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G.R. No.

155336 November 25, 2004 COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS EMPLOYEES ASSOCIATION (CHREA), petitioner VS COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS (CHR), respondent Ponente: Chico-Nazario, J.: FACTS: September 4, 1998 CHR promulgated Resolution No. A98-047 adopting an upgrading and reclassification scheme among selected positions in the commission and ordering its Human Resources Department Division to prepare the necessary Notice of Salary Adjustment and other appropriate documents to implement the resolution October 19, 1998 CHR issued Resolution No. A98-055 providing for the upgrading and raising of salary grades of certain positions in the commission. According to the same resolution, savings under Personnel Services would be used to support the implementation of the scheme. November 17, 1998 CHR issued Resolution No. A98-062 collapsing vacant positions in the body to provide additional source of funding for said staffing modification. The CHR forwarded said staffing modification and upgrading scheme to the DBM with a request for its approval, but the then DBM Secretary Benjamin Diokno denied the request with the justifications that The upgrading scheme involved elevating the level of divisions to a bureau or regional office, and elevating services to offices Section 78 of the General Provisions of the GAA of 1998 says that no organizational unit or changes in key positions shall be authorized unless provided by law or directed by the president, and there is no existing law which the CHR can use as a legal basis for their proposed scheme. Section 2 of R.A. No. 6758 known as the Compensation Standardization Law, provides that the DBM is directed to establish and administer a unified compensation and position classification system in the government. And the Supreme Court ruled in Victorina Cruz vs Court of Appeals G.R. No. 119155 that the DBM has the sole power and discretion to administer the compensation and position classification system of the National Government. Though the CHR may be a member of the CFAG (Constitutional Fiscal Autonomy Group), it is not vested with the authority to reclassify, upgrade and create positions without the approval of the DBM. The members of the CFAG may formulate and implement organizational structures but these must be within the parameters of the Unified Position Classification and Compensation System established under R.A. 6758.

In light of the DMB s disapproval, the CSC-NCR Office recommended to the CSC-Central Office that the subject appointments be rejected. The petitioner CHREA also requested the CSC-Central Office to affirm the recommendation. However, the CSC-Central Office denied the petitioners request in a resolution dated December 19, 1999 and reversed the recommendation of the CSC- NCR. CHREA filed a motion for reconsideration with the CSC-Central Office but this was denied. CHREA, therefore, elevated the case to the Court of Appeals. When the court of Appeals affirmed the resolution of the CSC-Central Office and upheld the validity of the upgrading scheme, CHREA filed a petition in the Supreme Court. In this petition, CHREA contends that the Court of Appeals and CSC-Central Office erred in approving of the CHR s alleged authority to upgrade, classify and create positions when the DBM s approval is indispensable for such scheme. CHREA also contends that the Court of Appeals erred when it held that, according to the constitution, the CHR enjoys Fiscal Autonomy. In their answer, the respondent questioned the locus standi of the CHREA considering that it is not a recognized bona fide organization of its employees and that its president, Marcial Sanchez has no authority to sue the CHR. Respondent also contends that it has the authority to implement the scheme it proposed even without the approval of the DBM because it enjoys fiscal autonomy. ISSUES: 1. 2. Whether or not the petitioner has a locus standi on the case. Whether or not the approval of the DBM is a condition precedent to the enactment of an upgrading, reclassification, creation and collapsing of plantillas in the CHR.

HELD: 1. Petitioner which consists of rank and file employees of respondent CHR is in imminent danger of sustaining injury as a result of the proposed scheme. Only a select few in the upper level positions in the Commission will benefit from the said scheme, which when found valid will eat up a big portion of the Commission s savings that can otherwise be allocated to Personnel Services, from which the benefits of the employees are derived. The personality of the CHREA was also recognized by CSC when it took cognizance of the petitioner s request to affirm the recommendations from the CSC-NCR Office. The court held that without the approval of the DBM, the resolutions issued by the CHR are disallowed.

2.

Wherefore the petition was granted, the decision of the Court of Appeals was reversed and set aside, and the ruling of the CSC-NCR reinstated. RATIO: RA 6758 provides that the DBM shall establish and administer a unified Compensation and Position Classification System. The coverage of this authority includes all positions in the government, government-owned and controlled corporations and government financial institutions. Government refers to the Executive, Legislative, and the Judicial Branch and even the Constitutional Commissions that supposedly have fiscal autonomy. Jurisprudence also supports this power granted to the DBM. PRA vs Jesusito L. Bunag, Victorino Cruz vs Court of Appeals, Intia Jr., vs COA On the mistaken premise that CHR belongs to the species of constitutional commissions, the Constitution and Chapter 5 sections 24 and 26 Book II of the Administrative code mention only 3 constitutional commissions, the CSC, the COMLEC and the COA. In fact, the CHR is considered as Other Bodies . Its being member of the CFAG does not grant it fiscal autonomy because fiscal autonomy can only be granted by the Constituion. Even assuming en arguendo that the CHR enjoys fiscal autonomy, all government offices must, all the same kowtow to the Salary Standardization Law, for which its administration has been given by Congress to the DBM.