Republic of the Philippines

SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC
G.R. No. 157139 October 19, 2011
CARLOS COTIANGCO, LUCIO SALAS, EDITA SALONO!, MA. "ILIPINA
CALDERON, ROSALINDA A#ILAR, MEDARDA LARI#A, TITO GUTIERRE$,
#EN%AMIN LUCIANO, M!RNA "ILAMOR AND MONIANA NA%ARRO,Petitioners,
vs.
TE PRO&INCE O" #ILIRAN AND TE COURT O" APPEALS, Respondents.
D E C I S I N
SERENO, J.:
Before us is a Petition for Revie! on Certiorari under Rule "# see$in% a reversal of
the Decision of the Court of Appeals dated &' (ul) *++*,
&
and its Resolution dated
*" (anuar) *++, !hich affir-ed Resolution No. +++./" dated ,+ March *+++ of the
Civil Service Co--ission 0CSC1. 2he CSC Resolution held that petitioners3 re-oval
fro- their respective positions in the Biliran Provincial 4ealth ffice as a result of the
reor%ani5ation of the provincial %overn-ent !as la!ful.
Petitioners held per-anent appoint-ents as public health !or$ers in the Province of
Biliran.
n *, ctober &//., the Sangguniang Panlalawigan 0SP1 of Biliran passed SP
Resolution No. &+*, Series of &//., approvin% the revised structure and staffin%
pattern of the provincial %overn-ent sub-itted b) its then incu-bent %overnor,
Danilo Parilla.
Pursuant to said Resolution, 6overnor Parilla issued E7ecutive rder 0E1 No. /.8
+9, Series of &//., dated " Nove-ber &//., declarin% all positions in the provincial
%overn-ent of Biliran as abolished e7cept those of the Provincial 2reasurer and all
elective positions.
E No. /.8+9 !as revo$ed b) E No. /.8+., Series of &//., !hich in turn declared
:all positions under the ne! staffin% pattern vacant: and directed :all per-anent
e-plo)ees to sub-it their application !ithin fifteen 0&#1 da)s fro- the date of postin%
of the approved ne! staffin% pattern on Nove-ber ", &//..:
Petitioners filed a suit for Prohibition
*
to ;uestion the validit) of E No. /.8+., Series
of &//..
Mean!hile, pursuant to said E, a Personnel Place-ent Co--ittee 0Co--ittee1
!as created to screen and evaluate all applicants for the vacant positions.
Petitioners failed<refused to appl) for an) position under the ne! staffin% pattern,
clai-in% that to do so !ould be inconsistent !ith their pendin% suit for prohibition. At
an) rate, petitioners ar%ue that under Rule =I, Section / of Civil Service Co--ission
0CSC1 Resolution No. /&8&',&,
,
as !ell as Sections # and ' of the Rules on
6overn-ent Reor%ani5ation, there should be a screenin% of the ;ualifications of all
e7istin% e-plo)ees, and not -erel) of those !ho filed their respective applications
under the ne! staffin% pattern.
As a result of the reor%ani5ation, the follo!in% positions in the Biliran Provincial
4ealth Service occupied b) petitioners !ere e7cluded or abolished>
Dr. Carlos C. Cotian%co 888 Provincial 4ealth fficer I
?icio (. Salas 8888888888888888 Ad-inistrative fficer II
Edeltha . Salono) 888888888 Senior Boo$$eeper I
Ma. @ilipina =. Calderon 888 Cashier II
Rosalinda A. Abilar 888888888 Phar-acist III
Medarda S. ?ariba 8888888888 Coo$ I
2ito 6. 6utierre5 888888888888 Driver II
BenAa-in (. ?uciano 88888888 Coo$ I
M)rna A. @ila-or 88888888888 Nurse II
Monina NaAarro 88888888888888 Medical 2echnolo%ist
n &, (anuar) &///, petitioners received their notices of ter-ination<non8
reappoint-ent dated &* (anuar) &///, !hich stated that their service !as :onl) up
to @ebruar) &&, &///.:
Petitioners appealed to the %overnor, but he denied their appeal.
Petitioners thereafter filed an appeal to the CSC, !hich li$e!ise dis-issed it in CSC
Resolution No. +++./" dated ,+ March *+++.
"
2he CSC held that petitioners failed
to sho! that the reor%ani5ation !as tainted !ith bad faith. 2he) failed to establish
that the) !ere replaced b) less ;ualified e-plo)ees :in ter-s of status of
appoint-ent, perfor-ance and -erit.: 2he Co--ission noted that the reor%ani5ation
resulted in a si%nificant decrease in the nu-ber of positions in the staffin% pattern of
the Biliran Provincial 4ospital.
#
2he CSC further held that the reor%ani5ation did not
violate the Ma%na Carta of Public 4ealth Bor$ers 0Republic Act No. 9,+#1, because
the %overnor i-ple-ented a procedure for the reor%ani5ation, as follo!s>
&. Infor-ation disse-ination re%ardin% the reor%ani5ation to be effectedC
*. 2he Co--ittee !as established to screen and evaluate the ;ualifications of
e7istin% e-plo)eesC
,. Publication and disse-ination of the ne! staffin% patternC
". Invitation of e-plo)ees to appl) for the ne! positionsC and
#. Notices to appellants that the) !ere not reappointed in the revised
or%ani5ation structure and staffin% pattern.
Moreover, it !as pointed out that petitioners3 positions !ere duplications of other
positions. @inall), the CSC ruled that petitioners could no lon%er be appointed to
other positions as the records sho! that these do not include their for-er positions,
!hich had in fact re-ained unfilled after the reor%ani5ation.
Petitioners -oved for reconsideration of the CSC Resolution. 2his -otion !as
denied for lac$ of -erit b) the CSC in its Resolution No. +&+#,+
'
dated " Septe-ber
*+++.
Petitioners elevated the case to the Court of Appeals 0CA1, citin% si-ilar cases 0CSC
Resolution Nos. ++*'&9, ++*'*", and ++*'*/ dated ' March *++&1
9
!herein the
CSC found that the Province of Biliran failed to co-pl) !ith the re;uired procedure
!ith respect to the other e-plo)ees !ho !ere also not reappointed. Petitioners
clai-ed that in these co-panion cases, e-plo)ees of the province !ere reinstated
on the %round that the reor%ani5ation had been i-ple-ented in violation of Republic
Act No. 0R.A.1 ''#' and its I-ple-entin% Rules, as it !as not sho!n that the subAect
e-plo)ees3 ;ualifications !ere assessed or evaluated b) the co--ittee.
In its Decision dated &' (ul) *++*, the CA affir-ed the CSC resolution !ith
-odification, in that the Province of Biliran !as directed to ta$e up petitioner
Salvador Rosel3s possible reappoint-ent as Sanitation Inspector I of the Municipalit)
of Caibiran. 2he CA held that !hat petitioners referred to as co-panion cases
:involve circu-stances different fro- the case at bench !here petitioners had not
presented an) concrete evidence to prove their clai-.:
.
Petitioners -oved for reconsideration of the said Decision but the CA denied their
-otion. 4ence, petitioners filed the present Rule "# petition, basicall) posin% the
follo!in% issue for resolution>
&. Bhether or not the reor%ani5ation !as done in bad faith
*. Bhether or not petitioners !ere denied due process !hen the) !ere not screened
and evaluated for possible appoint-ent to ne! positions
Be rule to den) the petition.
1. Petitioners failed to show that the reorganization was done in bad faith. They have
not adduced sufficient evidence to establish the existence of bad faith.
Section . of the Ma%na Carta of Public 4ealth Bor$ers 0R.A. 9,+#1 provides that
:0i1n case of re%ular e-plo)-ent of public health !or$ers, their services shall not be
ter-inated e7cept for cause provided b) la! and after due process.:
Nevertheless, a %overn-ent officer or e-plo)ee3s re-oval fro- office as a result of
a bona fide reor%ani5ation is a valid cause for that e-plo)ee3s re-oval.
/
4ence, the pertinent issue !ould be !hether the reor%ani5ation herein !as
underta$en in bad faith.
Petitioners clai- that the provincial %overn-ent3s reor%ani5ation i-ple-ented b)
6overnor Parilla !as not caused b) a desire to strea-line the local bureaucrac) to
save on resources. 2he) alle%e that despite the availabilit) of a sufficient nu-ber of
vehicles for official use, the provincial %overn-ent bou%ht five -otor vehicles, !hich
!ere used b) provincial officials belon%in% to the sa-e political part) as that of
6overnor Parilla. Alle%edl), there !ere also e7cessive nu-bers of casuals hired and
positions<ite-s abolished, onl) to create ne! ones !ith substantiall) the sa-e
functions. Petitioners !ere all appointees of for-er 6overnor Ba)ne (aro, !ho is the
political ene-) of 6overnor Parilla.
n the other hand, the provincial %overn-ent ar%ued, and the CSC found, that the
Biliran Province had a total of &'* personnel in &//+. 4o!ever, this nu-ber s!elled
to ,.& personnel in &//.. Reor%ani5ation !as therefore called for to lessen the
bud%et allocation for personnel servicesC and to increase that for develop-ent
proAects, the purchase of -edicines and supplies, and the -aintenance of
infrastructure.
It is a basic principle that %ood faith is presu-ed and that the part) !ho alle%es bad
faith has the burden of provin% the alle%ation. Petitioners therefore had the burden of
provin% bad faith on the part of the province !hen it undertoo$ the reor%ani5ation.
Section * of R.A. ''#' 0An Act to Protect the Securit) of 2enure of Civil Service
fficers and E-plo)ees in the I-ple-entation of 6overn-ent Reor%ani5ation1 cites
instances that -a) be considered as evidence of bad faith in the re-oval fro- office
of a %overn-ent officer or e-plo)ee pursuant to a reor%ani5ation, to !it>
SEC2IN *. No officer or e-plo)ee in the career service shall be re-oved e7cept
for a valid cause and after due notice and hearin%. A valid cause for re-oval e7ists
!hen, pursuant to a bona fide reor%ani5ation, a position has been abolished or
rendered redundant or there is a need to -er%e, divide, or consolidate positions in
order to -eet the e7i%encies of the service, or other la!ful causes allo!ed b) the
Civil Service ?a!. 2he e7istence of an) or so-e of the follo!in% circu-stances -a)
be considered as evidence of bad faith in the re-ovals -ade as a result of
reor%ani5ation, %ivin% rise to a clai- for reinstate-ent or reappoint-ent b) an
a%%rieved part)>
0a1 Bhere there is a si%nificant increase in the nu-ber of positions in the ne!
staffin% pattern of the depart-ent or a%enc) concernedC
0b1 Bhere an office is abolished and other perfor-in% substantiall) the sa-e
functions is createdC
0c1 Bhere incu-bents are replaced b) those less ;ualified in ter-s of status
of appoint-ent, perfor-ance and -eritC
0d1 Bhere there is a reclassification of offices in the depart-ent or a%enc)
concerned and the reclassified offices perfor- substantiall) the sa-e function
as the ori%inal officesC
0e1 Bhere the re-oval violates the order of separation provided in Section ,
hereof. 0Dnderscorin% supplied.1
Measured a%ainst the fore%oin% %uidelines, petitioners failed to adduce evidence to
sho! bad faith on the part of the Province in effectin% the reor%ani5ation.
First, petitioners have failed to sho! that there !as a :si%nificant increase in
the nu-ber of positions in the ne! staffin% pattern: of Biliran Province as a
result of the reor%ani5ation. n the contrar), it is undisputed that fro- a hi%h
of &*+ positions in &//., the nu-ber of those at the Biliran Provincial 4ealth
ffice !as reduced to onl) /. after the reor%ani5ation.
&+
Even assu-in% the
truth of petitioners3 clai- that the CSC and the CA co--itted a
-isapprehension of facts in e;uatin% the nu-ber of personnel in the Biliran
Provincial 4ospital !ith the nu-ber of personnel in the entire Provincial
4ealth ffice, this conclusion cannot be altered in the absence of %larin% error
in such apprehension.
Second, petitioners have failed to present evidence that an office perfor-in%
substantiall) the sa-e functions as an abolished office !as created as a
result of the reor%ani5ation. Be note that there !ere four ne! positions
created !ithin the Provincial 4ealth ffice 0one Medical 2echnolo%ist II for the
4ealth Services 6roupC and one Store$eeper each for Caibiran Co--unit)
4ospital, Culaba Co--unit) 4ospital and Maripipi Co--unit) 4ospital1.
None of these positions -a) be considered as havin% been created to
perfor- substantiall) the sa-e functions as an) of the abolished offices. None
of the petitioners held the position of Store$eeperC and, althou%h petitioner
NaAarro held the position of Medical 2echnolo%ist II, he !as then assi%ned to
the Maripipi Co--unit) 4ospital, and not to the 4ealth 0@ield1 Services
6roup.
Third, petitioners have not sho!n that there !as a :reclassification of offices
in the depart-ent or a%enc) concerned and the reclassified offices perfor-
substantiall) the sa-e function as the ori%inal offices.:
Fourth, petitioners have not adduced evidence that the) !ere :replaced b)
those less ;ualified in ter-s of status of appoint-ent, perfor-ance and -erit.:
Alternativel), petitioners have not adduced an) evidence to sho! that their
;ualifications in ter-s of perfor-ance and -erit are an) better than those
possessed b) the persons !ho !ere eventuall) appointed to the reor%ani5ed
positions.
Neither have petitioners been able to de-onstrate that their re-oval fro- office as a
result of the reor%ani5ation violated the order of separation as found in Section , of
R.A. ''#', particularl), in the provision that :those E !ho are least ;ualified in ter-s
of perfor-ance and -erit shall be laid FoffG first, len%th of service not!ithstandin%.:
Petitioners also erroneousl) insist on the application of the :ne7t in ran$: rule in
clai-in% that the) should have been appointed to the available positions after the
reor%ani5ation. 4o!ever, the :ne7t in ran$ rule: specificall) applies onl) to
pro-otions and not to positions created in the course of a valid
reor%ani5ation.
&&
Apart fro- the fact that the :ne7t in ran$: rule onl)
%ives preference to the person occup)in% the position ne7t in ran$ to a vacanc), it
does not b) an) -eans %ive hi- e7clusive ri%ht to be appointed to the said vacanc).
Indeed, the appointin% authorit) is vested !ith sufficient discretion to appoint a
candidate, as lon% as the latter possesses the -ini-u- ;ualifications under the
la!.
&*
2. Petitioners were not deprived of due process when they were not screened and
evaluated for possible appointment to new positions as they had not filed their
applications notwithstanding the invitation for them to do so.
Petitioners alle%e that the) !ere deprived of their e-plo)-ent !ithout due process
of la!, because respondent province did not sho! proof that its Personnel
Place-ent Co--ittee had screened and evaluated the- for possible appoint-ent to
ne! positions.
n the other hand, respondent province ar%ues that petitioners !ere not considered
for the ne! positions, because the) had not filed their applications not!ithstandin%
the invitation for the- to do so.
In response, petitioners ar%ue that under the I-ple-entin% Rules of R.A. ''#',
:;ualifications of e7istin% e-plo)ees,: and not -erel) those !ho filed their respective
applications under the ne! staffin% pattern, should be screened and evaluated, as
follo!s>
SEC2IN #. '(o !ill be Evaluated. 8 A)) o**+cer, -./ e01)o2ee, , includin% those
!ho have pendin% ad-inistrative char%es, or an) dero%ator) records<reports, shall
be evaluated on the basis of standards for retention<ter-ination as provided for
herein. 0Dnderscorin% and e-phasis supplied.1
Moreover, Section / of the sa-e I-ple-entin% Rules provides that the Place-ent
Co--ittee shall evaluate the ;ualifications and co-petence of both :the applicants
and other e-plo)ees in the a%enc),: to !it>
SEC2IN /. Selection and Place-ent of Personnel. H
0&1 Bithin five 0#1 da)s fro- receipt b) the a%enc) concerned of its approved
staffin% pattern, or the r%ani5ational Staffin% and Classification Action
Su--ar) 0SCAS1, the head of office shall cause copies thereof to be posted
in the bulletin boards and other conspicuous places in its central and
re%ional<field offices.
0*1 fficers and e-plo)ees shall be invited to appl) for an) of the authori5ed
position. Said Application shall be considered b) the Place-ent Co--ittee in
the place-ent and selection of personnel.
0,1 2he Co--ittee shall evaluate<assess the ;ualifications and co-petence
of the applicants -./ ot(er e01)o2ee +. t(e -3e.c2 based on the criteria
and preference provided for in these Rules.
0"1 2he Co--ittee shall prepare the Personnel Place-ent ?ist and sub-it the
sa-e to the appointin% authorit) for his approval.
0#1 Bithin thirt) 0,+1 da)s fro- sub-ission of the Personnel Place-ent ?ist b)
the Place-ent Co--ittee, the appointin% authorit) shall approve, -odif) or
revise the Personnel Place-ent ?ist !hich shall then constitute the Ne!
Plantilla of Personnel. 0Dnderscorin% and e-phasis supplied.1
Petitioners3 reliance upon the !ords used in the above portions of the I-ple-entin%
Rules is -isplaced.
R.A. ''#' itself, the la! that these I-ple-entin% Rules see$ to i-ple-ent, provides
onl) that all officers and e-plo)ees of the a%enc) bein% reor%ani5ed shall be invited
to appl) for an) of the positions in the ne! staffin% pattern, and that the :0s1aid
application shall be considered b) the 0Place-ent1 Co--ittee in the place-ent and
selection of personnel,: as sho!n b) the follo!in% provision>
SEC2IN '. In order that the best ;ualified and -ost deservin% persons shall be
appointed in an) reor%ani5ation, there shall be created a Place-ent Co--ittee in
each depart-ent or a%enc) to assist the appointin% authorit) in the Audicious
selection and place-ent of personnel. 2he Co--ittee shall consist of t!o 0*1
-e-bers appointed b) the head of the depart-ent or a%enc), a representative of
the appointin% authorit), and t!o 0*1 -e-bers dul) elected b) the e-plo)ees
holdin% positions in the first and second levels of the career service> Provided, 2hat if
there is a re%istered e-plo)ee association !ith a -aAorit) of the e-plo)ees as
-e-bers, that e-plo)ee association shall also have a representative in the
Co--ittee> Provided, further 2hat i--ediatel) upon approval of the staffin% pattern
of the depart-ent or a%enc) concerned, such staffin% pattern shall be -ade $no!n
to all officers and e-plo)ees of the a%enc) !ho shall be invited to appl) for an) of
the positions authori5ed therein. Said application shall be considered b) the
Co--ittee in the place-ent and selection of personnel. 0Dnderscorin% supplied.1
Clearl), the la! -andates that onl) those !ho have filed the re;uisite applications
for the subAect position -a) be considered b) the place-ent co--ittee for possible
appoint-ent. 2he intent of this la! is clear enou%h. After all, it is the sub-ission of
the application for- that si%nals an e-plo)ee3s interest in a position. 2he place-ent
co--ittee cannot spend its li-ited ti-e and resources in considerin% the
;ualifications of all previous e-plo)ees of the a%enc) bein% reor%ani5ed, even if the)
have not si%nified their intention to continue !or$in% in the said a%enc). ther!ise,
there is a possibilit) that it !ould reco--end the appoint-ent of a person to a
position in !hich the latter is not interested. Also, !ithout the filin% of the re;uisite
application for-, there !ould hardl) be a basis for evaluatin% the ;ualifications of the
candidates for e-plo)-ent.
B4ERE@RE, pre-ises considered, the petition is denied for lac$ of -erit. 2he &'
(ul) *++* Decision and the *" (anuar) *++, Resolution of the Court of Appeals are
hereb) A@@IRMED.
S RDERED.
MARIA LOURDES P. A. SERENO
Associate (ustice

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