of Commissioner Lantion before the Second Division in SPR No. 212002 which was denied, albeit on Motion for Reconsideration the Second Division, in its Resolution of May 7, 2002, noted that "Com[missioner] Lantion indicated for the record that he is no longer taking part in the proceedings in this case." In the COMELEC En Banc Status Quo Ante Order, Commissioner Lantion stated in his handwriting that "his previous voluntary inhibition is only in the SPR cases and not in the EAC" and that "as further agreed in the Second Division, [he] will not participate in the Division deliberations but will vote when the case is elevated [to the] en banc." In this Courts Resolution2 of April 28, 2004 now the subject of private respondents Motion for Reconsideration, it was held that: Commissioner Lantions voluntary piecemeal inhibition cannot be countenanced. Nowhere in the COMELEC Rules does it allow a Commissioner to voluntarily inhibit with reservation. To allow him to participate in the En Banc proceedings when he previously inhibited himself in the Division is, absent any satisfactory justification, not only judicially unethical but legally

improper and absurd. Since Commissioner Lantion could not participate and vote in the issuance of the questioned order, thus leaving three (3) members concurring therewith, the necessary votes of four (4) or majority of the members of the COMELEC was not attained. The order thus failed to comply with the number of votes necessary for the pronouncement of a decision or order, as required under Rule 3, Section 5(a) of the COMELEC Rules of Procedure which provides: Section 5. Quorum; Votes Required. (a) When sitting en banc, four (4) Members of the Commission shall constitute a quorum for the purpose of transacting business. The concurrence of a majority of the Members of the Commission shall be necessary for the pronouncement of a decision, resolution, order or ruling. WHEREFORE, the instant petition is GRANTED. The Status Quo Ante Order dated November 5, 2003 issued by the COMELEC En Banc is hereby NULLIFIED. This Resolution is IMMEDIATELY EXECUTORY. (Emphasis and underscoring supplied) In seeking a reconsideration of the above-quoted Resolution, private respondent cites Cua v. Commission on Elections3 wherein this Court ruled: After considering the issues and the arguments raised by the parties, the Court holds that the 2-1 decision rendered by the First Division was a valid decision under Article IX-A, section 7 of the Constitution. Furthermore, the three members who voted to affirm the First Division constituted a majority of the five members who deliberated and voted thereon en banc and their decision is also valid under the aforecited constitutional provision. x x x (Italics in the original; emphasis supplied) Private respondent argues that "[f]ollowing the doctrine laid out in Cua, three (3) votes would have been sufficient to constitute a majority to carry the decision of the COMELEC En Banc as provided by the Constitution and the appropriate rules."4 Section 5(a) of the COMELEC Rules of Procedure was lifted from Section 7, Article IX-A of the Constitution which provides: SECTION 7. Each Commission shall decide by a majority vote of all its members any case or matter brought before it within sixty days from the date of its submission for decision or resolution. x x x (Emphasis and underscoring supplied) The provision of the Constitution is clear that it should be the majority vote of all its members and not only those who participated and took part in the deliberations. Under the rules of statutory construction, it is to be assumed that the words in which constitutional provisions are couched express the objective sought to be attained.5 Since the above-quoted constitutional provision states "all of its members," without any qualification, it should be

interpreted as such. In the case at bar, following the clear provision of the Constitution, counting out Commissioner Lantions vote from the questioned COMELEC En Banc resolution would leave just three (3) votes out of "all" seven (7) members of the COMELEC. Even former Constitutional Commissioner Fr. Joaquin Bernas, SJ, questions the Cua ruling in light of Section 7, which says "majority of all the Members." He thus concludes that "[t]hree is not the majority of seven."6 Had the framers intended that it should be the majority of the members who participated or deliberated, it would have clearly phrased it that way as it did with respect to the Supreme Court in Section 4(2), Article VIII of the Constitution: SECTION 4(2) x x x all other cases which under the Rules of Court are required to be heard en banc, x x x shall be decided with the concurrence of a majority of the members who actually took part in the deliberations on the issues in the case and voted thereon. (Italics in the original; emphasis and underscoring supplied). DOCTRINE: Section 7 of Article IX-A Constitution. For the foregoing reasons then, this Court hereby abandons the doctrine laid down in Cua and holds that the COMELEC En Banc shall decide a case or matter brought before it by a majority vote of "all its members," and NOT majority of the members who deliberated and voted thereon.