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Teotico vs. Agda, Jr.

G.R. No. 87437 (1991)
Ponente: Davide, Jr.
Digest by: Ruth Lumibao

FACTS:

January 2, 1984 – Cesar Lanuza, administrator of the Fiber Development Authority
(FIDA) – Department of Agriculture (DA), appointed Agda as Chief Fiber Development
Officer. Lanuza issued Special Order No. 29 designating Agda as “Acting Regional
Administrator for FIDA Regions I and II”.

November 13, 1987 – Lanuza issued Special Order No. 219, temporarily re-assigning
Agda to the main office of the Administrator, and a certain Epitacio Lanuza, Jr. was
designated officer-in-charge of FIDA Region 1.

December 9, 1987 – Agda prepared to file a petition to stop the implementation of
Special Order No. 219 with the CSC, Secretary of DA, and COA on the following grounds:
1. It is devoid of legal basis as it does not preserve and maintain a status quo
before the controversy
2. It is against the interest of public service because Epitacio Lanuza has been
cited in two cases involving dishonesty, abuse of privileges and character
unbecoming of a government official
3. His re-assignment was improper, inappropriate and devoid of moral
justification
4. Designating Epitacio to such position amounts to nepotism because he and
Cesar Lanuza are cousins.

April 4 1988 – Teotico, Acting Administrator of FIDA Region 1, placed Agda in
preventive suspension and charged him with conduct prejudicial to the interest of
public service and insubordination. Teotico also alleged that Agda never showed up in
the Office of the Administrator.

Agda’s petition was granted. Consequently, Teotico filed an appeal accusing the judge of
grave abuse of discretion for granting Agda’s petition and ordering the latter’s
reinstatement.

Issue: W/N Agda’s re-assignment was valid

Held: YES. Agda was appointed as ACTING Regional Administrator, but he was not
appointed to a specific station. Enunciating the rule in Cuadra vs. Cordova, temporary
appointments or those in “acting capacity” are terminable at the pleasure of the
appointing authority.

Unfortunately, Agda was not able to avail of his remedy under Section 6 of Rule VI of the
Civil Service Rules on Personnel Actions and Policies. Section 6 provides that: Except
when the exigencies of the service require, an official or employee of the government
may not be ordered detailed or reassigned during the three-month period before any
local or national election, and if he believes that the order for his detail or reassignment
is due to harassment, coercion, intimidation, or other personal reasons, he may appeal
the order to the Commission. Until this is proven, however, the order is presumed to be
in the interest of the service and notwithstanding the appeal, the decision to detail or
reassign him shall be executory, but the Commission may order deferment of
suspension of the detail or reassignment ex parte."

PD 807 (Civil Service Decree) also allows preventive suspension for officers or
employees who have been charged with “dishonesty, oppression or grave misconduct,
or neglect in the performance of duty, or if there are reasons to believe that the
respondent is guilty of charged which would warrant his removal from the service”.