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Constitutional Commissions and Offices enjoying fiscal autonomy are authorized to

formulate and implement the organizational structures of their respective offices, to


fix and determine the salaries, allowances, and other benefits of their personnel,
SECOND DIVISION and whenever public interest so requires, make adjustments in their personal
services itemization including, but not limited to, the transfer of item or creation of
G.R. No. 155336 November 25, 2004
new positions in their respective offices: PROVIDED, That officers and employees
COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS EMPLOYEES' ASSOCIATION (CHREA)
Represented by its President, MARCIAL A. SANCHEZ, JR., petitioner, whose positions are affected by such reorganization or adjustments shall be granted
vs. retirement gratuities and separation pay in accordance with existing laws, which
COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS, respondent. shall be payable from any unexpended balance of, or savings in the appropriations of
DECISION their respective offices: PROVIDED, FURTHER, That the implementation hereof shall
be in accordance with salary rates, allowances and other benefits authorized under
CHICO-NAZARIO, J.:
compensation standardization laws.
Can the Commission on Human Rights lawfully implement an upgrading and
2. Use of Savings. The Constitutional Commissions and Offices enjoying fiscal
reclassification of personnel positions without the prior approval of the Department
autonomy are hereby authorized to use savings in their respective appropriations
of Budget and Management?
for: (a) printing and/or publication of decisions, resolutions, and training information
Before this Court is a petition for review filed by petitioner Commission on Human materials; (b) repair, maintenance and improvement of central and regional offices,
Rights Employees' Association (CHREA) challenging the Decision 1 dated 29 November facilities and equipment; (c) purchase of books, journals, periodicals and equipment;
2001 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 59678 affirming the (d) necessary expenses for the employment of temporary, contractual and casual
Resolutions2 dated 16 December 1999 and 09 June 2000 of the Civil Service employees; (e) payment of extraordinary and miscellaneous expenses, commutable
Commission (CSC), which sustained the validity of the upgrading and reclassification representation and transportation allowances, and fringe benefits for their officials
of certain personnel positions in the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) despite the and employees as may be authorized by law; and (f) other official purposes, subject
disapproval thereof by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM). Also to accounting and auditing rules and regulations. (Emphases supplied)
assailed is the resolution dated 11 September 2002 of the Court of Appeals denying
on the strength of these special provisions, the CHR, through its then Chairperson
the motion for reconsideration filed by petitioner.
Aurora P. Navarette-Reciña and Commissioners Nasser A. Marohomsalic, Mercedes
The antecedent facts which spawned the present controversy are as follows: V. Contreras, Vicente P. Sibulo, and Jorge R. Coquia, promulgated Resolution No.
A98-047 on 04 September 1998, adopting an upgrading and reclassification scheme
On 14 February 1998, Congress passed Republic Act No. 8522, otherwise known as among selected positions in the Commission, to wit:
the General Appropriations Act of 1998. It provided for Special Provisions Applicable
to All Constitutional Offices Enjoying Fiscal Autonomy. The last portion of Article WHEREAS, the General Appropriations Act, FY 1998, R.A. No. 8522 has provided
XXXIII covers the appropriations of the CHR. These special provisions state: special provisions applicable to all Constitutional Offices enjoying Fiscal Autonomy,
particularly on organizational structures and authorizes the same to formulate and
1. Organizational Structure. Any provision of law to the contrary notwithstanding implement the organizational structures of their respective offices to fix and
and within the limits of their respective appropriations as authorized in this Act, the determine the salaries, allowances and other benefits of their personnel and
whenever public interest so requires, make adjustments in the personnel services Offices)
itemization including, but not limited to, the transfer of item or creation of new
4 Director III Director IV 27 28 38,928.00
positions in their respective offices: PROVIDED, That officers and employees whose
positions are affected by such reorganization or adjustments shall be granted Financial &
retirement gratuities and separation pay in accordance with existing laws, which 1 Management Officer Director IV 24 28 36,744.00
shall be payable from any unexpanded balance of, or savings in the appropriations of II
their respective offices; Budget
1 Budget Officer III 18 24 51,756.00
Officer IV
Whereas, the Commission on Human Rights is a member of the Constitutional Fiscal
Autonomy Group (CFAG) and on July 24, 1998, CFAG passed an approved Joint Chief
1 Accountant III 18 24 51,756.00
Resolution No. 49 adopting internal rules implementing the special provisions Accountant
heretoforth mentioned; 1 Cashier III Cashier V 18 24 51,756.00

NOW THEREFORE, the Commission by virtue of its fiscal autonomy hereby approves 1 Information Officer V Director IV 24 28 36,744.006
and authorizes the upgrading and augmentation of the commensurate amount It, likewise, provided for the creation and upgrading of the following positions:
generated from savings under Personal Services to support the implementation of
this resolution effective Calendar Year 1998; A. Creation

Let the Human Resources Development Division (HRDD) prepare the necessary Number of Salary Total Salary
Position Title
Notice of Salary Adjustment and other appropriate documents to implement this Positions Grade Requirements
resolution; . . . .3 (Emphasis supplied) Security Officer II
4 15 684,780.00
(Coterminous)
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 B. Upgrading
Regional Office, four Security Officer II with Salary Grade 15, and five Process
Number of Salary Total Salary
Servers, with Salary Grade 5 under the Office of the Commissioners. 4 Position Title
Positions Grade Requirements
On 19 October 1998, CHR issued Resolution No. A98-0555 providing for the
From To From To
upgrading or raising of salary grades of the following positions in the Commission:
1 Attorney V Director IV 25 28 P28,092.00
Number of Position Salary Total Salary Security Security
Positions Grade Requirements 2 11 15 57,456.00
Title Officer I Officer II
From To From To ----------------
Attorney VI (In the Total 3 P 85,548.007
12 Director IV 26 28 P229,104.00
Regional Field
To support the implementation of such scheme, the CHR, in the same resolution, Barangay Rights Actions Center in accordance with existing laws. (Emphasis in the
authorized the augmentation of a commensurate amount generated from savings original)
under Personnel Services.
Pursuant to Section 78 of the General Provisions of the General Appropriations Act
By virtue of Resolution No. A98-062 dated 17 November 1998, the CHR "collapsed" (GAA) FY 1998, no organizational unit or changes in key positions shall be authorized
the vacant positions in the body to provide additional source of funding for said unless provided by law or directed by the President, thus, the creation of a Finance
staffing modification. Among the positions collapsed were: one Attorney III, four Management Office and a Public Affairs Office cannot be given favorable
Attorney IV, one Chemist III, three Special Investigator I, one Clerk III, and one recommendation.
Accounting Clerk II.8
Moreover, as provided under Section 2 of RA No. 6758, otherwise known as the
The CHR forwarded said staffing modification and upgrading scheme to the DBM Compensation Standardization Law, the Department of Budget and Management is
with a request for its approval, but the then DBM secretary Benjamin Diokno denied directed to establish and administer a unified compensation and position
the request on the following justification: classification system in the government. The Supreme Court ruled in the case of
Victorina Cruz vs. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 119155, dated January 30, 1996, that
… Based on the evaluations made the request was not favorably considered as it
this Department has the sole power and discretion to administer the compensation
effectively involved the elevation of the field units from divisions to services.
and position classification system of the National Government.
The present proposal seeks further to upgrade the twelve (12) positions of Attorney
Being a member of the fiscal autonomy group does not vest the agency with the
VI, SG-26 to Director IV, SG-28. This would elevate the field units to a bureau or
authority to reclassify, upgrade, and create positions without approval of the DBM.
regional office, a level even higher than the one previously denied.
While the members of the Group are authorized to formulate and implement the
The request to upgrade the three (3) positions of Director III, SG-27 to Director IV, organizational structures of their respective offices and determine the compensation
SG-28, in the Central Office in effect would elevate the services to Office and change of their personnel, such authority is not absolute and must be exercised within the
the context from support to substantive without actual change in functions. parameters of the Unified Position Classification and Compensation System
established under RA 6758 more popularly known as the Compensation
In the absence of a specific provision of law which may be used as a legal basis to Standardization Law. We therefore reiterate our previous stand on the
elevate the level of divisions to a bureau or regional office, and the services to matter.9 (Emphases supplied)
offices, we reiterate our previous stand denying the upgrading of the twelve (12)
positions of Attorney VI, SG-26 to Director III, SG-27 or Director IV, SG-28, in the In light of the DBM's disapproval of the proposed personnel modification scheme,
Field Operations Office (FOO) and three (3) Director III, SG-27 to Director IV, SG-28 in the CSC-National Capital Region Office, through a memorandum dated 29 March
the Central Office. 1999, recommended to the CSC-Central Office that the subject appointments be
rejected owing to the DBM's disapproval of the plantilla reclassification.
As represented, President Ramos then issued a Memorandum to the DBM Secretary
dated 10 December 1997, directing the latter to increase the number of Plantilla Meanwhile, the officers of petitioner CHREA, in representation of the rank and file
positions in the CHR both Central and Regional Offices to implement the Philippine employees of the CHR, requested the CSC-Central Office to affirm the
Decade Plan on Human Rights Education, the Philippine Human Rights Plan and 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 …THE COURT OF APPEALS SERIOUSLY AND GRAVELY ERRED IN AFFIRMING THE
positions. VALIDITY OF THE CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION RESOLUTION NOS. 992800 AND
001354 AS WELL AS THAT OF THE OPINION OF THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE IN
The CSC-Central Office denied CHREA's request in a Resolution dated 16 December
STATING THAT THE COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS ENJOYS FISCAL AUTONOMY
1999, and reversed the recommendation of the CSC-Regional Office that the
UNDER THE 1987 CONSTITUTION AND THAT THIS FISCAL AUTONOMY INCLUDES THE
upgrading scheme be censured. The decretal portion of which reads:
ACTION TAKEN BY IT IN COLLAPSING, UPGRADING AND RECLASSIFICATION OF
WHEREFORE, the request of Ronnie N. Rosero, Hubert V. Ruiz, Flordeliza A. Briones, POSITIONS THEREIN.12
George Q. Dumlao [and], Corazon A. Santos-Tiu, is hereby denied.10
The central question we must answer in order to resolve this case is: Can the
CHREA filed a motion for reconsideration, but the CSC-Central Office denied the Commission on Human Rights validly implement an upgrading, reclassification,
same on 09 June 2000. creation, and collapsing of plantilla positions in the Commission without the prior
approval of the Department of Budget and Management?
Given the cacophony of judgments between the DBM and the CSC, petitioner CHREA
elevated the matter to the Court of Appeals. The Court of Appeals affirmed the Petitioner CHREA grouses that the Court of Appeals and the CSC-Central Office both
pronouncement of the CSC-Central Office and upheld the validity of the upgrading, erred in sanctioning the CHR's alleged blanket authority to upgrade, reclassify, and
retitling, and reclassification scheme in the CHR on the justification that such action create positions inasmuch as the approval of the DBM relative to such scheme is still
is within the ambit of CHR's fiscal autonomy. The fallo of the Court of Appeals indispensable. Petitioner bewails that the CSC and the Court of Appeals erroneously
decision provides: assumed that CHR enjoys fiscal autonomy insofar as financial matters are concerned,
particularly with regard to the upgrading and reclassification of positions therein.
IN VIEW OF ALL THE FOREGOING, the instant petition is ordered DISMISSED and the
questioned Civil Service Commission Resolution No. 99-2800 dated December 16, Respondent CHR sharply retorts that petitioner has no locus standi considering that
1999 as well as No. 001354 dated June 9, 2000, are hereby AFFIRMED. No cost. 11 there exists no official written record in the Commission recognizing petitioner as a
bona fide organization of its employees nor is there anything in the records to show
Unperturbed, petitioner filed this petition in this Court contending that: that its president, Marcial A. Sanchez, Jr., has the authority to sue the CHR. The CHR
A. contends that it has the authority to cause the upgrading, reclassification, plantilla
creation, and collapsing scheme sans the approval of the DBM because it enjoys
…THE COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY ERRED WHEN IT HELD THAT UNDER THE 1987 fiscal autonomy.
CONSTITUTION, THE COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS ENJOYS FISCAL AUTONOMY.
After a thorough consideration of the arguments of both parties and an assiduous
B. scrutiny of the records in the case at bar, it is the Court's opinion that the present
petition is imbued with merit.
…THE COURT OF APPEALS SERIOUSLY ERRED IN UPHOLDING THE CONSTRUCTION OF
THE COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS OF REPUBLIC ACT NO. 8522 (THE GENERAL On petitioner's personality to bring this suit, we held in a multitude of cases that a
APPROPRIATIONS ACT FOR THE FISCAL YEAR 1998) DESPITE ITS BEING IN SHARP proper party is one who has sustained or is in immediate danger of sustaining an
CONFLICT WITH THE 1987 CONSTITUTION AND THE STATUTE ITSELF. injury as a result of the act complained of.13 Here, petitioner, which consists of rank
and file employees of respondent CHR, protests that the upgrading and collapsing of
C.
positions benefited only a select few in the upper level positions in the Commission SEC. 4. Coverage. – The Compensation and Position Classification System herein
resulting to the demoralization of the rank and file employees. This sufficiently provided shall apply to all positions, appointive or elective, on full or part-time basis,
meets the injury test. Indeed, the CHR's upgrading scheme, if found to be valid, now existing or hereafter created in the government, including government-owned
potentially entails eating up the Commission's savings or that portion of its or controlled corporations and government financial institutions.
budgetary pie otherwise allocated for Personnel Services, from which the benefits of
The term "government" refers to the Executive, the Legislative and the Judicial
the employees, including those in the rank and file, are derived.
Branches and the Constitutional Commissions and shall include all, but shall not be
Further, the personality of petitioner to file this case was recognized by the CSC limited to, departments, bureaus, offices, boards, commissions, courts, tribunals,
when it took cognizance of the CHREA's request to affirm the recommendation of councils, authorities, administrations, centers, institutes, state colleges and
the CSC-National Capital Region Office. CHREA's personality to bring the suit was a universities, local government units, and the armed forces. The term "government-
non-issue in the Court of Appeals when it passed upon the merits of this case. Thus, owned or controlled corporations and financial institutions" shall include all
neither should our hands be tied by this technical concern. Indeed, it is settled corporations and financial institutions owned or controlled by the National
jurisprudence that an issue that was neither raised in the complaint nor in the court Government, whether such corporations and financial institutions perform
below cannot be raised for the first time on appeal, as to do so would be offensive governmental or proprietary functions. (Emphasis supplied.)
to the basic rules of fair play, justice, and due process.14
The disputation of the Court of Appeals that the CHR is exempt from the long arm of
We now delve into the main issue of whether or not the approval by the DBM is a the Salary Standardization Law is flawed considering that the coverage thereof, as
condition precedent to the enactment of an upgrading, reclassification, creation and defined above, encompasses the entire gamut of government offices, sans
collapsing of plantilla positions in the CHR. qualification.

Germane to our discussion is Rep. Act No. 6758, An Act Prescribing a Revised This power to "administer" is not purely ministerial in character as erroneously held
Compensation and Position Classification System in the Government and For Other by the Court of Appeals. The word to administer means to control or regulate in
Purposes, or the Salary Standardization Law, dated 01 July 1989, which provides in behalf of others; to direct or superintend the execution, application or conduct of;
Sections 2 and 4 thereof that it is the DBM that shall establish and administer a and to manage or conduct public affairs, as to administer the government of the
unified Compensation and Position Classification System. Thus: state.15

SEC. 2. Statement of Policy. -- It is hereby declared the policy of the State to provide The regulatory power of the DBM on matters of compensation is encrypted not only
equal pay for substantially equal work and to base differences in pay upon in law, but in jurisprudence as well. In the recent case of Philippine Retirement
substantive differences in duties and responsibilities, and qualification requirements Authority (PRA) v. Jesusito L. Buñag,16 this Court, speaking through Mr. Justice
of the positions. In determining rates of pay, due regard shall be given to, among Reynato Puno, ruled that compensation, allowances, and other benefits received by
others, prevailing rates in the private sector for comparable work. For this purpose, PRA officials and employees without the requisite approval or authority of the DBM
the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) is hereby directed to establish are unauthorized and irregular. In the words of the Court –
and administer a unified Compensation and Position Classification System,
Despite the power granted to the Board of Directors of PRA to establish and fix a
hereinafter referred to as the System as provided for in Presidential Decree No. 985,
compensation and benefits scheme for its employees, the same is subject to the
as amended, that shall be applied for all government entities, as mandated by the
review of the Department of Budget and Management. However, in view of the
Constitution. (Emphasis supplied.)
express powers granted to PRA under its charter, the extent of the review authority SEC. 3. Powers and Functions. – The Department of Budget and Management shall
of the Department of Budget and Management is limited. As stated in Intia, the task assist the President in the preparation of a national resources and expenditures
of the Department of Budget and Management is simply to review the budget, preparation, execution and control of the National Budget, preparation and
compensation and benefits plan of the government agency or entity concerned and maintenance of accounting systems essential to the budgetary process, achievement
determine if the same complies with the prescribed policies and guidelines issued in of more economy and efficiency in the management of government operations,
this regard. The role of the Department of Budget and Management is supervisorial administration of compensation and position classification systems, assessment of
in nature, its main duty being to ascertain that the proposed compensation, benefits organizational effectiveness and review and evaluation of legislative proposals
and other incentives to be given to PRA officials and employees adhere to the having budgetary or organizational implications. (Emphasis supplied.)
policies and guidelines issued in accordance with applicable laws.
Irrefragably, it is within the turf of the DBM Secretary to disallow the upgrading,
17
In Victorina Cruz v. Court of Appeals, we held that the DBM has the sole power and reclassification, and creation of additional plantilla positions in the CHR based on its
discretion to administer the compensation and position classification system of the finding that such scheme lacks legal justification.
national government.
Notably, the CHR itself recognizes the authority of the DBM to deny or approve the
In Intia, Jr. v. Commission on Audit,18 the Court held that although the charter19 of proposed reclassification of positions as evidenced by its three letters to the DBM
the Philippine Postal Corporation (PPC) grants it the power to fix the compensation requesting approval thereof. As such, it is now estopped from now claiming that the
and benefits of its employees and exempts PPC from the coverage of the rules and nod of approval it has previously sought from the DBM is a superfluity.
regulations of the Compensation and Position Classification Office, by virtue of
The Court of Appeals incorrectly relied on the pronouncement of the CSC-Central
Section 6 of P.D. No. 1597, the compensation system established by the PPC is,
Office that the CHR is a constitutional commission, and as such enjoys fiscal
nonetheless, subject to the review of the DBM. This Court intoned:
autonomy.20
It should be emphasized that the review by the DBM of any PPC resolution affecting
Palpably, the Court of Appeals' Decision was based on the mistaken premise that the
the compensation structure of its personnel should not be interpreted to mean that
CHR belongs to the species of constitutional commissions. But, Article IX of the
the DBM can dictate upon the PPC Board of Directors and deprive the latter of its
Constitution states in no uncertain terms that only the CSC, the Commission on
discretion on the matter. Rather, the DBM's function is merely to ensure that the
Elections, and the Commission on Audit shall be tagged as Constitutional
action taken by the Board of Directors complies with the requirements of the law,
Commissions with the appurtenant right to fiscal autonomy. Thus:
specifically, that PPC's compensation system "conforms as closely as possible with
that provided for under R.A. No. 6758." (Emphasis supplied.) Sec. 1. The Constitutional Commissions, which shall be independent, are the Civil
Service Commission, the Commission on Elections, and the Commission on Audit.
As measured by the foregoing legal and jurisprudential yardsticks, the imprimatur of
the DBM must first be sought prior to implementation of any reclassification or Sec. 5. The Commission shall enjoy fiscal autonomy. Their approved annual
upgrading of positions in government. This is consonant to the mandate of the DBM appropriations shall be automatically and regularly released.
under the Revised Administrative Code of 1987, Section 3, Chapter 1, Title XVII, to
wit: Along the same vein, the Administrative Code, in Chapter 5, Sections 24 and 26 of
Book II on Distribution of Powers of Government, the constitutional commissions
shall include only the Civil Service Commission, the Commission on Elections, and
the Commission on Audit, which are granted independence and fiscal autonomy. In allocate and utilize their resources with the wisdom and dispatch that their needs
contrast, Chapter 5, Section 29 thereof, is silent on the grant of similar powers to the require. It recognizes the power and authority to levy, assess and collect fees, fix
other bodies including the CHR. Thus: rates of compensation not exceeding the highest rates authorized by law for
compensation and pay plans of the government and allocate and disburse such sums
SEC. 24. Constitutional Commissions. – The Constitutional Commissions, which shall
as may be provided by law or prescribed by them in the course of the discharge of
be independent, are the Civil Service Commission, the Commission on Elections, and
their functions.
the Commission on Audit.
...
SEC. 26. Fiscal Autonomy. – The Constitutional Commissions shall enjoy fiscal
autonomy. The approved annual appropriations shall be automatically and regularly The Judiciary, the Constitutional Commissions, and the Ombudsman must have the
released. independence and flexibility needed in the discharge of their constitutional duties.
The imposition of restrictions and constraints on the manner the independent
SEC. 29. Other Bodies. – There shall be in accordance with the Constitution, an Office
constitutional offices allocate and utilize the funds appropriated for their operations
of the Ombudsman, a Commission on Human Rights, and independent central
is anathema to fiscal autonomy and violative not only of the express mandate of the
monetary authority, and a national police commission. Likewise, as provided in the
Constitution but especially as regards the Supreme Court, of the independence and
Constitution, Congress may establish an independent economic and planning
separation of powers upon which the entire fabric of our constitutional system is
agency. (Emphasis ours.)
based. In the interest of comity and cooperation, the Supreme Court, [the]
From the 1987 Constitution and the Administrative Code, it is abundantly clear that Constitutional Commissions, and the Ombudsman have so far limited their
the CHR is not among the class of Constitutional Commissions. As expressed in the objections to constant reminders. We now agree with the petitioners that this grant
oft-repeated maxim expressio unius est exclusio alterius, the express mention of one of autonomy should cease to be a meaningless provision. (Emphasis supplied.)
person, thing, act or consequence excludes all others. Stated otherwise, expressium
Neither does the fact that the CHR was admitted as a member by the Constitutional
facit cessare tacitum – what is expressed puts an end to what is implied. 21
Fiscal Autonomy Group (CFAG) ipso facto clothed it with fiscal autonomy. Fiscal
Nor is there any legal basis to support the contention that the CHR enjoys fiscal autonomy is a constitutional grant, not a tag obtainable by membership.
autonomy. In essence, fiscal autonomy entails freedom from outside control and
We note with interest that the special provision under Rep. Act No. 8522, while cited
limitations, other than those provided by law. It is the freedom to allocate and utilize
under the heading of the CHR, did not specifically mention CHR as among those
funds granted by law, in accordance with law, and pursuant to the wisdom and
offices to which the special provision to formulate and implement organizational
dispatch its needs may require from time to time. 22 In Blaquera v. Alcala and
structures apply, but merely states its coverage to include Constitutional
Bengzon v. Drilon,23 it is understood that it is only the Judiciary, the Civil Service
Commissions and Offices enjoying fiscal autonomy. In contrast, the Special Provision
Commission, the Commission on Audit, the Commission on Elections, and the Office
Applicable to the Judiciary under Article XXVIII of the General Appropriations Act of
of the Ombudsman, which enjoy fiscal autonomy. Thus, in Bengzon, 24 we explained:
1998 specifically mentions that such special provision applies to the judiciary and
As envisioned in the Constitution, the fiscal autonomy enjoyed by the Judiciary, the had categorically authorized the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court to formulate and
Civil Service Commission, the Commission on Audit, the Commission on Elections, implement the organizational structure of the Judiciary, to wit:
and the Office of the Ombudsman contemplates a guarantee of full flexibility to
1. Organizational Structure. Any provision of law to the contrary notwithstanding salary rates, allowances and other benefits authorized under compensation
and within the limits of their respective appropriations authorized in this Act, the standardization laws."26
Chief Justice of the Supreme Court is authorized to formulate and implement
Indeed, the law upon which respondent heavily anchors its case upon has expressly
organizational structure of the Judiciary, to fix and determine the salaries,
provided that any form of adjustment in the organizational structure must be within
allowances, and other benefits of their personnel, and whenever public interest so
the parameters of the Salary Standardization Law.
requires, make adjustments in the personal services itemization including, but not
limited to, the transfer of item or creation of new positions in the Judiciary; The Salary Standardization Law has gained impetus in addressing one of the basic
PROVIDED, That officers and employees whose positions are affected by such causes of discontent of many civil servants.27 For this purpose, Congress has
reorganization or adjustments shall be granted retirement gratuities and separation delegated to the DBM the power to administer the Salary Standardization Law and
pay in accordance with existing law, which shall be payable from any unexpended to ensure that the spirit behind it is observed. This power is part of the system of
balance of, or savings in the appropriations of their respective offices: PROVIDED, checks and balances or system of restraints in our government. The DBM's exercise
FURTHER, That the implementation hereof shall be in accordance with salary rates, of such authority is not in itself an arrogation inasmuch as it is pursuant to the
allowances and other benefits authorized under compensation standardization laws. paramount law of the land, the Salary Standardization Law and the Administrative
(Emphasis supplied.) Code.

All told, the CHR, although admittedly a constitutional creation is, nonetheless, not In line with its role to breathe life into the policy behind the Salary Standardization
included in the genus of offices accorded fiscal autonomy by constitutional or Law of "providing equal pay for substantially equal work and to base differences in
legislative fiat. pay upon substantive differences in duties and responsibilities, and qualification
requirements of the positions," the DBM, in the case under review, made a
Even assuming en arguendo that the CHR enjoys fiscal autonomy, we share the
determination, after a thorough evaluation, that the reclassification and upgrading
stance of the DBM that the grant of fiscal autonomy notwithstanding, all
scheme proposed by the CHR lacks legal rationalization.
government offices must, all the same, kowtow to the Salary Standardization Law.
We are of the same mind with the DBM on its standpoint, thus- The DBM expounded that Section 78 of the general provisions of the General
Appropriations Act FY 1998, which the CHR heavily relies upon to justify its
Being a member of the fiscal autonomy group does not vest the agency with the
reclassification scheme, explicitly provides that "no organizational unit or changes in
authority to reclassify, upgrade, and create positions without approval of the DBM.
key positions shall be authorized unless provided by law or directed by the
While the members of the Group are authorized to formulate and implement the
President." Here, the DBM discerned that there is no law authorizing the creation of
organizational structures of their respective offices and determine the compensation
a Finance Management Office and a Public Affairs Office in the CHR. Anent CHR's
of their personnel, such authority is not absolute and must be exercised within the
proposal to upgrade twelve positions of Attorney VI, SG-26 to Director IV, SG-28, and
parameters of the Unified Position Classification and Compensation System
four positions of Director III, SG-27 to Director IV, SG-28, in the Central Office, the
established under RA 6758 more popularly known as the Compensation
DBM denied the same as this would change the context from support to substantive
Standardization Law.25 (Emphasis supplied.)
without actual change in functions.
The most lucid argument against the stand of respondent, however, is the provision
This view of the DBM, as the law's designated body to implement and administer a
of Rep. Act No. 8522 "that the implementation hereof shall be in accordance with
unified compensation system, is beyond cavil. The interpretation of an
10 Id. at 37.
administrative government agency, which is tasked to implement a statute is
11 Id. at 47.
accorded great respect and ordinarily controls the construction of the courts. In
12 Id. at 19-20.
Energy Regulatory Board v. Court of Appeals,28 we echoed the basic rule that the
13 Cruz, Philippine Political Law 243 (1996 ed.), citing Ex Parte Lewitt, 303 U.S. 633.
courts will not interfere in matters which are addressed to the sound discretion of 14 EASCO v. LTFRB, G.R. No. 149717, 07 October 2003, 413 SCRA 75.
government agencies entrusted with the regulation of activities coming under the 15 Philippine Law Dictionary 21 (2nd ed.), citing Caw v. Benedicto, 63 OG 3393; 8 C.A.R. (2s) 814.
special technical knowledge and training of such agencies. 16 G.R. No. 143784, 05 February 2003, 397 SCRA 27, 35.
17 G.R. No. 119155, 30 January 1996, 252 SCRA599.
To be sure, considering his expertise on matters affecting the nation's coffers, the
18 G.R. No. 131529, 30 April 1999, 306 SCRA 593, 609.
Secretary of the DBM, as the President's alter ego, knows from where he speaks 19 Rep. Act No. 7354 (1992).
inasmuch as he has the front seat view of the adverse effects of an unwarranted 20 Rollo, p. 46.
upgrading or creation of positions in the CHR in particular and in the entire 21 Canet v. Decena, G.R. No. 155344, 20 January 2004, 420 SCRA 388.
government in general. 22 Blaquera v. Alcala, G.R. Nos. 109406, 110642, 111494, 112056 and 119597, 11 September 1998, 295 SCRA 366.
23 Id.; Bengzon v. Drilon, G.R. No. 103524, 15 April 1992, 208 SCRA 133.
WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED, the Decision dated 29 November 2001 of the 24 Id.

Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 59678 and its Resolution dated 11 September 25 Rollo, p. 63.
2002 are hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE. The ruling dated 29 March 1999 of the 26 Article XXXIII, Rep. Act No. 8522, Special Provisions Applicable to all Constitutional Offices Enjoying Fiscal Autonomy.
Civil Service Commision-National Capital Region is REINSTATED. The Commission on 27 Cruz, Philippine Political Law, p. 243 (1996 Ed).
Human Rights Resolution No. A98-047 dated 04 September 1998, Resolution No. 28 G.R.
No. 113079, 20 April 2001, 357 SCRA 30, citing Nestle v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 86738, 13 November 1991, 203
A98-055 dated 19 October 1998 and Resolution No. A98-062 dated 17 November SCRA 504.

1998 without the approval of the Department of Budget and Management are
disallowed. No pronouncement as to costs.

SO ORDERED.

Puno, Acting C.J., Austria-Martinez, Callejo, Sr., and Tinga, JJ., concur.
Footnotes
1 Rollo,
pp. 36-50; Penned by Associate Justice Conrado M. Vasquez, Jr., with Associate Justices Andres B. Reyes, Jr. and
Amelita G. Tolentino, concurring.
2 Id. at 37.
3 Id. at 51-52.
4 Id. at 53-56.
5 Id. at 54.
6 Id.

7 Id. at 55.
8 Id. at 57.
9 Id. at 62-63.