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4. Civil Service Commission vs. Lucas To provide a factual backdrop of the case, a recital of the facts is necessary.

On May 26, 1992, Raquel P. Linatok, an assistant information officer at the


G.R. No. 127838. January 21, 1999.* Agricultural Information Division, Department of Agriculture (DA for brevity), filed
CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION, petitioner, vs. JOSE J. LUCAS, respondent. with the office of the Secretary, DA, an affidavit-complaint against respondent Jose J.
Administrative Law; Public Officers; Simple Misconduct; Grave Lucas, a photographer of the same agency, for misconduct.
Misconduct; In grave misconduct as distinguished from simple misconduct, the Raquel described the incident in the following manner:
elements of corruption, clear intent to violate the law or flagrant disregard of _________________
established rule, must be manifest.—As well stated by the Court of Appeals, there is 1 CA-G.R. SP No. 37137, promulgated on October 29, 1996, Rollo, pp. 26-34.
an existing guideline of the CSC distinguishing simple and grave misconduct. In the 2 Rollo, pp. 40-46, dismissing Jose J. Lucas from the service.
case of Landrito vs. Civil Service Commission, we held that “in grave misconduct as 3 Resolution, Board of Personnel Inquiry, Department of Agriculture, Rollo, pp.
distinguished from simple misconduct, the elements of corruption, clear intent to 51-63.
violate the law or flagrant disregard of established rule, must be manifest,” which is 562
obviously lacking in respondent’s case.
Same; Same; Same; Due Process; A person can not be convicted of a crime 562 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED
with which he was not charged.—Respondent maintains that as he was charged with Civil Service Commission vs. Lucas
simple misconduct, the CSC deprived him of his right to due process by convicting “While standing before a mirror, near the office door of Jose J. Lucas, Raquel noticed
him of grave misconduct. We sustain the ruling of the Court of Appeals that: (a) a a chair at her right side which Mr. Jose Lucas, at that very instant used to sit upon.
basic requirement of due process is that a person must be duly informed of the Thereafter, Mr. Lucas bent to reach for his shoe. At that moment she felt Mr. Lucas’
charges against him and that (b) a person can not be convicted of a crime with which hand touching her thigh and running down his palm up to her ankle. She was shocked
he was not charged. and suddenly faced Mr. Lucas and admonished him not to do it again or she will kick
Same; Same; Same; Same; Administrative proceedings are not exempt from him. But Lucas touched her again and so she hit Mr. Lucas. Suddenly Mr. Lucas
basic and fundamental procedural principles, such as the right to due process in shouted at her saying ‘lumabas ka na at huwag na huwag ka nang papasok dito kahit
investigations and hearings.—Administrative proceedings are not exempt from basic kailan.’ A verbal exchange then ensued and respondent Lucas grabbed Raquel by the
and fundamental procedural principles, such as the right to due process in arm and shoved her towards the door causing her to stumble, her both hands
investigations and hearings. The right to substantive and procedural due process is protected her face from smashing upon the door. Mr. Lucas, bent on literally throwing
applicable in administrative proceedings. the affiant out of the of
Same; Same; Same; Sexual Harassment; An employee’s act of touching a co- fice, grabbed her the second time while she attempted to regain her posture after
employee’s leg is not constitutive of grave misconduct, in the absence of proof that being pushed the first time. x x x while doing all this, Mr. Lucas shouted at the affiant,
respondent was maliciously motivated.—Of course, we do not in any way condone saying, ‘labas, huwag ka nang papasok dito kahit kailan.’ ”4
respondent’s act. Even in jest, he had no right to touch complainant’s leg. However, On June 8, 1992, the Board of Personnel Inquiry, DA, issued a summons requiring
under the respondent to answer the complaint, not to file a motion to dismiss, within five (5)
_______________ days from receipt. On June 17, 1992, respondent Lucas submitted a letter to Jose P.
* EN BANC.
Nitullano, assistant head, BOPI, denying the charges. According to Lucas, he did not
561 touch the thigh of complainant Linatok, that what transpired was that he accidentally
VOL. 301, JANUARY 21 1999 561 brushed Linatok’s leg when he reached for his shoes and that the same was merely
accidental and he did not intend nor was there malice when his hand got in contact
Civil Service Commission vs. Lucas with Linatok’s leg.
circumstances, such act is not constitutive of grave misconduct, in the absence On May 31, 1993, after a formal investigation by the BOPI, DA, the board issued a
of proof that respondent was maliciously motivated. We note that respondent has resolution finding respondent guilty of simple misconduct5 and recommending a
been in the service for twenty (20) years and this is his first offense. penalty of suspension for one (1) month and one (1) day. The Secretary of Agriculture
PETITION for review on certiorari of a decision of the Court of Appeals. approved the recommendation.
The facts are stated in the opinion of the Court. ________________
The Office for Legal Affairs for petitioner. 4 Petition for Review, Rollo, pp. 12-25.
Ma. Zenaida M. Garcia for respondent. 5 Resolution, D.A. Case No. 92-309-6, Rollo, pp. 51-63.
PARDO, J.: 563
The petition for review on certiorari before the Court assails the decision of the Court
of Appeals1 which set aside the resolution of the Civil Service Commission2 and VOL. 301, JANUARY 21 1999 563
reinstated that of the Board of Personnel Inquiry (BOPI for brevity), Office of the Civil Service Commission vs. Lucas
Secretary, Department of Agriculture,3 suspending respondent for one month, for In due time, respondent appealed the decision to the Civil Service Commission (CSC).
simple misconduct. On July 7, 1994, the CSC issued a resolution finding respondent guilty of grave
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misconduct and imposing on him the penalty of dismissal from the _________________
service.6 Respondent moved for reconsideration but the CSC denied the motion. 9 Petition for Review, Rollo, p. 18.

Then, respondent appealed to the Court of Appeals. On October 29, 1996, the 10 Landrito vs. Civil Service Commission, 223 SCRA 564; see also Arcenio vs.

Court of Appeals promulgated its decision setting aside the resolution of the CSC and Pogorogon, 224 SCRA 247.
reinstating the resolution of the BOPI, DA, stating thus: “It is true that the Civil 11 Decision, CA-G.R. No. SP No. 37137, Rollo, pp. 32-33.

Service Act does not define grave and simple misconduct. There is, however, no 12 Felicito Sajonas vs. National Labor Relations Commission, 183 SCRA 182.

question that these offenses fall under different categories. This is clear from a perusal 13 Embuscado vs. People of the Philippines, 179 SCRA 589.

of memorandum circular No. 49-89 dated August 3, 1989 (also known as the 565
guidelines in the application of penalties in administrative cases) itself which VOL. 301, JANUARY 21 1999 565
classifies administrative offenses into three: grave, less grave and light offenses. The
charge of grave misconduct falls under the classification of grave offenses while Civil Service Commission vs. Lucas
simple misconduct is classified as a less grave offense. The former is punishable by Administrative proceedings are not exempt from basic and fundamental procedural
dismissal while the latter is punishable either by suspension (one month and one day principles, such as the right to due process in investigations and hearings.14
to six months), if it is the first offense; or by dismissal, if it is the second. Thus, they The right to substantive and procedural due process is applicable in
should be treated as separate and distinct offenses.”7 administrative proceedings.15
The Court of Appeals further ruled that “a basic requirement of due process on the Of course, we do not in any way condone respondent’s act. Even in jest, he had no
other hand is that a person must be duly informed of the charges against him (Felicito right to touch complainant’s leg. However, under the circumstances, such act is not
Sajonas vs. National Labor Relations Commission, 183 SCRA 182). In the instant case constitutive of grave misconduct, in the absence of proof that respondent was
however, Lucas came to know of the modification of the charge against him only when maliciously motivated. We note that respondent has been in the service for twenty
he received notice of the resolution dismissing him from the service.”8 (20) years and this is his first offense.
__________________ IN VIEW WHEREOF, the Court hereby DENIES the petition for review on
6 Resolution No. 94-3670, Civil Service Commission, Rollo, pp. 40-46. certiorari and AFFIRMS the decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 37137.
7 Court of Appeals, Decision, Justice Alfredo L. Benipayo, ponente, Justices No costs.
Conrado M. Vasquez, Jr. and Romeo A. Brawner, concurring, Rollo, pp. 26-31. SO ORDERED.
8 Idem, on p. 32. Davide, Jr.,
564 (C.J.), Romero, Bellosillo, Melo, Puno, Vitug, Kapunan, Mendoza, Panganiban, Mart
inez, Quisumbing, Purisima, Buena and Gonzaga-Reyes, JJ.,concur.
564 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED
Petition denied, judgment affirmed.
Civil Service Commission vs. Lucas Notes.—To hold that there was a violation of a party’s right to due process but at
Hence, this petition. the same time sustain the end results of such violation would be tantamount to
The issues are (a) whether respondent Lucas was denied due process when the denying the right to due process just the same. (Mabuhay Textile Mills Corporation
CSC found him guilty of grave misconduct on a charge of simple misconduct, and (b) vs. Ongpin, 141 SCRA 437 [1986])
whether the act complained of constitutes grave misconduct. As the people have spoken, through Congress, to deem conduct constitutive of
Petitioner anchors its position on the view that “the formal charge against a sexual harassment or hazing, acts previously considered harmless by custom, as
respondent in an administrative case need not be drafted with the precision of an criminal, in disciplining erring judges and personnel of the Judiciary, the Su-
information in a criminal prosecution. It is sufficient that he is apprised of the _______________
substance of the charge against him; what is controlling is the allegation of the acts 14 Ang Tibay vs. CIR, 69 Phil. 635.

complained of, and not the designation of the offense.” 9 15 Auyong Hian vs. Court of Tax Appeals, 59 SCRA 111; see also Asprec vs.

We deny the petition. Itchon, 16 SCRA 921.


As well stated by the Court of Appeals, there is an existing guideline of the CSC 566
distinguishing simple and grave misconduct. In the case of Landrito vs. Civil Service 566 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED
Commission, we held that “in grave misconduct as distinguished from simple
misconduct, the elements of corruption, clear intent to violate the law or flagrant People vs. Court of Appeals
disregard of established rule, must be manifest,” 10 which is obviously lacking in preme Court can do no less. (Vedaña v. Valencia, 295 SCRA 1 [1998])
respondent’s case. Respondent maintains that as he was charged with simple ——o0o——
misconduct, the CSC deprived him of his right to due process by convicting him of
grave misconduct.
We sustain the ruling of the Court of Appeals11 that: (a) a basic requirement of due
process is that a person must be duly informed of the charges against him12 and that
(b) a person can not be convicted of a crime with which he was not charged.13
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