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ENBANC

[G.R.No.144464.November27,2001]

GILDA G. CRUZ and ZENAIDA C. PAITIM, petitioner, vs. THE CIVIL SERVICE
COMMISSION, respondent.
DECISION
KAPUNAN,J.:

AssailedintheinstantpetitionisthedecisionoftheCourtofAppealsupholdingResolutionNo.981695oftheCivil
ServiceCommissionforallegedlybeingcontrarytolawandjurisprudence.
Thefactsareasfollows:
OnSeptember9,1994,theChairpersonoftheCivilServiceCommission(CSC),receivedaletterfromaprivate
individual,CarmelitaB.Esteban,claimingthat,duringtheexaminationsfornonprofessionalinthecareercivilservice,
givenbytheCivilServiceCommission,onJuly30,1989inQuezonCity,ZenaidaC.Paitim,theMunicipalTreasurerof
Norzagaray, Bulacan,falselypretendingto be theexaminee,GildaCruz,a coemployeeinthesaidoffice,took the
examinationsforthelatter. CarmelitaEstebanrequestedtheCSC to investigatethematter, appendingto saidletter,
picturespurportingtobethoseofGildaCruzandZenaidaPaitim.
On September20, 1994, ErlindaA. Rosas,DirectorIV oftheCommission,issueda Memorandumto Eliseo
Gatchalian,theDirectoroftheManagementInformationOfficeoftheCommission,requestingthelattertofurnishher
withthepictureseatplanoftheroomwhereGildaG.Cruzwasduringthesaidexamination,toascertaintheveracityof
thelettercomplaint.EliseoS.GatchaliandidfurnishErlindaRosaswithcertifiedtruecopiesofthepictureseatplansof
theroomswhereGildaG.Cruzwasassignednotonlyinthe1989butalsointhe1987and1988careerservice(sub
professional)examinations.On November8, 1994, ErlindaRosas therebywrotea Memorandumto CivilService
CommissionerThelmaP.Gaminde,datedNovember8,1994,declaringthatbasedontherecord,shefoundaprima
faciecaseagainstZenaidaPaitimandGildaG.Cruz.
Onthebasisofsaidmemorandum,a fact findinginvestigationwasconducted.OnMarch31, 1995, a "Formal
Charge"for"Dishonesty
,GraveMisconduct,andConductPrejudicialtotheBestInterestoftheService"signedbyBella
Amilhasan,DirectorIVoftheCivilServiceCommissionRegionalOfficeNo.3wasfiledagainstGildaCruzandZenaida
C. Paitim,withtheCivilServiceCommission,docketed as AdministrativeCase No. D395052, whichreads as
follows:
FORMALCHARGE
MESDAMES:
ThisOfficehasfoundafterafactfindinginvestigationthataprimafaciecaseexistsagainstyouforDISHONESTY
,
GRAVEMISCONDUCTandCONDUCTPREJUDICIALT
OTHEBESTINTERESTOFTHESER
VICE,
committedasfollows:
"ThatGildaCruzappliedtotaketheJuly30,1989CareerServiceSubprofessionalexamination.
Averificationofour
recordsrevealedthatthepictureofCruzpastedinthePictureSeatPlanofthesaidexaminationheldatRoom21ofthe
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RamonMagsaysayElementarySchool,QuezonCity
,bearsnoresemblancetothepicturesofCruzasappearinginthe
pictureseatplansofthepreviousCareerServiceSubprofessionalExaminationswhichshetooklastJuly26,1987and
July31,1988respectively
.ItwouldappearthatthepurportedpictureofCruzpastedinthePictureSeatPlanofthesaid
July30,1989examinationisthepictureofadif
ferentperson.Furtherverificationshowedthatthispicturebelongstoa
certainZenaidaPaitim,MunicipalT
reasurerofNorzagaray
,Bulacanwhoapparentlytookthesaidexaminationonbehalf
ofCruzandonthebasisoftheapplicationbearingthenameandpersonalcircumstancesofCruz."
WHEREFORE,GildaCruzandZenaidaPaitimareherebydirectedtoanswerinwritingandunderoathwithinfive(5)
daysfromreceipthereof.T
osupportyourAnswer,youmaysubmitsupportingdocuments/swornstatements.
InyourAnswer,youshouldstatewhetheryouelecttohaveaformalinvestigationorwaiveyourrighttosaid
investigationsshouldyourAnswerbefoundnotsatisfactory
.
Youareadvisedthatyouareentitledtotheassistanceofacounsel.
ByAuthorityoftheCommission:
(Sgd.)DellaA.Amilhasan
DirectorIV[1]
ThepetitionersfiledtheirAnswertothechargeenteringageneraldenialofthematerialavermentsofthe"Formal
Charge."Theyalsodeclaredthattheywereelectingaformalinvestigation
onthematter.Thepetitionerssubsequently
filedaMotiontoDismissaverringthatiftheinvestigation
willcontinue,theywillbedeprivedoftheirrighttodueprocess
becausetheCivilServiceCommissionwasthecomplainant,theProsecutorandtheJudge,allatthesametime.
OnJuly17,1995,DirectorBellaA.Amilhasanissuedanorderdenyingthemotion.[2]Thesubsequentmotionfor
reconsiderationofsaidorderwaslikewisedismissed.
DulceJ.Cochon,AttorneyIIIoftheCSC wastherebydirectedtoconducttheformaladministrative
investigation
ofpetitioners'case.
On November16, 1995, DulceJ. Cochonissuedan "InvestigationReportand Recommendation"findingthe
Petitionersguiltyof"Dishonesty"
andorderingtheirdismissalfromthegovernmentservice,thedecretalportionofwhich
readsasfollows:

WHEREFORE,foregoingpremisesconsidered,thisOf
ficerecommendsthedismissalfromtheservicewithallits
accessorypenaltiesofrespondentsZenaidaPaitimandGildaCruz,bothemployeesoftheMunicipalityofNorzagary,
Bulacanfortheof
fensesofDishonesty
,GraveMisconductandConductPrejudicialtotheBestInterestoftheService.
Furthermore,thisOf
ficerecommendsthefilingofcriminalchar
gesagainstthemthatshallserveasadeterrenttoall
possibleplansofmakingamockerytothesanctityofCivilServiceLawandRulesaswellastheconstitutionalmandate
that'Apublicof
ficeisapublictrust.
(Idem.Supra.)[3]
Theaforesaid"Investigation
ReportandRecommendation"
wasthenforwarded,totheCivilServiceCommission
foritsconsiderationandresolution.
OnJuly1,1998,theCivilServiceCommissionissuedResolutionNo. 981695findingthepetitionersguiltyofthe
chargesandorderedtheirdismissalfromthegovernmentservice.
Thedecretalportionreadsasfollows:

WHEREFORE,ZenaidaPaitimandGildaCruzareherebyfoundguiltyofDishonesty
.Accordingly
,theyareimposed
thepenaltyofdismissalfromtheservicewithallitsaccessorypenalties.TheCivilService(Subprofessional)Eligibility
GildaCruzisalsocancelled.

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LetacopyofthisResolution,aswellasotherrelevantdocuments,befurnishedtheOf
ficeoftheOmbudsmanfor
[4]
whateveractionitmaytakeunderthepremises."
PetitionersthenwentuptotheCourtofAppealsassailingtheresolutionoftheCSC.
OnNovember29,1999,theCourtof
Appealsdismissedthepetitionbeforeit.
Themotionforreconsiderationwas,
likewise,deniedonAugust9,2000.
Hence,thispetition.
Intheinstantpetition,petitionersraisedthefollowingassignmentoferrors:
I

THECOURTOFAPPEALSGRAVELYANDSERIOUSLYERREDINHOLDINGTHA
T
PETITIONERS'CONSTITUTIONALRIGHT
TODUEPROCESSWASNOTVIOLATEDIN
ADMINISTRATIVECASENO.D395052WHERERESPONDENTCOMMISSIONACTEDASTHE
INVESTIGATOR,THECOMPLAINANT,THEPROSECUTOR,ANDTHEJUDGE,ALLA
TTHESAME
TIME,AGAINSTPETITIONERS.INSODOING,RESPONDENTCOMMISSIONCOMMITTEDA
MOCKERYOFADMINISTRATIVEJUSTICEANDTHECOURTOFAPPEALSSANCTIONEDIT.
II

THECOURTOFAPPEALSGRAVELYANDSERIOUSLYERREDINRULINGTHA
T
RESPONDENTCOMMISSIONHASORIGINALJURISDICTIONTOHEARANDDECIDEA
COMPLAINTORCHARGEWHETHERFILEDBYA
PRIVATECITIZENORBYTHECIVILSER
VICE
COMMISSIONITSELF.THELAWVESTSINRESPONDENTCOMMISSIONONLYAPPELLATE,NOT
ORIGINAL,JURISDICTIONINALLADMINISTRA
TIVECASESAGAINSTAPUBLICOFFICIALOR
EMPLOYEEINVOLVINGTHEIMPOSITIONOFAPENALTYOFREMOVALORDISMISSALFROM
OFFICEWHERETHECOMPLAINTTHEREFOREW
ASNOTFILEDBYAPRIVATECITIZENASIN
ADMINISTRATIVECASENO.D395052OFRESPONDENTCOMMISSION.[5]
Wefindnomeritinthepetition.
ThereisnoquestionthatpetitionerZenaidaPaitim,masqueradingherselfaspetitionerGildaCruz,tookthecivil
serviceexaminationsinherbehalf.GildaCruzpassedtheexaminations.Onthebasisofa tipoffthatthetwopublic
employeeswereinvolvedinananomalousact,theCSCconductedaninvestigation
andverifiedthatthetwoemployees
wereindeedguiltyofdishonesty
.Thus,inaccordancewiththeCSClaw
,thepetitionersmeritedthepenaltyofdismissal.
PetitionersmaintainthattheCSC didnothaveoriginaljurisdictionto hearanddecidetheadministrativecase.
Allegedly
,inaccordancewithSection47(1),Chapter7,SubtitleA,Title1,BookV,Administrative
Codeof1987,the
CSC isvestedwithappellatejurisdictiononlyinalladministrativecases wherethepenaltyimposedisremovalor
dismissalfromtheofficeandwherethecomplaintwasfiledbyaprivatecitizenagainstthegovernmentemployee.[6]It
reads:

Sec.47.DisciplinaryJurisdiction. (1)TheCommission
shalldecideuponappeal alladministrativedisciplinary
casesinvolvingtheimpositionofapenaltyofsuspensionformorethanthirtydays,orafineinanamountexceedingthir
days'salary,demotioninrankorsalaryortransfer
,removalordismissalfromoffice.Acomplaintmaybefiled
directlywiththeCommissionbyaprivatecitizenagainstagovernmentof
ficialoremployee
inwhichcaseitmay
hearanddecidethecaseoritmaydeputizeanydepartmentoragencyorof
ficialorgroupofof
ficialstoconductthe
investigation.
TheresultsoftheinvestigationshallbesubmittedtotheCommissionwithrecommendationastothepenalt
[7]
tobeimposedorotheractiontobetaken.
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(Emphasissupplied.)
Petitioners'invocationofthelawismisplaced.Theprovisionisapplicabletoinstanceswhereadministrative
cases
arefiledagainsterringemployeesinconnectionwiththeirdutiesandfunctionsoftheoffice. Thisis,however, notthe
scenariocontemplatedinthecaseatbar.Itmustbenotedthattheactscomplainedofarosefromacheatingcausedby
thepetitionersintheCivilService(Subprofessional)examination.Theexaminationswereunderthedirectcontroland
supervisionoftheCivilServiceCommission.Theculpritsare governmentemployeesoverwhomtheCivilService
Commissionundeniablyhasjurisdiction.Thus,afterthepetitionersweredulyinvestigatedandascertainedwhetherthey
wereindeedguiltyofdishonesty,thepenaltymetedwasdismissalfromtheof
fice.
Section28, RuleXIVoftheOmnibusCivilServiceRulesandRegulationsexplicitlyprovidesthattheCSC can
rightfullytakecognizanceoveranyirregularitiesoranomaliesconnectedtotheexaminations,asitreads:
Sec.28.TheCommissionshallhaveoriginaldisciplinaryjurisdictionoverallitsof
ficialsandemployeesandoverall
casesinvolvingcivilserviceexaminationanomaliesorirregularities."
Petitioners'contentionthattheyweredenieddueprocessoflawbythefactthattheCSC actedasinvestigator
,
complainant,prosecutorandjudge,allatthesametimeagainstthepetitionersisuntenable.TheCAcorrectlyexplained
thattheCSC ismandatedtohearanddecideadministrativecaseinstitutedbyitorinstitutedbeforeitdirectlyoron
appealincludingactionsofitsofficersandtheagenciesattachedtoitpursuanttoBookV,Title1,SubtitleA,Chapter3,
Section12,paragraph11oftheAdministrativeCodeof1987whichstates:
(11)Hearanddecideadministrativecasesinstitutedbyorbroughtbeforeitdirectlyoronappeal,includingcontested
appointments,andreviewdecisionsandactionsofitsof
ficesandoftheagenciesattachedtoit.Of
ficialsandemployees
whofailtocomplywithsuchdecisions,orders,orrulingsshallbeliableforcontemptoftheCommission.
Itsdecisions,
orders,orrulingsshallbefinalandexecutory
.Suchdecisions,orders,orrulingsmaybebroughttotheSupremeCourt
oncertioraribytheaggrievedpartywithinthirty(30)daysfromreceiptofacopythereof
ThefactthatthecomplaintwasfiledbytheCSCitselfdoesnotmeanthatitcouldnotbeanimpartialjudge.Asan
administrativebody, itsdecisionwas based on substantialfindings.Factualfindings of administrativebodies,being
consideredexpertsintheirfield,arebindingontheSupremeCourt.[8]Therecordsclearlydisclosethatthepetitioners
weredulyinvestigatedbytheCSCandfoundthat:
Afteracarefulexaminationoftherecords,theCommissionfindsrespondentsguiltyaschar
ged.
ThephotographpastedoverthenameGildaCruzinthePictureSeatPlan(PSP)duringtheJuly30,1989Career
ServiceExaminationisnotthatofCruzbutof
Paitim.Also,thesignatureoverthenameofGildaCruzinthesaid
documentistotallydif
ferentfromthesignatureofGildaCruz.
Itshouldbestressedthatasamatterofprocedure,theroomexaminersassignedtosupervisetheconductofaCivil
Serviceexaminationcloselyexaminethepicturessubmittedandaf
fixedonthePictureSeatPlan(CSCResolutionNo.
953694,Obedencio,JaimeA.).Theexaminerscarefullycomparetheappearanceofeachoftheexamineeswiththe
personinthepicturesubmittedandaf
fixedonthePSP.Incaseswheretheexamineedoesnotlooklikethepersoninthe
picturesubmittedandattachedonthePSP
,theexaminerwillnotallowthesaidpersontotaketheexamination(CSC
ResolutionNo.955195,Taguinay,Ma.Theresa)
Thefacts,therefore,thatPaitim'sphotographwasattachedoverthenameofGildaCruzinthePSPoftheJuly30,1989
CareerServiceExamination,showsthatitwasPaitimwhotooktheexamination.
Inasimilarcase,theCommissionruled:
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"Itshouldbestressedthattheregisteredexaminee'sactofaskingorallowinganotherpersontotakethe
examinationinherbehalfconstitutesthattheevidenceonrecordclearlyestablishedthatanotherpersontook
theCivilServiceExaminationforDeGuzman,sheshouldbeheldliableforthesaidoffense."
Attheoutset,itisaxiomaticthatintheoffenseofimpersonation,twopersonsar ealwaysinvolved.Inthe
instantcase,theoffensecannotprosperwithouttheactiveparticipationofbothAradaanddeLeon. Thus,the
logicalconclusionisthatdeLeontooktheexaminationforandinbehalfofArada.Consequently,theyareboth
administrativelyliable.(Arada,CarolinaC.anddeLeon,PoncianaAnneM.)[9]
Itcannotbedeniedthatthepetitionerswereformallychargedafterafindingthataprimafaciecasefordishonesty
liesagainstthem. Theywere properlyinformedof the charges. Theysubmittedan Answerand were giventhe
opportunitytodefendthemselves.Petitionerscannot,therefore,claimthattherewasadenialofdueprocessmuchless
thelackofjurisdictiononthepartoftheCSCtotakecognizanceofthecase.Wedonotfindreversibleerrorwiththe
decisionoftheCourtofAppealsinupholdingtheCSCResolution.
WHEREFORE,thepetitionisDENIED.
TheassaileddecisionoftheCourtofAppealsisAFFIRMED.
SOORDERED.
Davide,Jr.,C.J.,Bellosillo,Melo,Puno,Vitug,Mendoza,Panganiban,Quisumbing,Pardo,Buena,Ynares
Santiago,DeLeon,Jr.,SandovalGutierrez,andCarpio,JJ.,concur.
[1]Rollo,p.19.
[2]Id.,at2627.
[3]Id.,at50.
[4]Id.,,at39.
[5]Id.,at67
[6]Id..,at96.
[7]Id.,at11.
[8]GoldenThreadKnittingIndustries,Inc.v.NLRC,305SCRA327(1999).
[9]Id.,at3839.

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