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Pineda v.

Claudio, 28 SCRA 334 - (SALVACION)


Facts:
Upon the death of Col. Mariano Tumaliuan on August 28, 1968, the position of chief of police of Pasay City
became vacant. To fill the vacancy, Mayor Jovito Claudio appointed the Francisco Villa, a state prosecutor in the
Department of Justice, but the respondent Commissioner of Civil Service Abelardo Subido held the appointment
in abeyance until other persons who, in Subido's opinion, had preferential right to appointment have been
considered.
The Deputy Chief of Police, Basilio Pineda, assailed the appointment of Villa as he claimed that he has
preferential rights over Villa because he is next in line, which was supported by the Commissioner. Subido cited
a previous ruling by the Supreme Court (Millares vs Subido) and the Civil Service Act to bolster his side. Such
case provided the order of priority in filling up the vacancies in local offices:
1. Promotion (next in rank) 2. Transfer (lateral movement) 3. Reinstatement/Reemployment 4. Certification
(usually certified outsiders)
Subido argued that that in case a promotion is untenable due to special reasons, only then subsequent order of
transfer, reinstatement, or certification be followed. He also averred that no special reason by the Mayor was
given explaining his preference for Villa over Pineda. Mayor Claudio replied that in his 8 years as an official of
Pasay, Pineda et al cannot boast of any improvement they have introduced to lift the sagging inefficiency of the
local police organization. The actual members of untrained and undisciplined men still persist
Mayor Claudios position was supported by the DOJ Secretary stating that in as far as filling up a vacancy in the
police department is concerned, the Police Act of 1966 and applies, which provides that it is within the mayors
discretion as to who he should appoint to said office.
ISSUE: Whether or not Deputy Chief Pineda, has a preferential right to the said public office.
HELD: No. The ruling in the Millares case is not conclusive because such case has different circumstances. It
must be clarified though that as far as practicable, in case of a vacancy, the next in line shall be promoted by the
appointing authority. But if not, the vacancy may be filled either by transfer, reinstatement, reemployment or
certification not necessarily in that order. There is no rule which states that the mayor must appoint the next
in line. It is not his ministerial duty to do so nor is it mandatory. The appointing power can choose whether to
appoint by promotion, transfer, reinstatement, or certification. It is necessary for effective public administration
that the mayor appoints men of his confidence, provided they are qualified and eligible, who in his best
estimation are possessed of the requisite reputation, integrity, knowledgeability, energy and judgment. After all,
it is the local executive, more than anyone else, who is primarily responsible for efficient governmental
administration in the locality and the effective maintenance of peace and order therein, and is directly
answerable to the people who elected him.
The Supreme Court also clarified that the only time that an appointing power is required to provide specific
reasons on why a next in rank is not appointed is that if the appointing power chose promotion as the method to
fill up the vacancy.