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G.R. No.

L-7068 December 22, 1954 There is no question then that he was born in the municipality of Caoayan, Ilocos Sur, in June, 1895; came to
Manila to pursue his studies; went to the United States for the same purpose; returned to the Philippines; and
engaged in the newspaper work in Manila, Iloilo and later on again in Manila. There is also no question that
PERFECTO FAYPON, petitioner,
the respondent was proclaimed by the provincial board of canvassers elected to the office of Provincial
vs.
Governor of Ilocos Sur with 49,017 votes cast for him as against 19,466 votes cast for the petitioner.
ELISEO QUIRINO, respondent.

The crucial and pivotal fact upon which the petitioner relies to have judgment of the respondent as voter in
PADILLA, J.:
Pasay City in 1946 and 1947. In several cases we have ruled that mere absence from one's residence or origin
domicile to pursue studies engage in business, or practice his avocation, is not sufficient to constitute
A petition for quo warranto under section 173 of Republic Act No. 180, as amended, was dismissed by the abandonment or loss of such residence. It is contended, however, that the respondent's registration as voter in
Court of First Instance of Ilocos Sur. The Court of Appeals affirmed the dismissal. By a petition for a writ Pasay City in 1946 and 1947 in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution and the laws on the
of certiorari under Rule 46 the last judgment is now before us for review. subject, implies and means that he was a resident thereof during the six months immediately preceding such
registration and of the Philippines for one year; 1 and that such being the case he was ineligible for the office
to which he was elected, because
The ground for the quo warranto petition is the respondent's ineligibility for the office of Provincial Governor
of Ilocos Sur to which he was proclaimed elected by the provincial board of canvassers in the elections held on
13 November 1951. It is alleged that he lacks the residence in the province, as required in section 2071 of the No person shall be eligible to a provincial office unless at the time of the election he is qualified voter of the
Revised Administrative Code. province, has been a bona fide resident therein for at least one year prior to the election and is not less than
thirty years of age. 2
The error claimed to have been committed by the trial court in refusing admission of an amended petition,
presumably to allege an additional ground for disqualification of the respondent is no longer urged, the Did the respondent's registration as voter in Pasay City in 1946 and 1947 constitute abandonment or loss of
attempt to file such petition having been made on the day set for the hearing of the case.lawphil.net his residence of origin? The determination of a person's legal residence or domicile largely depends upon
intention which may be inferred from his acts, activities and utterances. The party who claims that a person
has abandoned or lost his residence of origin must show and prove preponderantly such abandonment or
The second point raised is the irregular constitution in the Court of Appeals of the division of five members
loss. If we are to take literally the meaning of the voter's oath 3 which he files with the board of inspectors for
that rendered the judgment in the case. It is claimed that when the unanimous concurrence of the division of
his registration as such, there is no doubt that the respondent having registered in 1946 and 1947 as voter in
three could not be had, the Presiding Justice chose or designated two additional Associate Justices in violation
Pasay City must have acquired residence in that city and must be deemed to have abandoned his residence of
of the resolution of the Court in banc promulgated on 15 September 1952 which required that it be by
origin. But in several decisions we have laid down the rule that in which he is elected is not sufficient to
rotation in the order of seniority. The alleged violation of the resolution of the Court in banc promulgated on
constitute abandonment or loss of his residence of origin. In Yra vs. Abano, 52 Phil., 380, the election of the
15 September 1952 which required that it be by rotation in the order of seniority. The alleged violation of the
protestee to the office of the municipal president of Meycauayan, Bulacan, was upheld, notwithstanding the
resolution does not affect the jurisdiction of the Court of Appeals to hear and decide the case before it on
fact that he had registered as voter in Manila. In Vivero vs. Murillo, 52 Phil., 694, where the protestee had
appeal. If the alleged irregular designation be a sufficient ground for the setting aside of the judgment
registered as voter in the Municipality of Buraruen, Leyte, we held that such registration had not caused the
rendered by the Court of Appeals and remanding the case to it for further proceedings, it would unnecessarily
loss of his residence of origin (La Paz, same province), where he has elected municipal president. In
delay the disposition of this case to the detriment of public interest. As the judgment rendered in the case is
Laurena vs. Teves, 61 Phil., 36, 38, we upheld the election of Pedro Teves to the office of the municipal
being reviewed, the hearing and consideration of the case by this Court sufficiently guarantee and protect the
president of Dumaguete where he was born, because he had his residence of origin which was Dumaguete,
petitioner's right and interest. Also, the fact that after the designation of two additional Associate Justices of
"notwithstanding the fact that in the year 1919 he registered in the list of voters of the municipal of Bacong;
the Court of Appeals to form a division of five, as provided for in the Judiciary Act of 1948, no hearing was
run for representative for the second district of Oriental Negros to which said municipality of Bacong belongs;
held, is not sufficient to render judgment void, because section 1, Rule 53, allows the consideration and
again ran for reelection in the year 1992; and launched his candidacy for member (membership) of (in) the
adjudication of an appealed case "by any and all of Justices who are members of the court at the time when
provincial board of Oriental Negros in 1925, stating under oath in his certificate of candidacy that he was a
such matters are taken up for consideration and adjudication, whether such justices were or were not
resident of said municipality of Bacong, Oriental Negros, without having ever registered as elector in any of
members of the court and whether they were not present at the date of submission . .".
the precincts of the municipality of Dumaguete from said year, 1919, up to the present, and having ordered
the cancellation of his name in the list of voters of said municipality of Bacong only on April 5, 1934." And in
The third point is the alleged respondent's lack of residence as required by law section 2071 of the Revised the case of Gallego vs. Verra, 73 Phil., 453, where it appears that Pedro Gallego worked in several provinces
Administrative Code. The Court of Appeals found the following facts: other than his native town (Abuyog, Leyte), registered as elector and voted in Malaybalay, Bukidnon, in 1938,
took his residence certificate in Malaybalay in 1940 where it appeared that he had resided in that
municipality for one and a half years, we held that he had not lost this residence of origin and the protest
. . That respondent-appellee was born in Caoayan, Ilocos Sur, in June, 1895; that he went to the United States
against his election in 1940 to the office of municipal mayor of Abuyog was dismissed.
in 1919 to study and returned to the Philippines in 1923; that on his return, he taught as professor in the
University of the Philippines for four years. He became owner and editor of the Intelligence, a newspaper
publish in Manila. He went to Iloilo as editor of the Iloilo Times. He became executive secretary and general The rule laid down in the foregoing cases is not devoid of reason and justification. A citizen may leave the
manager of the NEPA (National Economic Protectionism Association) from 1936 until December 31, 1951 place of his birth to look for "greener pastures," as the saying goes, to improve his lot, and that, of course,
(Exhibits G, G-1 to G-3). He was editor of Commerce, an official organ of the Chamber of Commerce in Manila includes study in other places, practice of his avocation, or engaging in business. When election is to be held,
(Exhibits F, F-1 to F-11). He registered as a voter in Pasay City in 1946-1947 (Exhibit A). He owns a house and the citizen who left his birthplace to improve his lot may desire to return to his native town to cast his ballot
resides at 55-11th Street, Quezon City (Exhibits H-H-1). but for professional or business reasons, or for any other reason, he may not be absent himself from the place
of his professional or business activities; so there he registers as voter as he has the qualifications to be one
and is not willing to give up or lose the opportunity to choose the officials who are to run the government
especially in national elections. Despite such registration, the animus revertendi to his home, to his domicile or
residence of origin, he has not forsaken him. This may be the explanation why the registration of a voter in a
place other than his residence of origin has not been deemed sufficient to constitute abandonment or loss of
such residence. It finds justification in the natural desire and longing of every person to return to the place of
birth. This strong feeling of attachment to the place of one's birth must be overcome by positive proof of
abandonment for another.

Counsel for the petitioner argues that in addition to other qualifications residence for at least one year in the
municipality were the municipal officer is elected, as provided for in section 2174 of the Revised
Administrative Code, is sufficient; whereas the residence requirement for a provincial officer such as that of
the provincial governor must be a bona fide residence in the province for at least one prior to his election, and
concludes that the rule laid down in the cases cited and invoked is not applicable to and does not and cannot
benefit the respondent. We fail to see the difference between the requirement of not less than one year bona
fide residence for provincial officers. If any inference is to be drawn from the words "bona fide," it is that in the
case of a municipal office in addition to other qualifications an actual residence in the municipality for at least
one year of a candidate for municipal office would be sufficient to make him eligible for such office; whereas
in the case of a provincial office in addition to other qualifications a residence in good faith in the province for
not less than one year of a candidate for provincial office, although he may not actually be present therein,
would be enough to make him eligible for such office. But this would be a hair-splitting differentiation. The
residence requirement for elective provincial and municipal officials is the same; and the rule that a previous
registration as voter of a municipal mayor-elect in a municipality other than the one in which he is elected is
no ground for disqualifying him because of alleged loss or abandonment of his residence of origin in the
municipality where he is elected, applies with equal force to elective provincial officials.

The case of Tanseco vs. Arteche, 57 Phil., 227, upon which the petitioner relies cannot be invoked as authority
to reverse the judgment under review, because apart from a long stay in Manila, where he had engaged in the
practice of his profession, Arteche, elected provincial governor of Samar, admitted in a brief submitted by his
law firm in his behalf in a criminal case where he was charged with serious slander, that he had been a bona
fide resident of the City of Manila years before he ran for the office of Governor. This fact is stated twice in the
decision of this Court on p. 234, supra. So, he admitted that he had lost and abandoned his residence of origin
in the province of Samar and acquired another in Manila. The abandonment or loss of his residence of origin
was not denied but admitted but the only point decided was that he did not reacquire his residence of origin.
Two Justices dissented and were of the opinion that he had not lost his residence of origin in the province of
Samar. In the case before us there is no such admission.

In Nuval vs. Guray, 52 Phil., 645, referred to in Tanseco vs. Arteche, supra, there was no question as to the
intention of protestee Guray to change his residence from Luna to Balaoan, and the only point decided was
that he did not reacquire his residence of origin in Luna one year before his election to the office of municipal
president in the latter municipality.

Upon the authority of cases decided by this Court, we are of the opinion and so hold that on the evidence
found by the Court of Appeals, the respondent has not lost his residence of origin.

The judgment under review is affirmed, without pronouncement as to costs.


G.R. No. 119976 September 18, 1995 When respondent (petitioner herein) announced that she was intending to register as a voter in Tacloban City
and run for Congress in the First District of Leyte, petitioner immediately opposed her intended registration
by writing a letter stating that "she is not a resident of said city but of Barangay Olot, Tolosa, Leyte. After
IMELDA ROMUALDEZ-MARCOS, petitioner,
respondent had registered as a voter in Tolosa following completion of her six month actual residence therein,
vs.
petitioner filed a petition with the COMELEC to transfer the town of Tolosa from the First District to the
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS and CIRILO ROY MONTEJO, respondents.
Second District and pursued such a move up to the Supreme Court, his purpose being to remove respondent
as petitioner's opponent in the congressional election in the First District. He also filed a bill, along with other
KAPUNAN, J.: Leyte Congressmen, seeking the creation of another legislative district to remove the town of Tolosa out of the
First District, to achieve his purpose. However, such bill did not pass the Senate. Having failed on such moves,
petitioner now filed the instant petition for the same objective, as it is obvious that he is afraid to submit
A constitutional provision should be construed as to give it effective operation and suppress the mischief at
along with respondent for the judgment and verdict of the electorate of the First District of Leyte in an honest,
which it is aimed. 1 The 1987 Constitution mandates that an aspirant for election to the House of
orderly, peaceful, free and clean elections on May 8, 1995. 12
Representatives be "a registered voter in the district in which he shall be elected, and a resident thereof for a
period of not less than one year immediately preceding the election." 2 The mischief which this provision
reproduced verbatim from the 1973 Constitution seeks to prevent is the possibility of a "stranger or On April 24, 1995, the Second Division of the Commission on Elections (COMELEC), by a vote of 2 to 1, 13 came
newcomer unacquainted with the conditions and needs of a community and not identified with the latter, up with a Resolution 1) finding private respondent's Petition for Disqualification in SPA 95-009 meritorious;
from an elective office to serve that community." 3 2) striking off petitioner's Corrected/Amended Certificate of Candidacy of March 31, 1995; and 3) canceling
her original Certificate of Candidacy. 14 Dealing with two primary issues, namely, the validity of amending the
original Certificate of Candidacy after the lapse of the deadline for filing certificates of candidacy, and
Petitioner Imelda Romualdez-Marcos filed her Certificate of Candidacy for the position of Representative of
petitioner's compliance with the one year residency requirement, the Second Division held:
the First District of Leyte with the Provincial Election Supervisor on March 8, 1995, providing the following
information in item no. 8: 4
Respondent raised the affirmative defense in her Answer that the printed word "Seven" (months) was a result
of an "honest misinterpretation or honest mistake" on her part and, therefore, an amendment should
RESIDENCE IN THE CONSTITUENCY WHERE I SEEK TO BE ELECTED IMMEDIATELY PRECEDING THE
subsequently be allowed. She averred that she thought that what was asked was her "actual and physical"
ELECTION: __________ Years and seven Months.
presence in Tolosa and not residence of origin or domicile in the First Legislative District, to which she could
have responded "since childhood." In an accompanying affidavit, she stated that her domicile is Tacloban City,
On March 23, 1995, private respondent Cirilo Roy Montejo, the incumbent Representative of the First District a component of the First District, to which she always intended to return whenever absent and which she has
of Leyte and a candidate for the same position, filed a "Petition for Cancellation and Disqualification" 5 with never abandoned. Furthermore, in her memorandum, she tried to discredit petitioner's theory of
the Commission on Elections alleging that petitioner did not meet the constitutional requirement for disqualification by alleging that she has been a resident of the First Legislative District of Leyte since
residency. In his petition, private respondent contended that Mrs. Marcos lacked the Constitution's one year childhood, although she only became a resident of the Municipality of Tolosa for seven months. She asserts
residency requirement for candidates for the House of Representatives on the evidence of declarations made that she has always been a resident of Tacloban City, a component of the First District, before coming to the
by her in Voter Registration Record 94-No. 3349772 6and in her Certificate of Candidacy. He prayed that "an Municipality of Tolosa.
order be issued declaring (petitioner) disqualified and canceling the certificate of candidacy." 7
Along this point, it is interesting to note that prior to her registration in Tolosa, respondent announced that
On March 29, 1995, petitioner filed an Amended/Corrected Certificate of Candidacy, changing the entry she would be registering in Tacloban City so that she can be a candidate for the District. However, this
"seven" months to "since childhood" in item no. 8 of the amended certificate. 8 On the same day, the Provincial intention was rebuffed when petitioner wrote the Election Officer of Tacloban not to allow respondent since
Election Supervisor of Leyte informed petitioner that: she is a resident of Tolosa and not Tacloban. She never disputed this claim and instead implicitly acceded to it
by registering in Tolosa.
[T]his office cannot receive or accept the aforementioned Certificate of Candidacy on the ground that it is filed
out of time, the deadline for the filing of the same having already lapsed on March 20, 1995. The This incident belies respondent's claim of "honest misinterpretation or honest mistake." Besides, the
Corrected/Amended Certificate of Candidacy should have been filed on or before the March 20, 1995 Certificate of Candidacy only asks for RESIDENCE. Since on the basis of her Answer, she was quite aware of
deadline. 9 "residence of origin" which she interprets to be Tacloban City, it is curious why she did not cite Tacloban City
in her Certificate of Candidacy. Her explanation that she thought what was asked was her actual and physical
presence in Tolosa is not easy to believe because there is none in the question that insinuates about Tolosa. In
Consequently, petitioner filed the Amended/Corrected Certificate of Candidacy with the COMELEC's Head
fact, item no. 8 in the Certificate of Candidacy speaks clearly of "Residency in the CONSTITUENCY where I seek
Office in Intramuros, Manila on
to be elected immediately preceding the election." Thus, the explanation of respondent fails to be persuasive.
March 31, 1995. Her Answer to private respondent's petition in SPA No. 95-009 was likewise filed with the
head office on the same day. In said Answer, petitioner averred that the entry of the word "seven" in her
original Certificate of Candidacy was the result of an "honest misinterpretation" 10 which she sought to rectify From the foregoing, respondent's defense of an honest mistake or misinterpretation, therefore, is devoid of
by adding the words "since childhood" in her Amended/Corrected Certificate of Candidacy and that "she has merit.
always maintained Tacloban City as her domicile or residence. 11 Impugning respondent's motive in filing the
petition seeking her disqualification, she noted that:
To further buttress respondent's contention that an amendment may be made, she cited the case of Alialy
v. COMELEC (2 SCRA 957). The reliance of respondent on the case of Alialy is misplaced. The case only applies
to the "inconsequential deviations which cannot affect the result of the election, or deviations from provisions Tolosa, Leyte. These facts manifest that she could not have been a resident of Tacloban City since childhood up
intended primarily to secure timely and orderly conduct of elections." The Supreme Court in that case to the time she filed her certificate of candidacy because she became a resident of many places, including
considered the amendment only as a matter of form. But in the instant case, the amendment cannot be Metro Manila. This debunks her claim that prior to her residence in Tolosa, Leyte, she was a resident of the
considered as a matter of form or an inconsequential deviation. The change in the number of years of First Legislative District of Leyte since childhood.
residence in the place where respondent seeks to be elected is a substantial matter which determines her
qualification as a candidacy, specially those intended to suppress, accurate material representation in the
In this case, respondent's conduct reveals her lack of intention to make Tacloban her domicile. She registered
original certificate which adversely affects the filer. To admit the amended certificate is to condone the evils
as a voter in different places and on several occasions declared that she was a resident of Manila. Although she
brought by the shifting minds of manipulating candidate, of the detriment of the integrity of the election.
spent her school days in Tacloban, she is considered to have abandoned such place when she chose to stay
and reside in other different places. In the case of Romualdez vs. RTC (226 SCRA 408) the Court explained how
Moreover, to allow respondent to change the seven (7) month period of her residency in order to prolong it by one acquires a new domicile by choice. There must concur: (1) residence or bodily presence in the new
claiming it was "since childhood" is to allow an untruthfulness to be committed before this Commission. The locality; (2) intention to remain there; and (3) intention to abandon the old domicile. In other words there
arithmetical accuracy of the 7 months residency the respondent indicated in her certificate of candidacy can must basically be animus manendi with animus non revertendi. When respondent chose to stay in Ilocos and
be gleaned from her entry in her Voter's Registration Record accomplished on January 28, 1995 which reflects later on in Manila, coupled with her intention to stay there by registering as a voter there and expressly
that she is a resident of Brgy. Olot, Tolosa, Leyte for 6 months at the time of the said registration (Annex A, declaring that she is a resident of that place, she is deemed to have abandoned Tacloban City, where she spent
Petition). Said accuracy is further buttressed by her letter to the election officer of San Juan, Metro Manila, her childhood and school days, as her place of domicile.
dated August 24, 1994, requesting for the cancellation of her registration in the Permanent List of Voters
thereat so that she can be re-registered or transferred to Brgy. Olot, Tolosa, Leyte. The dates of these three (3)
Pure intention to reside in that place is not sufficient, there must likewise be conduct indicative of such
different documents show the respondent's consistent conviction that she has transferred her residence to
intention. Respondent's statements to the effect that she has always intended to return to Tacloban, without
Olot, Tolosa, Leyte from Metro Manila only for such limited period of time, starting in the last week of August
the accompanying conduct to prove that intention, is not conclusive of her choice of residence. Respondent
1994 which on March 8, 1995 will only sum up to 7 months. The Commission, therefore, cannot be persuaded
has not presented any evidence to show that her conduct, one year prior the election, showed intention to
to believe in the respondent's contention that it was an error.
reside in Tacloban. Worse, what was evident was that prior to her residence in Tolosa, she had been a resident
of Manila.
xxx xxx xxx
It is evident from these circumstances that she was not a resident of the First District of Leyte "since
Based on these reasons the Amended/Corrected Certificate of Candidacy cannot be admitted by this childhood."
Commission.
To further support the assertion that she could have not been a resident of the First District of Leyte for more
xxx xxx xxx than one year, petitioner correctly pointed out that on January 28, 1995 respondent registered as a voter at
precinct No. 18-A of Olot, Tolosa, Leyte. In doing so, she placed in her Voter Registration Record that she
resided in the municipality of Tolosa for a period of six months. This may be inconsequential as argued by the
Anent the second issue, and based on the foregoing discussion, it is clear that respondent has not complied
respondent since it refers only to her residence in Tolosa, Leyte. But her failure to prove that she was a
with the one year residency requirement of the Constitution.
resident of the First District of Leyte prior to her residence in Tolosa leaves nothing but a convincing proof
that she had been a resident of the district for six months only. 15
In election cases, the term "residence" has always been considered as synonymous with "domicile" which
imports not only the intention to reside in a fixed place but also personal presence in-that place, coupled with
In a Resolution promulgated a day before the May 8, 1995 elections, the COMELEC en banc denied petitioner's
conduct indicative of such intention. Domicile denotes a fixed permanent residence to which when absent for
Motion for Reconsideration 16 of the April 24, 1995 Resolution declaring her not qualified to run for the
business or pleasure, or for like reasons, one intends to return. (Perfecto Faypon vs. Eliseo Quirino, 96 Phil
position of Member of the House of Representatives for the First Legislative District of Leyte. 17 The
294; Romualdez vs. RTC-Tacloban, 226 SCRA 408). In respondent's case, when she returned to the Philippines
Resolution tersely stated:
in 1991, the residence she chose was not Tacloban but San Juan, Metro Manila. Thus, her animus revertendi is
pointed to Metro Manila and not Tacloban.
After deliberating on the Motion for Reconsideration, the Commission RESOLVED to DENY it, no new
substantial matters having been raised therein to warrant re-examination of the resolution granting the
This Division is aware that her claim that she has been a resident of the First District since childhood is
petition for disqualification. 18
nothing more than to give her a color of qualification where she is otherwise constitutionally disqualified. It
cannot hold ground in the face of the facts admitted by the respondent in her affidavit. Except for the time that
she studied and worked for some years after graduation in Tacloban City, she continuously lived in Manila. In On May 11, 1995, the COMELEC issued a Resolution allowing petitioner's proclamation should the results of
1959, after her husband was elected Senator, she lived and resided in San Juan, Metro Manila where she was a the canvass show that she obtained the highest number of votes in the congressional elections in the First
registered voter. In 1965, she lived in San Miguel, Manila where she was again a registered voter. In 1978, she District of Leyte. On the same day, however, the COMELEC reversed itself and issued a second Resolution
served as member of the Batasang Pambansa as the representative of the City of Manila and later on served as directing that the proclamation of petitioner be suspended in the event that she obtains the highest number of
the Governor of Metro Manila. She could not have served these positions if she had not been a resident of the votes. 19
City of Manila. Furthermore, when she filed her certificate of candidacy for the office of the President in 1992,
she claimed to be a resident of San Juan, Metro Manila. As a matter of fact on August 24, 1994, respondent
In a Supplemental Petition dated 25 May 1995, petitioner averred that she was the overwhelming winner of
wrote a letter with the election officer of San Juan, Metro Manila requesting for the cancellation of her
the elections for the congressional seat in the First District of Leyte held May 8, 1995 based on the canvass
registration in the permanent list of voters that she may be re-registered or transferred to Barangay Olot,
completed by the Provincial Board of Canvassers on May 14, 1995. Petitioner alleged that the canvass showed If a person's intent be to remain, it becomes his domicile; if his intent is to leave as soon as his purpose is
that she obtained a total of 70,471 votes compared to the 36,833 votes received by Respondent Montejo. A established it is residence. 22 It is thus, quite perfectly normal for an individual to have different residences in
copy of said Certificate of Canvass was annexed to the Supplemental Petition. various places. However, a person can only have a single domicile, unless, for various reasons, he successfully
abandons his domicile in favor of another domicile of choice. In Uytengsu vs. Republic, 23 we laid this
distinction quite clearly:
On account of the Resolutions disqualifying petitioner from running for the congressional seat of the First
District of Leyte and the public respondent's Resolution suspending her proclamation, petitioner comes to
this court for relief. There is a difference between domicile and residence. "Residence" is used to indicate a place of abode,
whether permanent or temporary; "domicile" denotes a fixed permanent residence to which, when absent,
one has the intention of returning. A man may have a residence in one place and a domicile in another.
Petitioner raises several issues in her Original and Supplemental Petitions. The principal issues may be
Residence is not domicile, but domicile is residence coupled with the intention to remain for an unlimited
classified into two general areas:
time. A man can have but one domicile for the same purpose at any time, but he may have numerous places of
residence. His place of residence is generally his place of domicile, but it is not by any means necessarily so
I. The issue of Petitioner's qualifications since no length of residence without intention of remaining will constitute domicile.

Whether or not petitioner was a resident, for election purposes, of the First District of Leyte for a period of For political purposes the concepts of residence and domicile are dictated by the peculiar criteria of political
one year at the time of the May 9, 1995 elections. laws. As these concepts have evolved in our election law, what has clearly and unequivocally emerged is the
fact that residence for election purposes is used synonymously with domicile.
II. The Jurisdictional Issue
In Nuval vs. Guray, 24 the Court held that "the term residence. . . is synonymous with domicile which imports
not only intention to reside in a fixed place, but also personal presence in that place, coupled with conduct
a) Prior to the elections
indicative of such intention." 25 Larena vs. Teves 26 reiterated the same doctrine in a case involving the
qualifications of the respondent therein to the post of Municipal President of Dumaguete, Negros
Whether or not the COMELEC properly exercised its jurisdiction in disqualifying petitioner outside the period Oriental. Faypon vs. Quirino, 27 held that the absence from residence to pursue studies or practice a profession
mandated by the Omnibus Election Code for disqualification cases under Article 78 of the said Code. or registration as a voter other than in the place where one is elected does not constitute loss of
residence. 28 So settled is the concept (of domicile) in our election law that in these and other election law
cases, this Court has stated that the mere absence of an individual from his permanent residence without the
b) After the Elections
intention to abandon it does not result in a loss or change of domicile.

Whether or not the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal assumed exclusive jurisdiction over the
The deliberations of the 1987 Constitution on the residence qualification for certain elective positions have
question of petitioner's qualifications after the May 8, 1995 elections.
placed beyond doubt the principle that when the Constitution speaks of "residence" in election law, it actually
means only "domicile" to wit:
I. Petitioner's qualification
Mr. Nolledo: With respect to Section 5, I remember that in the 1971 Constitutional Convention, there was an
A perusal of the Resolution of the COMELEC's Second Division reveals a startling confusion in the application attempt to require residence in the place not less than one year immediately preceding the day of the
of settled concepts of "Domicile" and "Residence" in election law. While the COMELEC seems to be in elections. So my question is: What is the Committee's concept of residence of a candidate for the legislature?
agreement with the general proposition that for the purposes of election law, residence is synonymous with Is it actual residence or is it the concept of domicile or constructive residence?
domicile, the Resolution reveals a tendency to substitute or mistake the concept of domicile for actual
residence, a conception not intended for the purpose of determining a candidate's qualifications for election
Mr. Davide: Madame President, insofar as the regular members of the National Assembly are concerned, the
to the House of Representatives as required by the 1987 Constitution. As it were, residence, for the purpose of
proposed section merely provides, among others, "and a resident thereof", that is, in the district for a period
meeting the qualification for an elective position, has a settled meaning in our jurisdiction.
of not less than one year preceding the day of the election. This was in effect lifted from the 1973 Constitution,
the interpretation given to it was domicile. 29
Article 50 of the Civil Code decrees that "[f]or the exercise of civil rights and the fulfillment of civil obligations,
the domicile of natural persons is their place of habitual residence." In Ong vs. Republic 20 this court took the
xxx xxx xxx
concept of domicile to mean an individual's "permanent home", "a place to which, whenever absent for
business or for pleasure, one intends to return, and depends on facts and circumstances in the sense that they
disclose intent." 21 Based on the foregoing, domicile includes the twin elements of "the fact of residing or Mrs. Rosario Braid: The next question is on Section 7, page 2. I think Commissioner Nolledo has raised the
physical presence in a fixed place" and animus manendi, or the intention of returning there permanently. same point that "resident" has been interpreted at times as a matter of intention rather than actual residence.

Residence, in its ordinary conception, implies the factual relationship of an individual to a certain place. It is Mr. De los Reyes: Domicile.
the physical presence of a person in a given area, community or country. The essential distinction between
residence and domicile in law is that residence involves the intent to leave when the purpose for which the
resident has taken up his abode ends. One may seek a place for purposes such as pleasure, business, or health.
Ms. Rosario Braid: Yes, So, would the gentleman consider at the proper time to go back to actual residence We now proceed to the matter of petitioner's domicile.
rather than mere intention to reside?
In support of its asseveration that petitioner's domicile could not possibly be in the First District of Leyte, the
Mr. De los Reyes: But we might encounter some difficulty especially considering that a provision in the Second Division of the COMELEC, in its assailed Resolution of April 24,1995 maintains that "except for the
Constitution in the Article on Suffrage says that Filipinos living abroad may vote as enacted by law. So, we time when (petitioner) studied and worked for some years after graduation in Tacloban City, she continuously
have to stick to the original concept that it should be by domicile and not physical residence. 30 lived in Manila." The Resolution additionally cites certain facts as indicative of the fact that petitioner's
domicile ought to be any place where she lived in the last few decades except Tacloban, Leyte. First, according
to the Resolution, petitioner, in 1959, resided in San Juan, Metro Manila where she was also registered voter.
In Co vs. Electoral Tribunal of the House of Representatives, 31 this Court concluded that the framers of the 1987
Then, in 1965, following the election of her husband to the Philippine presidency, she lived in San Miguel,
Constitution obviously adhered to the definition given to the term residence in election law, regarding it as
Manila where she as a voter. In 1978 and thereafter, she served as a member of the Batasang Pambansa and
having the same meaning as domicile. 32
Governor of Metro Manila. "She could not, have served these positions if she had not been a resident of Metro
Manila," the COMELEC stressed. Here is where the confusion lies.
In the light of the principles just discussed, has petitioner Imelda Romualdez Marcos satisfied the residency
requirement mandated by Article VI, Sec. 6 of the 1987 Constitution? Of what significance is the questioned
We have stated, many times in the past, that an individual does not lose his domicile even if he has lived and
entry in petitioner's Certificate of Candidacy stating her residence in the First Legislative District of Leyte as
maintained residences in different places. Residence, it bears repeating, implies a factual relationship to a
seven (7) months?
given place for various purposes. The absence from legal residence or domicile to pursue a profession, to
study or to do other things of a temporary or semi-permanent nature does not constitute loss of residence.
It is the fact of residence, not a statement in a certificate of candidacy which ought to be decisive in Thus, the assertion by the COMELEC that "she could not have been a resident of Tacloban City since childhood
determining whether or not and individual has satisfied the constitution's residency qualification up to the time she filed her certificate of candidacy because she became a resident of many places" flies in the
requirement. The said statement becomes material only when there is or appears to be a deliberate attempt face of settled jurisprudence in which this Court carefully made distinctions between (actual) residence and
to mislead, misinform, or hide a fact which would otherwise render a candidate ineligible. It would be plainly domicile for election law purposes. In Larena vs. Teves, 33 supra, we stressed:
ridiculous for a candidate to deliberately and knowingly make a statement in a certificate of candidacy which
would lead to his or her disqualification.
[T]his court is of the opinion and so holds that a person who has his own house wherein he lives with his
family in a municipality without having ever had the intention of abandoning it, and without having lived
It stands to reason therefore, that petitioner merely committed an honest mistake in jotting the word "seven" either alone or with his family in another municipality, has his residence in the former municipality,
in the space provided for the residency qualification requirement. The circumstances leading to her filing the notwithstanding his having registered as an elector in the other municipality in question and having been a
questioned entry obviously resulted in the subsequent confusion which prompted petitioner to write down candidate for various insular and provincial positions, stating every time that he is a resident of the latter
the period of her actual stay in Tolosa, Leyte instead of her period of residence in the First district, which was municipality.
"since childhood" in the space provided. These circumstances and events are amply detailed in the
COMELEC's Second Division's questioned resolution, albeit with a different interpretation. For instance, when
More significantly, in Faypon vs. Quirino, 34 We explained that:
herein petitioner announced that she would be registering in Tacloban City to make her eligible to run in the
First District, private respondent Montejo opposed the same, claiming that petitioner was a resident of Tolosa,
not Tacloban City. Petitioner then registered in her place of actual residence in the First District, which is A citizen may leave the place of his birth to look for "greener pastures," as the saying goes, to improve his lot,
Tolosa, Leyte, a fact which she subsequently noted down in her Certificate of Candidacy. A close look at said and that, of course includes study in other places, practice of his avocation, or engaging in business. When an
certificate would reveal the possible source of the confusion: the entry for residence (Item No. 7) is followed election is to be held, the citizen who left his birthplace to improve his lot may desire to return to his native
immediately by the entry for residence in the constituency where a candidate seeks election thus: town to cast his ballot but for professional or business reasons, or for any other reason, he may not absent
himself from his professional or business activities; so there he registers himself as voter as he has the
qualifications to be one and is not willing to give up or lose the opportunity to choose the officials who are to
7. RESIDENCE (complete Address): Brgy. Olot, Tolosa, Leyte
run the government especially in national elections. Despite such registration, the animus revertendi to his
home, to his domicile or residence of origin has not forsaken him. This may be the explanation why the
POST OFFICE ADDRESS FOR ELECTION PURPOSES: Brgy. Olot, Tolosa, Leyte registration of a voter in a place other than his residence of origin has not been deemed sufficient to
constitute abandonment or loss of such residence. It finds justification in the natural desire and longing of
every person to return to his place of birth. This strong feeling of attachment to the place of one's birth must
8. RESIDENCE IN THE CONSTITUENCY WHERE I SEEK TO
be overcome by positive proof of abandonment for another.
BE ELECTED IMMEDIATELY PRECEDING THE ELECTION:_________ Years and Seven Months.

From the foregoing, it can be concluded that in its above-cited statements supporting its proposition that
Having been forced by private respondent to register in her place of actual residence in Leyte instead of
petitioner was ineligible to run for the position of Representative of the First District of Leyte, the COMELEC
petitioner's claimed domicile, it appears that petitioner had jotted down her period of stay in her legal
was obviously referring to petitioner's various places of (actual) residence, not her domicile. In doing so, it not
residence or domicile. The juxtaposition of entries in Item 7 and Item 8 the first requiring actual residence
only ignored settled jurisprudence on residence in election law and the deliberations of the constitutional
and the second requiring domicile coupled with the circumstances surrounding petitioner's registration as
commission but also the provisions of the Omnibus Election Code (B.P. 881). 35
a voter in Tolosa obviously led to her writing down an unintended entry for which she could be disqualified.
This honest mistake should not, however, be allowed to negate the fact of residence in the First District if such
fact were established by means more convincing than a mere entry on a piece of paper. What is undeniable, however, are the following set of facts which establish the fact of petitioner's domicile,
which we lift verbatim from the COMELEC's Second Division's assailed Resolution: 36
In or about 1938 when respondent was a little over 8 years old, she established her domicile in Tacloban, In the absence of clear and positive proof based on these criteria, the residence of origin should be deemed to
Leyte (Tacloban City). She studied in the Holy Infant Academy in Tacloban from 1938 to 1949 when she continue. Only with evidence showing concurrence of all three requirements can the presumption of
graduated from high school. She pursued her college studies in St. Paul's College, now Divine Word University continuity or residence be rebutted, for a change of residence requires an actual and deliberate abandonment,
in Tacloban, where she earned her degree in Education. Thereafter, she taught in the Leyte Chinese School, and one cannot have two legal residences at the same time. 38 In the case at bench, the evidence adduced by
still in Tacloban City. In 1952 she went to Manila to work with her cousin, the late speaker Daniel Z. private respondent plainly lacks the degree of persuasiveness required to convince this court that an
Romualdez in his office in the House of Representatives. In 1954, she married ex-President Ferdinand E. abandonment of domicile of origin in favor of a domicile of choice indeed occurred. To effect an abandonment
Marcos when he was still a congressman of Ilocos Norte and registered there as a voter. When her husband requires the voluntary act of relinquishing petitioner's former domicile with an intent to supplant the former
was elected Senator of the Republic in 1959, she and her husband lived together in San Juan, Rizal where she domicile with one of her own choosing (domicilium voluntarium).
registered as a voter. In 1965, when her husband was elected President of the Republic of the Philippines, she
lived with him in Malacanang Palace and registered as a voter in San Miguel, Manila.
In this connection, it cannot be correctly argued that petitioner lost her domicile of origin by operation of law
as a result of her marriage to the late President Ferdinand E. Marcos in 1952. For there is a clearly established
[I]n February 1986 (she claimed that) she and her family were abducted and kidnapped to Honolulu, Hawaii. distinction between the Civil Code concepts of "domicile" and "residence." 39 The presumption that the wife
In November 1991, she came home to Manila. In 1992, respondent ran for election as President of the automatically gains the husband's domicile by operation of law upon marriage cannot be inferred from the
Philippines and filed her Certificate of Candidacy wherein she indicated that she is a resident and registered use of the term "residence" in Article 110 of the Civil Code because the Civil Code is one area where the two
voter of San Juan, Metro Manila. concepts are well delineated. Dr. Arturo Tolentino, writing on this specific area explains:

Applying the principles discussed to the facts found by COMELEC, what is inescapable is that petitioner held In the Civil Code, there is an obvious difference between domicile and residence. Both terms imply relations
various residences for different purposes during the last four decades. None of these purposes unequivocally between a person and a place; but in residence, the relation is one of fact while in domicile it is legal or
point to an intention to abandon her domicile of origin in Tacloban, Leyte. Moreover, while petitioner was juridical, independent of the necessity of physical presence. 40
born in Manila, as a minor she naturally followed the domicile of her parents. She grew up in Tacloban,
reached her adulthood there and eventually established residence in different parts of the country for various
Article 110 of the Civil Code provides:
reasons. Even during her husband's presidency, at the height of the Marcos Regime's powers, petitioner kept
her close ties to her domicile of origin by establishing residences in Tacloban, celebrating her birthdays and
other important personal milestones in her home province, instituting well-publicized projects for the benefit Art. 110. The husband shall fix the residence of the family. But the court may exempt the wife from living
of her province and hometown, and establishing a political power base where her siblings and close relatives with the husband if he should live abroad unless in the service of the Republic.
held positions of power either through the ballot or by appointment, always with either her influence or
consent. These well-publicized ties to her domicile of origin are part of the history and lore of the quarter
A survey of jurisprudence relating to Article 110 or to the concepts of domicile or residence as they affect the
century of Marcos power in our country. Either they were entirely ignored in the COMELEC'S Resolutions, or
female spouse upon marriage yields nothing which would suggest that the female spouse automatically loses
the majority of the COMELEC did not know what the rest of the country always knew: the fact of petitioner's
her domicile of origin in favor of the husband's choice of residence upon marriage.
domicile in Tacloban, Leyte.

Article 110 is a virtual restatement of Article 58 of the Spanish Civil Code of 1889 which states:
Private respondent in his Comment, contends that Tacloban was not petitioner's domicile of origin because
she did not live there until she was eight years old. He avers that after leaving the place in 1952, she
"abandoned her residency (sic) therein for many years and . . . (could not) re-establish her domicile in said La mujer esta obligada a seguir a su marido donde quiera que fije su residencia. Los Tribunales, sin embargo,
place by merely expressing her intention to live there again." We do not agree. podran con justa causa eximirla de esta obligacion cuando el marido transende su residencia a ultramar o' a
pais extranjero.
First, minor follows the domicile of his parents. As domicile, once acquired is retained until a new one is
gained, it follows that in spite of the fact of petitioner's being born in Manila, Tacloban, Leyte was her domicile Note the use of the phrase "donde quiera su fije de residencia" in the aforequoted article, which means
of origin by operation of law. This domicile was not established only when her father brought his family back wherever (the husband) wishes to establish residence. This part of the article clearly contemplates only actual
to Leyte contrary to private respondent's averments. residence because it refers to a positive act of fixing a family home or residence. Moreover, this interpretation
is further strengthened by the phrase "cuando el marido translade su residencia" in the same provision which
means, "when the husband shall transfer his residence," referring to another positive act of relocating the
Second, domicile of origin is not easily lost. To successfully effect a change of domicile, one must
family to another home or place of actual residence. The article obviously cannot be understood to refer to
demonstrate: 37
domicile which is a fixed,
fairly-permanent concept when it plainly connotes the possibility of transferring from one place to another
1. An actual removal or an actual change of domicile; not only once, but as often as the husband may deem fit to move his family, a circumstance more consistent
with the concept of actual residence.
2. A bona fide intention of abandoning the former place of residence and establishing a new one; and
The right of the husband to fix the actual residence is in harmony with the intention of the law to strengthen
and unify the family, recognizing the fact that the husband and the wife bring into the marriage different
3. Acts which correspond with the purpose.
domiciles (of origin). This difference could, for the sake of family unity, be reconciled only by allowing the
husband to fix a single place of actual residence.
Very significantly, Article 110 of the Civil Code is found under Title V under the heading: RIGHTS AND process of contempt in case of disobedience, requiring the delinquent party to live with the other and render
OBLIGATIONS BETWEEN HUSBAND AND WIFE. Immediately preceding Article 110 is Article 109 which conjugal rights. Yet this practice was sometimes criticized even by the judges who felt bound to enforce such
obliges the husband and wife to live together, thus: orders, and in Weldon v. Weldon (9 P.D. 52), decided in 1883, Sir James Hannen, President in the Probate,
Divorce and Admiralty Division of the High Court of Justice, expressed his regret that the English law on the
subject was not the same as that which prevailed in Scotland, where a decree of adherence, equivalent to the
Art. 109. The husband and wife are obligated to live together, observe mutual respect and fidelity and
decree for the restitution of conjugal rights in England, could be obtained by the injured spouse, but could not
render mutual help and support.
be enforced by imprisonment. Accordingly, in obedience to the growing sentiment against the practice, the
Matrimonial Causes Act (1884) abolished the remedy of imprisonment; though a decree for the restitution of
The duty to live together can only be fulfilled if the husband and wife are physically together. This takes into conjugal rights can still be procured, and in case of disobedience may serve in appropriate cases as the basis
account the situations where the couple has many residences (as in the case of the petitioner). If the husband of an order for the periodical payment of a stipend in the character of alimony.
has to stay in or transfer to any one of their residences, the wife should necessarily be with him in order that
they may "live together." Hence, it is illogical to conclude that Art. 110 refers to "domicile" and not to
In the voluminous jurisprudence of the United States, only one court, so far as we can discover, has ever
"residence." Otherwise, we shall be faced with a situation where the wife is left in the domicile while the
attempted to make a preemptory order requiring one of the spouses to live with the other; and that was in a
husband, for professional or other reasons, stays in one of their (various) residences. As Dr. Tolentino further
case where a wife was ordered to follow and live with her husband, who had changed his domicile to the City
explains:
of New Orleans. The decision referred to (Bahn v. Darby, 36 La. Ann., 70) was based on a provision of the Civil
Code of Louisiana similar to article 56 of the Spanish Civil Code. It was decided many years ago, and the
Residence and Domicile Whether the word "residence" as used with reference to particular matters is doctrine evidently has not been fruitful even in the State of Louisiana. In other states of the American Union
synonymous with "domicile" is a question of some difficulty, and the ultimate decision must be made from a the idea of enforcing cohabitation by process of contempt is rejected. (21 Cyc., 1148).
consideration of the purpose and intent with which the word is used. Sometimes they are used synonymously,
at other times they are distinguished from one another.
In a decision of January 2, 1909, the Supreme Court of Spain appears to have affirmed an order of the
Audiencia Territorial de Valladolid requiring a wife to return to the marital domicile, and in the alternative,
xxx xxx xxx upon her failure to do so, to make a particular disposition of certain money and effects then in her possession
and to deliver to her husband, as administrator of the ganancial property, all income, rents, and interest which
might accrue to her from the property which she had brought to the marriage. (113 Jur. Civ., pp. 1, 11) But it
Residence in the civil law is a material fact, referring to the physical presence of a person in a place. A person
does not appear that this order for the return of the wife to the marital domicile was sanctioned by any other
can have two or more residences, such as a country residence and a city residence. Residence is acquired by
penalty than the consequences that would be visited upon her in respect to the use and control of her
living in place; on the other hand, domicile can exist without actually living in the place. The important thing
property; and it does not appear that her disobedience to that order would necessarily have been followed by
for domicile is that, once residence has been established in one place, there be an intention to stay there
imprisonment for contempt.
permanently, even if residence is also established in some other
place. 41
Parenthetically when Petitioner was married to then Congressman Marcos, in 1954, petitioner was obliged
by virtue of Article 110 of the Civil Code to follow her husband's actual place of residence fixed by him. The
In fact, even the matter of a common residence between the husband and the wife during the marriage is not
problem here is that at that time, Mr. Marcos had several places of residence, among which were San Juan,
an iron-clad principle; In cases applying the Civil Code on the question of a common matrimonial residence,
Rizal and Batac, Ilocos Norte. There is no showing which of these places Mr. Marcos did fix as his family's
our jurisprudence has recognized certain situations 42 where the spouses could not be compelled to live with
residence. But assuming that Mr. Marcos had fixed any of these places as the conjugal residence, what
each other such that the wife is either allowed to maintain a residence different from that of her husband or,
petitioner gained upon marriage was actual residence. She did not lose her domicile of origin.
for obviously practical reasons, revert to her original domicile (apart from being allowed to opt for a new
one). In De la Vina vs. Villareal 43 this Court held that "[a] married woman may acquire a residence or domicile
separate from that of her husband during the existence of the marriage where the husband has given cause On the other hand, the common law concept of "matrimonial domicile" appears to have been incorporated, as
for divorce." 44 Note that the Court allowed the wife either to obtain new residence or to choose a new a result of our jurisprudential experiences after the drafting of the Civil Code of 1950, into the New Family
domicile in such an event. In instances where the wife actually opts, .under the Civil Code, to live separately Code. To underscore the difference between the intentions of the Civil Code and the Family Code drafters, the
from her husband either by taking new residence or reverting to her domicile of origin, the Court has held term residence has been supplanted by the term domicile in an entirely new provision (Art. 69) distinctly
that the wife could not be compelled to live with her husband on pain of contempt. In Arroyo vs. Vasques de different in meaning and spirit from that found in Article 110. The provision recognizes revolutionary changes
Arroyo 45 the Court held that: in the concept of women's rights in the intervening years by making the choice of domicile a product of
mutual agreement between the spouses. 46
Upon examination of the authorities, we are convinced that it is not within the province of the courts of this
country to attempt to compel one of the spouses to cohabit with, and render conjugal rights to, the other. Of Without as much belaboring the point, the term residence may mean one thing in civil law (or under the Civil
course where the property rights of one of the pair are invaded, an action for restitution of such rights can be Code) and quite another thing in political law. What stands clear is that insofar as the Civil Code is concerned-
maintained. But we are disinclined to sanction the doctrine that an order, enforcible ( sic) by process of affecting the rights and obligations of husband and wife the term residence should only be interpreted to
contempt, may be entered to compel the restitution of the purely personal right of consortium. At best such an mean "actual residence." The inescapable conclusion derived from this unambiguous civil law delineation
order can be effective for no other purpose than to compel the spouses to live under the same roof; and he therefore, is that when petitioner married the former President in 1954, she kept her domicile of origin and
experience of those countries where the courts of justice have assumed to compel the cohabitation of married merely gained a new home, not a domicilium necessarium.
people shows that the policy of the practice is extremely questionable. Thus in England, formerly the
Ecclesiastical Court entertained suits for the restitution of conjugal rights at the instance of either husband or
wife; and if the facts were found to warrant it, that court would make a mandatory decree, enforceable by
Even assuming for the sake of argument that petitioner gained a new "domicile" after her marriage and only doesnot lose jurisdiction to hear and decide a pending disqualification case under Section 78 of B.P. 881 even
acquired a right to choose a new one after her husband died, petitioner's acts following her return to the after the elections.
country clearly indicate that she not only impliedly but expressly chose her domicile of origin (assuming this
was lost by operation of law) as her domicile. This "choice" was unequivocally expressed in her letters to the
As to the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal's supposed assumption of jurisdiction over the issue of
Chairman of the PCGG when petitioner sought the PCGG's permission to "rehabilitate (our) ancestral house in
petitioner's qualifications after the May 8, 1995 elections, suffice it to say that HRET's jurisdiction as the sole
Tacloban and Farm in Olot, Leyte. . . to make them livable for the Marcos family to have a home in our
judge of all contests relating to the elections, returns and qualifications of members of Congress begins only
homeland." 47 Furthermore, petitioner obtained her residence certificate in 1992 in Tacloban, Leyte, while
after a candidate has become a member of the House of Representatives. 53 Petitioner not being a member of
living in her brother's house, an act which supports the domiciliary intention clearly manifested in her letters
the House of Representatives, it is obvious that the HRET at this point has no jurisdiction over the question.
to the PCGG Chairman. She could not have gone straight to her home in San Juan, as it was in a state of
disrepair, having been previously looted by vandals. Her "homes" and "residences" following her arrival in
various parts of Metro Manila merely qualified as temporary or "actual residences," not domicile. Moreover, It would be an abdication of many of the ideals enshrined in the 1987 Constitution for us to either to ignore or
and proceeding from our discussion pointing out specific situations where the female spouse either reverts to deliberately make distinctions in law solely on the basis of the personality of a petitioner in a case. Obviously
her domicile of origin or chooses a new one during the subsistence of the marriage, it would be highly illogical a distinction was made on such a ground here. Surely, many established principles of law, even of election
for us to assume that she cannot regain her original domicile upon the death of her husband absent a positive laws were flouted for the sake perpetuating power during the pre-EDSA regime. We renege on these sacred
act of selecting a new one where situations exist within the subsistence of the marriage itself where the wife ideals, including the meaning and spirit of EDSA ourselves bending established principles of principles of law
gains a domicile different from her husband. to deny an individual what he or she justly deserves in law. Moreover, in doing so, we condemn ourselves to
repeat the mistakes of the past.
In the light of all the principles relating to residence and domicile enunciated by this court up to this point, we
are persuaded that the facts established by the parties weigh heavily in favor of a conclusion supporting WHEREFORE, having determined that petitioner possesses the necessary residence qualifications to run for a
petitioner's claim of legal residence or domicile in the First District of Leyte. seat in the House of Representatives in the First District of Leyte, the COMELEC's questioned Resolutions
dated April 24, May 7, May 11, and May 25, 1995 are hereby SET ASIDE. Respondent COMELEC is hereby
directed to order the Provincial Board of Canvassers to proclaim petitioner as the duly elected Representative
II. The jurisdictional issue
of the First District of Leyte.

Petitioner alleges that the jurisdiction of the COMELEC had already lapsed considering that the assailed
SO ORDERED.
resolutions were rendered on April 24, 1995, fourteen (14) days before the election in violation of Section 78
of the Omnibus Election Code. 48 Moreover, petitioner contends that it is the House of Representatives
Electoral Tribunal and not the COMELEC which has jurisdiction over the election of members of the House of
Representatives in accordance with Article VI Sec. 17 of the Constitution. This is untenable.

It is a settled doctrine that a statute requiring rendition of judgment within a specified time is generally
construed to be merely directory, 49 "so that non-compliance with them does not invalidate the judgment on
the theory that if the statute had intended such result it would have clearly indicated it." 50 The difference
between a mandatory and a directory provision is often made on grounds of necessity. Adopting the same
view held by several American authorities, this court in Marcelino vs. Cruz held that: 51

The difference between a mandatory and directory provision is often determined on grounds of expediency,
the reason being that less injury results to the general public by disregarding than enforcing the letter of the
law.

In Trapp v. Mc Cormick, a case calling for the interpretation of a statute containing a limitation of thirty (30)
days within which a decree may be entered without the consent of counsel, it was held that "the statutory
provisions which may be thus departed from with impunity, without affecting the validity of statutory
proceedings, are usually those which relate to the mode or time of doing that which is essential to effect the
aim and purpose of the Legislature or some incident of the essential act." Thus, in said case, the statute under
examination was construed merely to be directory.

The mischief in petitioner's contending that the COMELEC should have abstained from rendering a decision
after the period stated in the Omnibus Election Code because it lacked jurisdiction, lies in the fact that our
courts and other quasi-judicial bodies would then refuse to render judgments merely on the ground of having
failed to reach a decision within a given or prescribed period. In any event, with the enactment of Sections 6
and 7 of R.A. 6646 in relation to Section 78 of B.P. 881, 52 it is evident that the respondent Commission
G.R. No. 192474 June 26, 2012 Jalosjos elevated the matter to the Court of Appeals (CA) through a petition for certiorari with an application
for the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction. 6 On November 26, 2009 the CA granted his application
and enjoined the courts below from enforcing their decisions, with the result that his name was reinstated in
ROMEO M. JALOSJOS, JR., Petitioner,
the Barangay Veterans Villages voters list pending the resolution of the petition.
vs.
THE COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS and DAN ERASMO, SR., Respondents.
On November 28, 2009 Jalosjos filed his Certificate of Candidacy (COC) for the position of Representative of
the Second District of Zamboanga Sibugay for the May 10, 2010 National Elections. This prompted Erasmo to
x-----------------------x
file a petition to deny due course to or cancel his COC before the COMELEC, 7 claiming that Jalosjos made
material misrepresentations in that COC when he indicated in it that he resided in Ipil, Zamboanga Sibugay.
G.R. No. 192704 But the Second Division of the COMELEC issued a joint resolution, dismissing Erasmos petitions for
insufficiency in form and substance.8
DAN ERASMO, SR., Petitioner,
vs. While Erasmos motion for reconsideration was pending before the COMELEC En Banc, the May 10, 2010
ROMEO M. JALOSJOS, JR. and HON. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, Respondents. elections took place, resulting in Jalosjos winning the elections for Representative of the Second District of
Zamboanga Sibugay. He was proclaimed winner on May 13, 2010. 9
x-----------------------x
Meantime, on June 2, 2010 the CA rendered judgment in the voters exclusion case before it, 10 holding that the
lower courts erred in excluding Jalosjos from the voters list of Barangay Veterans Village in Ipil since he was
G.R. No. 193566
qualified under the Constitution and Republic Act 8189 11 to vote in that place. Erasmo filed a petition for
review of the CA decision before this Court in G.R. 193566.
DAN ERASMO, SR., Petitioner,
vs.
Back to the COMELEC, on June 3, 2010 the En Banc granted Erasmos motion for reconsideration and declared
ROMEO M. JALOSJOS, JR., Respondent.
Jalosjos ineligible to seek election as Representative of the Second District of Zamboanga Sibugay. It held that
Jalosjos did not satisfy the residency requirement since, by continuing to hold the position of Mayor of
DECISION Tampilisan, Zamboanga Del Norte, he should be deemed not to have transferred his residence from that place
to Barangay Veterans Village in Ipil, Zamboanga Sibugay.
ABAD, J.:
Both Jalosjos and Erasmo came up to this Court on certiorari. In G.R. 192474, Jalosjos challenges the
COMELECs finding that he did not meet the residency requirement and its denial of his right to due process,
These cases reiterate the demarcation line between the jurisdiction of the Commission on Elections
citing Roces v. House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal. 12 In G.R. 192704, Erasmo assails the COMELEC En
(COMELEC) and the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal (HRET).
Bancs failure to annul Jalosjos proclamation as elected Representative of the Second District of Zamboanga
Sibugay despite his declared ineligibility.
The Facts and the Case
Subsequently, the Court ordered the consolidation of the three related petitions. 13 In its comment,14 the Office
In May 2007 Romeo M. Jalosjos, Jr., petitioner in G.R. 192474, ran for Mayor of Tampilisan, Zamboanga del of the Solicitor General (OSG) sought the dismissal of Erasmos petitions and the grant of that of Jalosjos since
Norte, and won. While serving as Tampilisan Mayor, he bought a residential house and lot in Barangay all such petitions deal with the latters qualifications as proclaimed Representative of the district mentioned.
Veterans Village, Ipil, Zamboanga Sibugay and renovated and furnished the same. In September 2008 he The OSG claims that under Section 17, Article VI of the 1987 Constitution, jurisdiction over this issue lies with
began occupying the house. the HRET.

After eight months or on May 6, 2009 Jalosjos applied with the Election Registration Board (ERB) of Ipil, Threshold Issue Presented
Zamboanga Sibugay, for the transfer of his voters registration record to Precinct 0051F of Barangay Veterans
Village. Dan Erasmo, Sr., respondent in G.R. 192474, opposed the application. 1 After due proceedings, the ERB
The threshold issue presented is whether or not the Supreme Court has jurisdiction at this time to pass upon
approved Jalosjos application and denied Erasmos opposition. 2
the question of Jalosjos residency qualification for running for the position of Representative of the Second
District of Zamboanga Sibugay considering that he has been proclaimed winner in the election and has
Undeterred, Erasmo filed a petition to exclude Jalosjos from the list of registered voters of Precinct 0051F assumed the discharge of that office.
before the 1st Municipal Circuit Trial Court of Ipil-Tungawan-R.T. Lim (MCTC). 3 After hearing, the MCTC
rendered judgment on August 14, 2009, excluding Jalosjos from the list of registered voters in question. The
The Courts Ruling
MCTC found that Jalosjos did not abandon his domicile in Tampilisan since he continued even then to serve as
its Mayor. Jalosjos appealed4 his case to the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Pagadian City 5 which affirmed the
MCTC Decision on September 11, 2009.
While the Constitution vests in the COMELEC the power to decide all questions affecting elections, 15 such SO ORDERED.
power is not without limitation. It does not extend to contests relating to the election, returns, and
qualifications of members of the House of Representatives and the Senate. The Constitution vests the
resolution of these contests solely upon the appropriate Electoral Tribunal of the Senate or the House of
Representatives.16

The Court has already settled the question of when the jurisdiction of the COMELEC ends and when that of the
HRET begins. The proclamation of a congressional candidate following the election divests COMELEC of
jurisdiction over disputes relating to the election, returns, and qualifications of the proclaimed Representative
in favor of the HRET.17

Here, when the COMELEC En Banc issued its order dated June 3, 2010, Jalosjos had already been proclaimed
on May 13, 2010 as winner in the election. 18 Thus, the COMELEC acted without jurisdiction when it still
passed upon the issue of his qualification and declared him ineligible for the office of Representative of the
Second District of Zamboanga Sibugay.

It is of course argued, as the COMELEC law department insisted, that the proclamation of Jalosjos was an
exception to the above-stated rule.19 Since the COMELEC declared him ineligible to run for that office,
necessarily, his proclamation was void following the ruling in Codilla, Sr. v. De Venecia. 20 For Erasmo, the
COMELEC still has jurisdiction to issue its June 3, 2010 order based on Section 6 of Republic Act 6646. Section
6 provides:

Section 6. Effects of Disqualification Case. Any candidate who has been declared by final judgment to be
disqualified shall not be voted for, and the votes cast for him shall not be counted. If for any reason a candidate
is not declared by final judgment before an election to be disqualified and he is voted for and receives the
winning number of votes in such election, the Court or Commission shall continue with the trial and hearing
of the action, inquiry, or protest and, upon motion of the complainant or any intervenor, may during the
pendency thereof order the suspension of the proclamation of such candidate whenever the evidence of his
guilt is strong.

Here, however, the fact is that on election day of 2010 the COMELEC En Banc had as yet to resolve Erasmos
appeal from the Second Divisions dismissal of the disqualification case against Jalosjos. Thus, there then
existed no final judgment deleting Jalosjos name from the list of candidates for the congressional seat he
sought. The last standing official action in his case before election day was the ruling of the COMELECs
Second Division that allowed his name to stay on that list.1a wphi1 Meantime, the COMELEC En Banc did not
issue any order suspending his proclamation pending its final resolution of his case. With the fact of his
proclamation and assumption of office, any issue regarding his qualification for the same, like his alleged lack
of the required residence, was solely for the HRET to consider and decide. 21

Consequently, the Court holds in G.R. 192474 that the COMELEC En Banc exceeded its jurisdiction in declaring
Jalosjos ineligible for the position of representative for the Second District of Zamboanga Sibugay, which he
won in the elections, since it had ceased to have jurisdiction over his case. Necessarily, Erasmos petitions
(G.R. 192704 and G.R. 193566) questioning the validity of the registration of Jalosjos as a voter and the
COMELECs failure to annul his proclamation also fail. The Court cannot usurp the power vested by the
Constitution solely on the HRET.22

WHEREFORE, the Court GRANTS the petition in G.R. 192474, REVERSES and SETS ASIDE the respondent
Commission on Elections En Bancs order dated June 3, 2010, and REINSTATES the Commissions Second
Division resolution dated February 23, 2010 in SPA 09-114(DC), entitled Dan Erasmo, Sr. v. Romeo Jalosjos Jr.
Further, the Court DISMISSES the petitions in G.R. 192704 and G.R. 193566 for lack of jurisdiction over the
issues they raise.
G.R. No. 189868 December 15, 2009 shall, however, be conducted during the period starting one hundred twenty (120) days before a regular
election and ninety (90) days before a special election.
KABATAAN PARTY-LIST REPRESENTATIVE RAYMOND V. PALATINO, ALVIN A. PETERS, PRESIDENT OF
THE NATIONAL UNION OF STUDENTS OF THE PHILIPPINES (NUSP), MA. CRISTINA ANGELA GUEVARRA, They thus pray that COMELEC Resolution No. 8585 be declared null and void, and that the COMELEC be
CHAIRPERSON OF THE STUDENT CHRISTIAN MOVEMENT OF THE PHILIPPINES (SCMP), VENCER MARI accordingly required to extend the voter registration until January 9, 2010 which is the day before the 120-
E. CRISOSTOMO, SECRETARY GENERAL OF KABATAAN PARTY-LIST, VIJAE O. ALQUISOLA, PRESIDENT OF day prohibitive period starting on January 10, 2010.
THE COLLEGE EDITORS GUILD OF THE PHILIPPINES (CEGP), DIANNE KRISTEL M. ASUELO, SECRETARY
GENERAL OF THE KABATAANG ARTISTA PARA SA TUNAY NA KALAYAAN (KARATULA), KENNETH
The COMELEC maintains in its Comment filed on December 7, 2009 that, among other things, the Constitution
CARLISLE EARL EUGENIO, ANA KATRINA V. TEJERO, VICTOR LOUIS E. CRISOSTOMO, JACQUELINE
and the Omnibus Election Code confer upon it the power to promulgate rules and regulations in order to
ALEXIS S. MERCED, and JADE CHARMANE ROSE J. VALENZUELA, Petitioners,
ensure free, orderly and honest elections; that Section 29 of Republic Act No. 6646 (RA 6646) 4 and Section 28
vs.
of Republic Act No. 8436 (RA 8436) 5 authorize it to fix other dates for pre-election acts which include voter
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, Respondent.
registration; and that its schedule of pre-election acts shows that the October 31, 2009 deadline of voter
registration was impelled by operational and pragmatic considerations, citing Akbayan-Youth v.
DECISION COMELEC6wherein the Court denied a similar prayer for an extension of the December 27, 2000 deadline of
voter registration for the May 14, 2001 elections.
CARPIO MORALES, J.:
The petition is impressed with merit.
At the threshold once again is the right of suffrage of the sovereign Filipino people the foundation of
Philippine democracy. As the country prepares to elect its next set of leaders on May 10, 2010, the Court The right of suffrage lies at the heart of our constitutional democracy. The right of every Filipino to choose the
upholds this primordial right. leaders who will lead the country and participate, to the fullest extent possible, in every national and local
election is so zealously guarded by the fundamental law that it devoted an entire article solely therefor:
On November 12, 2008, respondent Commission on Elections (COMELEC) issued Resolution No. 8514 1 which,
among other things, set December 2, 2008 to December 15, 2009 as the period of continuing voter ARTICLE V
registration using the biometrics process in all areas nationwide, except in the Autonomous Region of Muslim SUFFRAGE
Mindanao. Subsequently, the COMELEC issued Resolution No. 8585 2 on February 12, 2009 adjusting the
deadline of voter registration for the May 10, 2010 national and local elections to October 31, 2009, instead of
SECTION 1. Suffrage may be exercised by all citizens of the Philippines not otherwise disqualified by law, who
December 15, 2009 as previously fixed by Resolution No. 8514.
are at least eighteen years of age, and who shall have resided in the Philippines for at least one year and in the
place wherein they propose to vote for at least six months immediately preceding the election. No literacy,
The intense public clamor for an extension of the October 31, 2009 deadline notwithstanding, the COMELEC property or other substantive requirement shall be imposed on the exercise of suffrage.
stood firm in its decision not to extend it, arguing mainly that it needs ample time to prepare for the
automated elections. Via the present Petition for Certiorari and Mandamus filed on October 30,
SECTION 2. The Congress shall provide a system of securing the secrecy and sanctity of the ballot as well as a
2009,3 petitioners challenge the validity of COMELEC Resolution No. 8585 and seek a declaration of its nullity.
system for absentee voting by qualified Filipinos abroad.

Petitioner Raymond V. Palatino, a youth sectoral representative under the Kabataan Party-list, sues as a
The Congress shall also design a procedure for the disabled and the illiterates to vote without the assistance
member of the House of Representatives and a concerned citizen, while the rest of petitioners sue as
of other persons. Until then, they shall be allowed to vote under existing laws and such rules as the
concerned citizens.
Commission on Elections may promulgate to protect the secrecy of the ballot.

Petitioners contend that the serious questions involved in this case and potential disenfranchisement of
Preserving the sanctity of the right of suffrage ensures that the State derives its power from the consent of the
millions of Filipino voters justify resort to this Court in the first instance, claiming that based on National
governed. The paramount importance of this right is also a function of the State policy of people
Statistics Office (NSO) data, the projected voting population for the May 10, 2010 elections is 3,758,964 for
empowerment articulated in the constitutional declaration that sovereignty resides in the people and all
the age group 18-19 and 8,756,981 for the age group 20-24, or a total of 12,515,945.
government authority emanates from them,7 bolstered by the recognition of the vital role of the youth in
nation-building and directive to the State to encourage their involvement in public and civic affairs. 8
Petitioners further contend that COMELEC Resolution No. 8585 is an unconstitutional encroachment on the
legislative power of Congress as it amends the system of continuing voter registration under Section 8 of
It is against this backdrop that Congress mandated a system of continuing voter registration in Section 8 of RA
Republic Act No. 8189 (RA 8189), otherwise known as The Voters Registration Act of 1996, reading:
8189 which provides:

Section 8. System of Continuing Registration of Voters. The personal filing of application of registration of
Section 8. System of Continuing Registration of Voters. The personal filing of application of registration of
voters shall be conducted daily in the office of the Election Officer during regular office hours. No registration
voters shall be conducted daily in the office of the Election Officer during regular office hours. No registration
shall, however, be conducted during the period starting one hundred twenty (120) days before a regular 2000, this Court is of the firm view that petitioners were not totally denied the opportunity to avail of the
election and ninety (90) days before a special election. (emphasis and underscoring supplied) continuing registration under R.A. 8189.12(emphasis and underscoring supplied)

The clear text of the law thus decrees that voters be allowed to register daily during regular offices The clear import of the Courts pronouncement in Akbayan-Youth is that had the therein petitioners filed their
hours, except during the period starting 120 days before a regular election and 90 days before a special petition and sought an extension date that was before the 120-day prohibitive period, their prayer would
election. have been granted pursuant to the mandate of RA 8189. In the present case, as reflected earlier, both the dates
of filing of the petition (October 30, 2009) and the extension sought (until January 9, 2010) are prior to the
120-day prohibitive period. The Court, therefore, finds no legal impediment to the extension prayed for.
By the above provision, Congress itself has determined that the period of 120 days before a regular election
and 90 days before a special election is enough time for the COMELEC to make ALL the necessary
preparations with respect to the coming elections including: (1) completion of project precincts, which is WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. COMELEC Resolution No. 8585 is declared null and void insofar as it
necessary for the proper allocation of official ballots, election returns and other election forms and set the deadline of voter registration for the May 10, 2010 elections on October 31, 2009. The COMELEC is
paraphernalia; (2) constitution of the Board of Election Inspectors, including the determination of the directed to proceed with dispatch in reopening the registration of voters and holding the same until January 9,
precincts to which they shall be assigned; (3) finalizing the Computerized Voters List; (4) supervision of the 2010. This Decision is IMMEDIATELY EXECUTORY.
campaign period; and (5) preparation, bidding, printing and distribution of Voters Information Sheet. Such
determination of Congress is well within the ambit of its legislative power, which this Court is bound to
SO ORDERED.
respect. And the COMELECs rule-making power should be exercised in accordance with the prevailing law.9

Respecting the authority of the COMELEC under RA 6646 and RA 8436 to fix other dates for pre-election acts,
the same is not in conflict with the mandate of continuing voter registration under RA 8189. This Courts
primary duty is to harmonize laws rather than consider one as repealed by the other. The presumption is
against inconsistency or repugnance and, accordingly, against implied repeal. For Congress is presumed to
know the existing laws on the subject and not to enact inconsistent or conflicting statutes. 10

Both R.A. No. 6646, Section 29 and R.A. No. 8436, Section 28 grant the COMELEC the power to fix other
periods and dates for pre-election activities only if the same cannot be reasonably held within the period
provided by law. This grant of power, however, is for the purpose of enabling the people to exercise the right
of suffrage the common underlying policy of RA 8189, RA 6646 and RA 8436.

In the present case, the Court finds no ground to hold that the mandate of continuing voter registration
cannot be reasonably held within the period provided by RA 8189, Sec. 8 daily during office hours, except
during the period starting 120 days before the May 10, 2010 regular elections. There is thus no occasion for
the COMELEC to exercise its power to fix other dates or deadlines therefor.

The present case differs significantly from Akbayan-Youth v. COMELEC. 11 In said case, the Court held that the
COMELEC did not commit abuse of discretion in denying the request of the therein petitioners for an
extension of the December 27, 2000 deadline of voter registration for the May 14, 2001 elections. For the
therein petitioners filed their petition with the Court within the 120-day prohibitive period for the conduct of
voter registration under Section 8 of RA 8189, and sought the conduct of a two-day registration on February
17 and 18, 2001, clearly within the 120-day prohibitive period.

The Court in fact suggested in Akbayan-Youth that the therein petitioners could have, but had not, registered
during the period between the December 27, 2000 deadline set by the COMELEC and before the start of the
120-day prohibitive period prior to the election date or January 13, 2001, thus:

[T]here is no allegation in the two consolidated petitions and the records are bereft of any showing that
anyone of herein petitioners has filed an application to be registered as a voter which was denied by the
COMELEC nor filed a complaint before the respondent COMELEC alleging that he or she proceeded to the
Office of the Election Officer to register between the period starting from December 28, 2000 to January 13,
2001, and that he or she was disallowed or barred by respondent COMELEC from filing his application for
registration. While it may be true that respondent COMELEC set the registration deadline on December 27,
AKBAYAN - Youth, SCAP, UCSC, MASP, KOMPIL II - Youth, ALYANSA, KALIPI, PATRICIA Q. PICAR, MYLA 1. The applicants for the registration shall be 25 years of age or less and will be registering for
GAIL Z. TAMONDONG, EMMANUEL E. OMBAO, JOHNNY ACOSTA, ARCHIE JOHN TALAUE, RYAN DAPITAN, the first time on May 14, 2001;
CHRISTOPHER OARDE, JOSE MARI MODESTO, RICHARD M. VALENCIA, EDBEN TABUCOL, petitioners
vs.
2. The applicants shall register in their places of residences; and,
COMMISSION ON ELECTION, respondents.

3. The applicants shall present valid identification documents, like school records
G.R. No. 147179 26 March 2001

"Preparatory to the registration days, the following activities are likewise agreed:
MICHELLE D. BETITO, petitioner,
vs.
CHAIRMAN ALFREDO BENIPAYO, COMMISSIONER MEHOL SADAIN, RUFINO JAVIER, LUZVIMINDA 1. Submission of the list of students and their addresses immediately prior to the actual
TANCANGCO, RALPH LANTION, FLORENTINO TUASON and RESURRECCION BORRA, all of the registration of the applicants;
Commission on Election (COMELEC), respondents.
2. The Comelec filed officers will be given the opportunity to verify the voters enumerator's
BUENA, J.: list or conduct ocular inspection;

At the helm of controversy in the instant consolidated petitions (G.R. No. 147066 and G.R. 147179.) before us 3. Availability of funds for the purpose; and,
is the exercise of a right so indubitably cherished and accorded primacy, if not utmost reverence, no less than
by the fundamental law - the right of suffrage.
4. Meetings with student groups to ensure orderly and honest political awareness and interest
to participate in the political process generated by the recent political events in the country
Invoking this right, herein petitioners - representing the youth sector - seek to direct the Commission on among our youth. considering that they failed to register on December 27, 2000 deadline,
Elections (COMELEC) to conduct a special registration before the May 14, 2001 General Elections, of new they approved for special registration days.
voters ages 18 to 21. According to petitioners, around four million youth failed to register on or before the
December 27, 2000 deadline set by the respondent COMELEC under Republic Act No. 8189 (Voter's
"In viewing of the foregoing, the Commission en banc has to discuss all aspects regarding this request with
Registration Act of 1996).
directives to the Finance Services Department (FSD) to submit certified available funds for the purpose, and
for the Deputy Executive Director for Operations (DEDO) for estimated costs of additional two days of
Acting on the clamor of the students and civic leaders, Senator Raul Roco, Chairman if the Committee on registration.
Electoral Reforms, Suffrage, and People's Participation, through a Letter dated January 25, 2001, invited the
COMELEC to a public hearing for the purpose of discussing the extension of the registration of voters to
The presence of REDs on January 30 can be used partly for consultation on the practical side and logistical
accommodate those who were not able to register before the COMELEC deadline.1a wphi1.ne t
requirements of such additional registration days. The meeting will be set at 1:30 p.m. at the Office of ED.

Commissioner Luzviminda G. Tancangco and Ralph C. Lantion, together with Consultant Resurreccion Z. Borra
Immediately, Commissioner Borra called a consultation meeting among regional heads and representatives,
(now Commissioner) attended the public hearing called by the Senate Committee headed by Senator Roco,
and a number of senior staff headed by Executive Director Mamasapunod Aguam. It was the consensus of the
held at the Senate, New GSIS Headquarters Bldg., Pasay City.
group, with the exception of Director Jose Tolentino, Jr., of the ASD, to disapproved the request for additional
registration of voters on the ground that Section 8 of R.A. 8189 explicitly provides that no registration shall be
On January 29, 2001, Commissioners Tancangco and Lantion submitted Memorandum No. 2001-027 on the conducted during the period starting one hundred twenty (120) days before a regular election and that the
Report on the Request for a Two-day Additional Registration of New Voters Only, excerpts of which are hereto Commission has no more time left to accomplish all pre-election activities.
quoted:
On February 8, 2001, the COMELEC issued Resolution N. 3584, the decretal portion:
"Please be advised that the undersigned attended the public hearing called by the Senate Committee on
Electoral Reforms, Suffrage and People's Participation presided by the Hon. Sen. Raul Roco, its Committee
"Deliberating on the foregoing memoranda, the Commission RESOLVED, as it hereby RESOLVES, to deny the
Chairman to date at the Senate, new GSIS Headquarters Building, Pasay City. The main agenda item is the
request to conduct a two-day additional registration of new voters on February 17, and 18 2001."
request by youth organizations to hold additional two days of registration. Thus, participating students and
civic leaders along with Comelec Representatives were in agreement that is legally feasible to have a two-day
additional registration of voters to be conducted preferably on February 17 and 18, 2001 nationwide. The Commissioners Rufino S.B. Javier and Mehol K. Sadain voted to deny the request while Commissioners
deadline for the continuing voters registration under R.A. 8189 is December 27, 2000. Luzviminda Tancangco and Ralph Lantion voted to accommodate the students' request. With this impasse, the
Commission construed its Resolution as having taken effect.
"To address the concern that this may open the flood parts for 'hakot system,' certain restrictive parameters
were discussed. The following guidelines to serve as safeguard against fraudulent applicants:
Aggrieved by the denial, petitioners AKBAYAN-Youth, SCAP, UCSC, MASP, KOMPIL II (YOUTH) et. al. filed before "SECTION 1. SUFFRAGE MAY BE EXERCISED BY ALL CITIZENS OF THE PHILIPPINES NOT OTHERWISE
this Court the instant Petition for Certiorari and Mandamus, docketed as G.R. NO. 147066, which seeks to set DISQUALIFIED BY LAW, WHO ARE AT LEAST EIGHTEEN YEARS OF AGE, AND WHO SHALL HAVE RESIDED IN
aside and nullify respondent COMELEC's Resolution and/or to declare Section 8 of R.A. 8189 unconstitutional THE PHILIPPINES FOR AT LEAST ONE YEAR AND IN THE PLACE WHEREIN THEY PROPOSE TO VOTE FOR AT
insofar as said provision effectively causes the disenfranchisement of petitioners and others similarly LEAST SIX MONTHS IMMEDIATELY PRECEDING THE ELECTION. NO LITERACY, PROPERTY, OR OTHER
situated. Likewise, petitioners pray for the issuance of a writ of mandamus directing respondent COMELEC to SUBSTANTIVE REQUIREMENT SHALL BE IMPOSED ON THE EXERCISE OF SUFFRAGE."
conduct a special registration of new voters and to admit for registration petitioners and other similarly
situated young Filipinos to qualify them to vote in the May 14, 2001 General Elections.
As to the procedural limitation, the right of a citizen to vote is necessarily conditioned upon certain
procedural requirements he must undergo: among others, the process of registration. Specifically, a citizen in
On March 09, 2001, herein petitioner Michelle Betito, a student of the University of the Philippines, likewise order to be qualified to exercise his right to vote, in addition to the minimum requirements set by
filed a Petition for Mandamus, docketed as G.R. No. 147179, praying that this Court direct the COMELEC to fundamental charter, is obliged by law to register, at present, under the provisions of Republic Act No. 8189,
provide for another special registration day under the continuing registration provision under the Election otherwise known as the "Voter's Registration Act of 1996."
code.
Stated differently, the act of registration is an indispensable precondition to the right of suffrage. For
On March 13, 2001, this court resolved to consolidate the two petitions and further required respondents to registration is part and parcel of the right to vote and an indispensable element in the election process. Thus,
file their Comment thereon within a non-extendible period expiring at 10:00 A.M. of March 16, 2001. contrary to petitioners' argument, registration cannot and should not be denigrated to the lowly stature of a
Moreover, this Court resolved to set the consolidated cases for oral arguments on March 16, 2001. mere statutory requirement. Proceeding from the significance of registration as a necessary requisite to the
right to vote, the State undoubtedly, in the exercise of its inherent police power, may then enact laws to
safeguard and regulate the act of voter's registration for the ultimate purpose of conducting honest, orderly
On March 16, 2001, the Solicitor General, in its Manifestation and Motion in lieu of Comment, recommended
and peaceful election, to the incidental yet generally important end, that even pre-election activities could be
that an additional continuing registration of voters be conducted at the soonest possible time "in order to
performed by the duly constituted authorities in a realistic and orderly manner - one which is not indifferent
accommodate the disfranchised voters for purposes of the May 14, 2001 elections."
and so far removed from the pressing order of the day and the prevalent circumstances of the times.

In effect, the Court in passing upon the merits of the present petitions, is tasked to resolve a two-pronged
Viewed broadly, existing legal proscription and pragmatic operational considerations bear great weight in the
issue focusing on respondent COMELEC's issuance of the assailed Resolution dated February 8, 2001, which
adjudication of the issues raised in the instant petitions.
Resolution, petitioners, by and large, argue to have undermined their constitutional right to vote on the May
14, 2001 general elections and caused the disenfranchisement of around for four million Filipinos of voting
age who failed to register before the registration deadline set by the COMELEC. On the legal score, Section 8 or R.A. 8189, which provides a system of continuing registration, is explicit, to
wit:
Thus, this Court shall determine:
"SEC. 8. System of Continuing Registration of Voters. - The Personal filing of application of registration of voters
shall be conducted daily in the office of the Election Officer during regular office hours. No registration shall,
1. Whether or not respondent COMELEC committed grave abuse of discretion in issuing COMELEC
however, be conducted during the period starting one hundred twenty (120) days before a regular election
Resolution dated February 8, 2001.
and ninety (90) days before a special election," (Emphasis Ours)

2. Whether or not this Court can compel respondent COMELEC, through the extraordinary writ of
Likewise, Section 35 of R. A. 8189, which among others, speaks of a prohibitive period within which to file a
mandamus, to conduct a special registration of new voters during the period between the COMELEC's
sworn petition for the exclusion of voters from the permanent voter's list, provides:
imposed December 27, 2000 deadline and the May 14, 2001 general elections.

"SEC. 35. Petition for Exclusion of Voters from the List - Any registered voter, representative of a political party
The petitions are bereft of merit.
x x x may file x x x except one hundred (100) days prior to a regular election x x x."

In a representative democracy such as ours, the right of suffrage, although accorded a prime niche in the
As aptly observed and succinctly worded by respondent COMELEC in its Comment:
hierarchy of rights embodied in the fundamental law, ought to be exercised within the proper bounds and
framework of the Constitutions and must properly yield to pertinent laws skillfully enacted by the Legislature,
which statutes for all intents and purposes, are crafted to effectively insulate such so cherished right from "x x x. The petition for exclusion is a necessary component to registration since it is a safety mechanism that
ravishment and preserve the democratic institutions our people have, for so long, guarded against the spoils gives a measure of protection against flying voters, non-qualified registrants, and the like. The prohibitive
of opportunism, debauchery and abuse. period, on the other hand serves the purpose of securing the voter's substantive right to be included in the list
of voters.
To be sure, the right of suffrage ardently invoked by herein petitioners, is not at all absolute. Needles to say,
the exercise of the right of suffrage, as in the enjoyment of all other rights, is subject to existing substantive "In real-world terms, this means that if a special voter's registration is conducted, then the prohibitive period
and procedural requirements embodied in our Constitution, statute books and other repositories of law. Thus, for filing petitions for exclusion must likewise be adjusted to a later date. If we do not, then no one can
as to the substantive aspect, Section 1, Article V of the Constitutions provides: challenge the Voter's list since we would already be well into the 100-day prohibitive period. Aside from being
a flagrant breach of the principles of due process, this would open the registration process to abuse and Corollarily, it is specious for herein petitioners to argue that respondent COMELEC may validly and legally
seriously compromise the integrity of the voter's list, and consequently, that of the entire election. conduct a two-day special registration, through the expedient of the letter of Section 28 of RA 8436. To this
end, the provisions of Section 28, RA 8436 would come into play in cases where the pre-election acts are
susceptible of performance within the available period prior to election day. In more categorical language,
"x x x. The short cuts that will have to be adopted in order to fit the entire process of registration within the
Section 28 of R.A 8436 is, to our mind, anchored on the sound premise that these certain "pre-election acts"
last 60 days will give rise to haphazard list of voters, some of whom might not even be qualified to vote, x x x
are still capable of being reasonably performed vis-a-vis the remaining period before the date of election and
the very possibility that we shall be conducting elections on the basis of an inaccurate list is enough to cast a
the conduct of other related pre-election activities required under the law.
cloud of doubt over the results of the polls. If that happens, the unforgiving public will disown the results of
the elections, regardless of who wins, and regardless of how many courts validate our own results. x x x"
In its Comment, respondent COMELEC- which is the constitutional body tasked by no less that the
fundamental charter (Sec 2, par. 3, Article IX-C of the Constitution) to decide, except those involving the right
Perhaps undaunted by such scenario, petitioners invoke the so called "standby" powers or "residual" powers
to vote, all questions affecting elections, including registration of voters painstakingly and thoroughly
of the COMELEC, as provided under the relevant provisions of Section 29, Republic Act No. 6646 (An act
emphasized the "operational impossibility of conducting a special registration, which in its own language,
introducing additional reforms in the electoral system and for other purposes) and adopted verbatim in
"can no longer be accomplished within the time left to (us) the Commission."
Section 28 of Republic Act No. 8436 (An act authorizing the COMELEC to use an automated election system in
the May 11, 1998 national or local electoral exercises, providing funds therefore and for other purposes),
thus: Hence:

"xxx xxx xxx


"SEC. 28. Designation of other Dates for Certain Pre-election Acts - if it should no longer be possible to observe
the periods and dates prescribed by law for certain pre-election acts, the Commission shall fix other periods
and dates in order to ensure accomplishments of the activities so voters shall not be deprived of their right to 19) In any case, even without the legal obstacles, the last 60 days will not be a walk in the park for the
suffrage." COMELEC. Allow us to outline what the Commission has yet to do, and the time to do it in:

On this matter, the act of registration is concededly, by its very nature, a pre-election act. Under Section 3(a) of 20) First we have to complete the Project of Precincts by the 19th of March. The Projects of Precincts indicate
R. A. 8189, registration, as a process, has its own specific definition, precise meaning and coverage, thus: the total number of established precincts and the number of registered voters per precincts in a city or
municipality. Without the final Project of Precincts, we cannot even determine the proper allocation of official
ballots, election returns and other election forms and paraphernalia. More succinctly said, without the Project
"a) Registration refers to the act of accomplishing and filing of a sworn application for registration by a
of Precincts, we won't know how many forms to print and so we're liable to come up short.
qualified voter before the election officer of the city or municipality wherein he resides and including the
same in the book of registered voters upon approval by the Election Registration Board."
21) More importantly, without a completed Project of Precincts, it will be impossible to complete the rest of
the tasks that must be accomplished prior to the elections.
At this point, it bears emphasis that the provision of Section 29 R.A. 8436 invoked by herein petitioners and
Section 8 of R.A. 8189 volunteered by respondent COMELEC, far from contradicting each other, actually share
some common ground. True enough, both provisions, although at first glance may seem to be at war in 22) Second, the Board of Elections Inspectors must be constituted on or before the 4th of March. In addition,
relation to the other, are in more circumspect, perusal, necessarily capable of being harmonized and the list of the members of the BEI - including the precinct where they are assigned and the barangay where
reconciled. the precinct is located must be furnished by the Election Officer to all the candidates and political candidates
not later that 26th of March.
Rudimentary is the principle in legal hermeneutics that changes made by the legislature in the form of
amendments to a stature should be given effect, together with other parts of the amendment act. It is not to be 23) Third, the Book of Voters, which contains the approved Voter Registration Records of registered voters in
presumed that the legislature, in making such changes, was indulging in mere semantic exercise. There must particular precinct must be inspected, verified, and sealed beginning March 30 until April 15.
be some purpose in making them, which should be ascertained and given effect.
24) Fourth, the Computerized Voters' List must be finalized and printed out of use on election day; and finally
Similarly, every new statute should be construed in connection with those already existing in relation to the
same subject matter and all should be made to harmonize and stand together, if they can be done by any fair
25.) Fifth, the preparation, bidding, printing, and distribution of the voters Information sheet must be
and reasonable interpretation. Interpretare et concordare legibus est optimus interpretandi, which means
completed on or before April 15.
that the best method of interpretation is that which makes laws consistent with other laws. Accordingly,
Courts of justice, when confronted with apparently conflicting statutes, should endeavor to reconcile them
instead of declaring outright the invalidity of one against the other. Courts should harmonize them, if this is 26.) With this rigorous schedule of pre-election activities, the COMELEC will have roughly a month that will
possible, because they are equally the handiwork of the same legislature. act as a buffer against any number of unforeseen occurrences that might delay the elections. This is the logic
and the wisdom behind setting the 120-day prohibitive period. After all , preparing for an election is no easy
task.
In light of the foregoing doctrine, we hold that Section 8 of R.A. 8189 applies in the present case, for the
purpose of upholding the assailed COMELEC Resolution and denying the instant petitions, considering that
the aforesaid law explicitly provides that no registration shall be conducted during the period starting one 27) To hold special registrations now would, aside from being illegal, whittle that approximately 30-day
hundred twenty (120) days before a regular election. margin away to nothing.
28) When we say registration of voters, we do not- contrary to popular opinion- refer only to the act of going specialized government bodies are, by their nature and functions, in the best position to know what they can
to the Election Officer and writing our names down. Registration is. In fact a long process that takes about possible do or not do, under prevailing circumstances.
three weeks to complete, not even counting how long it would take to prepare for the registration in the first
place.
Beyond this, it is likewise well-settled that the law does not require that the impossible be done. The law
obliges no one to perform an impossibility, expressed in the maxim, nemo tenetur ad impossible. In other
29) In order to concretize, the senior Staff of the COMELEC, the other Commissioners, prepared a time-table words, there is no obligation to do an impossible thing. Impossibilium nulla obligatio est. Hence, a statute
in order to see exactly how the superimposition of special registration would affect the on-going preparation may not be so construed as to require compliance with what it prescribes cannot, at the time, be legally ..., it
for the May 14 elections. must be presumed that the legislature did not at all intend an interpretation or application of a law which is
far removed from the realm of the possible. Truly, the interpretation of statutes, the interpretation to be given
must be such that it is in accordance with logic, common sense, reasonableness and practicality. Thus, we are
30) We assumed for the sake of argument that we were to hold the special registration on April 16 and 17.
of the considered view that they "stand-by power" of the respondent COMELEC under Section 28 of R.A. 8436,
These are not arbitrary numbers, by the way it takes in account the fact that we only have about 800,000
presupposed the possibility of its being exercised or availed of, and not otherwise.
Voters Registration Forms available, as against an estimated 4.5 million potential registrants, and it would
take about 14 days - if we were to declare special registrations today - to print up the difference and to verify
these accountable forms. After printing and verification, the forms would have to be packed and shipped - Further, petitioners' bare allegation that they were disfranchised when respondent COMELEC pegged the
roughly taking up a further two and a half weeks. Only then can we get on with registration. registration deadline on December 27, 2000 instead of the day before the prohibitive period before the May
14, 2001 regular elections commences - is, to our mind, not sufficient. On this matter, there is no allegation in
the two consolidated petitions and the records are bereft of any showing that anyone of herein petitioners has
31) The first step in registration is, of course, filling the application for registration with the Election Officer.
filed an application to be registered as a voter which was denied by the COMELEC nor filed a complaint before
The application, according to Section 17 of R.A. 8189, is then set for hearing, with notice of that hearing being
the respondent COMELEC alleging that he or she proceeded to the Office of the Election Officer to register
posted in the city or municipal bulletin board for at least one week prior. Thus, if we held registrations on the
between the period starting from December 28, 2000 to January 13, 2001, and that he or she was disallowed
16th and the 17th, the posting requirement would be completed by the 24th. Considering that time must be
or barred by respondent COMELEC from filing his application for registration. While it may be true that
allowed for the filling of oppositions, the earliest that the Election Registration Board can be convened for
respondent COMELEC set the registration deadline on December 27, 2000, this Court is of the firm view that
hearing would be the May 1st and 2nd.
petitioners were not totally denied the opportunity to avail of the continuing registration under R.A. 8189.
Stated in a different manner, the petitioners in the instant case are not without fault or blame. They admit in
32) Assuming - and this is a big assumption - that there are rift challenges to the applicant's right to register, their petition that they failed to register, for whatever reason, within the period of registration and came to
the Election Registration Board can immediately rule on the applicant's registration, and post notices of its this Court and invoked its protective mantle not realizing, so to speak, the speck in their eyes. Impuris
action by the 2nd until the 7th of May. By the 10th, copies of the notice of the action taken by the board will minibus nemo accedat curiam. Let no one come to court with unclean hands.
have already been furnished to the applicants and the heads of the registered political parties.
In a similar vein, well-entrenched is the rule in our jurisdiction that the law aids the vigilant and not those
33) Only at this point can our Election Officers once against focus on the business of getting ready for the who slumber on their rights. Vigilanties sed non dormientibus jura in re subveniunt.
elections. Once the results of the special registration are finalized, they can be encoded and a new
Computerized Voters' List generated - at the earliest, by May 11, after which the new CVL would be posted.
Applying the foregoing, this Court is of the firm view that respondent COMELEC did not commit an abuse of
Incidentally, if we were to follow the letter of the law strictly, a May 11 posting date for the new CVL would be
discretion, much less be adjudged to have committed the same in some patent, whimsical and arbitrary
improper since the R.A. 8189 provides that the CVL be posted at least 90 days before the election.
manner, in issuing Resolution No, 3584 which, in respondent's own terms, resolved "to deny the request to
conduct a two-day additional registration of new voters on February 17 and 18, 2001."
34) Assuming optimistically that we can then finish the inspection, verification, and sealing of the Book of
Voters by May 15, we will already have overshot the May 14 election date, and still not have finished our
On this particular matter, grave abuse of discretion implies a capricious and whimsical exercise of judgment
election preparations.
as is equivalent to lack of jurisdiction, or, when the power is exercised in an arbitrary or despotic manner by
reason of passion or personal hostility, and it must be so patent and gross as to amount to an evasion of
35) After this point, we could have to prepare the allocation of Official Ballots, Election Returns, and other positive duty enjoined or to act at all in contemplation of laws.1a wphi1.ne t
Non-Accountable Forms and Supplies to be used for the new registrants. Once the allocation is ready, the
contracts would be awarded, the various forms printed, delivered, verified, and finally shipped out to the
Under these circumstances, we rule that the COMELEC in denying the request of petitioners to hold a special
different municipalities. All told, this process would take approximately 26 days, from the 15th of May until
registration, acted within the bounds and confines of the applicable law on the matter - Section 8 of R.A. 8189.
June 10.
In issuing the assailed Resolution, respondent COMELEC simply performed its constitutional task to enforce
and administer all laws and regulations relative to the conduct of an election, inter alia, questions relating to
36) Only then can we truly say that we are ready to hold the elections. the registration of voters; evidently, respondent COMELEC merely exercised a prerogative that chiefly pertains
to it and one which squarely falls within the proper sphere of its constitutionally mandated powers. Hence,
whatever action respondent takes in the exercise of its wide latitude of discretion, specifically on matters
XXX XXX XXX
involving voters' registration, pertains to the wisdom rather than the legality of the act. Accordingly, in the
absence of clear showing of grave abuse of power or discretion on the part of respondent COMELEC, this
It is an accepted doctrine in administrative law that the determination of administrative agency as to the Court may not validly conduct an incursion and meddle with affairs exclusively within the province of
operation, implementation and application of a law would be accorded great weight considering that these respondent COMELEC - a body accorded by no less than the fundamental law with independence.
As to the petitioners' prayer for the issuance of the writ of mandamus, we hold that this Court cannot, in view
of the very nature of such extraordinary writ, issue the same without transgressing the time-honored
principles in this jurisdiction.

As an extraordinary writ, the remedy of mandamus lies only to compel an officer to perform a ministerial
duty, not a discretionary one; mandamus will not issue to control the exercise of discretion of a public officer
where the law imposes upon him the duty to exercise his judgment in reference to any manner in which he is
required to act, because it is his judgment that is to be exercised and not that of the court.

Considering the circumstances where the writ of mandamus lies and the peculiarities of the present case, we
are of the firm belief that petitioners failed to establish, to the satisfaction of this Court, that they are entitled
to the issuance of this extraordinary writ so as to effectively compel respondent COMELEC to conduct a
special registration of voters. For the determination of whether or not the conduct of a special registration of
voters is feasible, possible or practical within the remaining period before the actual date of election, involves
the exercise of discretion and thus, cannot be controlled by mandamus.

In Bayan vs. Executive Secretary Zamora and related cases, we enunciated that the Court's function, as
sanctioned by Article VIII, Section 1, is "merely [to] check, whether or not the governmental branch or agency
has gone beyond the constitutionally limits of its jurisdiction, not that it erred or has a different view. In the
absence of a showing ...[of] grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack of jurisdiction, there is no occasion for
the Court to exercise its corrective power...It has no power to look into what it thinks is apparent error.

Finally, the Court likewise takes judicial notice of the fact that the President has issued Proclamation No. 15
calling Congress to a Special Session on March 18, 2001, to allow the conduct of Special Registration of new
voters. House Bill No., 12930 has been filed before the Lower House, which bills seeks to amend R.A. 8189 as
to the 120-day prohibitive period provided for under said law. Similarly, Senate Bill No. 2276 was filed before
the Senate, with the same intention to amend the aforesaid law and, in effect, allow the conduct of special
registration before the May 14, 2001 General Elections.This Court views the foregoing factual circumstances
as a clear intimation on the part of both the executive and legislative departments that a legal obstacle indeed
stands in the way of the conduct by the Commission on Elections of a special registration before May 14, 2001
General Elections.

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the instant petitions for certiorari and mandamus are hereby DENIED.

SO ORDERED.
G.R. NO. 183337 April 23, 2010 alleged unsatisfactory conduct and want of capacity that led to his termination. It summarized the positions of
the OSG as follows:
CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION, Petitioner,
vs. On January 18, 2005, the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) filed its manifestation and motion, in lieu of
GREGORIO MAGNAYE, JR., Respondent. comment, praying that the assailed decision be set aside. The OSG argued that Petitioners termination was
illegal. The notice of termination did not cite the specific instances indicating Petitioners alleged
unsatisfactory conduct or want of capacity. It was only on July 29, 2003, or almost two years after Petitioners
DECISION
dismissal on August 13, 2001 that his former Department Heads, Engr. Magsino and Engr. Masongsong,
submitted an assessment and evaluation report to Mayor Bendan a, which the latter belatedly solicited when
MENDOZA, J.: the Petitioner appealed to the CSC Regional Office. Hence, the circumstances behind Petitioners dismissal
became questionable.
The Civil Service Commission (CSC) assails in this petition for review on certiorari, 1 the February 20, 2008
Decision 2 and the June 11, 2008 resolution of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. SP No. 85508. The CA The OSG also found no evidence at the CSC Regional Office level that Petitioner was informed of his alleged
reversed the July 20, 2004 Decision of the Civil Service Commission Regional Office No. IV (CSCRO-IV) and poor performance. There was no evidence that Petitioner was furnished copies of 1) Mayor Bendan as letter,
ordered the reinstatement of respondent Gregorio Magnaye, Jr. (Magnaye) with payment of backwages and dated July 29, 2003, addressed to CSC Regional Office praying that Petitioners termination be sustained; and
other monetary benefits. 2) the performance evaluation report, dated July 29, 2003, prepared by Engr. Magsino and Engr. Masongsong.
The OSG claimed that Petitioner was denied due process because his dismissal took effect a day after he
received the notice of termination. No hearing was conducted to give Petitioner the opportunity to refute the
THE FACTS
alleged causes of his dismissal. The OSG agreed with Petitioners claim that there was insufficient time for
Mayor Bendan a to determine his fitness or unfitness for the position. 3 [Emphasis supplied]
In March 2001, Mayor Roman H. Rosales of Lemery, Batangas, appointed Magnaye as Utility Worker I at the
Office of Economic Enterprise [Operation of Market] (OEE). After a few days, Mayor Rosales detailed him to
Thus, the fallo of the CA Decision 4 reads:
the Municipal Planning and Development Office.

"WHEREFORE, the petition is Granted. The Civil Service Commission Regional Office No. 4s Decision, dated
In the May elections of that year, Mayor Rosales was defeated by Raul L. Bendan a, who assumed office on June
July 20, 2004 is hereby Set Aside. Accordingly, Petitioner is ORDERED REINSTATED with full payment of
30, 2001. Thereafter, Magnaye was returned to his original assignment at the OEE. On July 11, 2001, Bendan a
backwages and other monetary benefits. This case is hereby REMANDED to the Civil Service Commission for
also placed him on detail at the Municipal Planning and Development Office to assist in the implementation of
reception of such evidence necessary for purposes of determining the amount of backwages and other
a Survey on the Integrated Rural Accessibility Planning Project.
monetary benefits to which Petitioner is entitled.

On August 13, 2001, the new mayor served him a notice of termination from employment effective the
SO ORDERED."
following day for unsatisfactory conduct and want of capacity.

THE ISSUES
Magnaye questioned his termination before the CSC head office on the ground that Mayor Bendan a was not in
a position to effectively evaluate his performance because it was made less than one and one-half months
after his (Mayor Bendan as) assumption to office. He added that his termination was without basis and was In this petition, the Civil Service Commission submits the following for our consideration:
politically motivated.
"I. The dropping of respondent from the rolls of the local government unit of Lemery, Batangas was in accord
The CSC head office dismissed, without prejudice, Magnayes complaint because he failed to attach a with Civil Service Law, rules and jurisprudence.
certificate of non-forum shopping. Thereafter, Magnaye filed a complaint with the regional office of the Civil
Service (CSCRO-IV).
II. The respondent resorted to a wrong mode of appeal and violated the rule on exhaustion of administrative
remedies and the corollary doctrine of primary jurisdiction."
The CSCRO-IV dismissed Magnayes complaint for lack of merit. It upheld his dismissal from the service on the
ground that Mayor Bendan as own assessment, together with the evaluation made by his supervisors,
The principal issue, therefore, is whether or not the termination of Magnaye was in accordance with the
constituted sufficient and reasonable grounds for his termination.
pertinent laws and the rules.

Magnaye sought recourse through a petition for review with the Court of Appeals, citing CSCRO-IVs alleged
The eligibility of respondent Magnaye has not been put in issue.
errors of fact and of law, non-observance of due process, and grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or
excess of jurisdiction. Adopting the stance of the Office of the Solicitor General, the CA ruled in Magnayes
favor, mainly on the ground that he was denied due process since he was not informed of what constituted the THE COURTS RULING
The Court upholds the decision of the Court of Appeals. "[n]o officer or employee of the civil service shall be removed or suspended except for cause provided by law."
At the outset, we emphasize that the aforementioned constitutional provision does not distinguish between
a regular employee and a probationary employee. In the recent case of Daza v. Lugo8 we ruled that:
The CSC, in arguing that Magnayes termination was in accord with the Civil Service law, cited Section 4(a),
Rule II of the 1998 CSC Omnibus Rules on Appointments and Other Personnel Actions which provides that:
The Constitution provides that "[N]o officer or employee of the civil service shall be removed or suspended
except for cause provided by law." Sec. 26, par. 1, Chapter 5, Book V, Title I-A of the Revised Administrative
Sec. 4. Nature of appointment. The nature of appointment shall be as follows:
Code of 1987 states:

a. Original refers to the initial entry into the career service of persons who meet all the requirements of the
All such persons (appointees who meet all the requirements of the position) must serve a probationary
position. xxx
period of six months following their original appointment and shall undergo a thorough character
investigation in order to acquire permanent civil service status. A probationer may be dropped from the
It is understood that the first six months of the service following an original appointment will be probationary service for unsatisfactory conduct or want of capacity any time before the expiration of the probationary
in nature and the appointee shall undergo a thorough character investigation. A probationer may be dropped period; Provided, That such action is appealable to the Commission.
from the service for unsatisfactory conduct or want of capacity anytime before the expiration of the
probationary period. Provided that such action is appealable to the Commission.
Thus, the services of respondent as a probationary employee may only be terminated for a just cause, that is,
unsatisfactory conduct or want of capacity. [Emphasis supplied]
However, if no notice of termination for unsatisfactory conduct is given by the appointing authority to the
employee before the expiration of the six-month probationary period, the appointment automatically
x x x.
becomes permanent.

X x x the only difference between regular and probationary employees from the perspective of due process is
Under Civil Service rules, the first six months of service following a permanent appointment shall be
that the latter's termination can be based on the wider ground of failure to comply with standards made
probationary in nature, and the probationer may be dropped from the service for unsatisfactory conduct or
known to them when they became probationary employees."
want of capacity anytime before the expiration of the probationary period. 5

The constitutional and statutory guarantee of security of tenure is extended to both those in the career and
The CSC is of the position that a civil service employee does not enjoy security of tenure during his 6-month
non-career service positions, and the cause under which an employee may be removed or suspended must
probationary period. It submits that an employees security of tenure starts only after the probationary
naturally have some relation to the character or fitness of the officer or employee, for the discharge of the
period. Specifically, it argued that "an appointee under an original appointment cannot lawfully invoke right
functions of his office, or expiration of the project for which the employment was extended. 9 Further, well-
to security of tenure until after the expiration of such period and provided that the appointee has not been
entrenched is the rule on security of tenure that such an appointment is issued and the moment the appointee
notified of the termination of service or found unsatisfactory conduct before the expiration of the same." 6
assumes a position in the civil service under a completed appointment, he acquires a legal, not merely
equitable right (to the position), which is protected not only by statute, but also by the Constitution [Article
The CSC position is contrary to the Constitution and the Civil Service Law itself. Section 3 (2) Article 13 of the IX-B, Section 2, paragraph (3)] and cannot be taken away from him either by revocation of the appointment,
Constitution guarantees the rights of all workers not just in terms of self-organization, collective bargaining, or by removal, except for cause, and with previous notice and hearing.10
peaceful concerted activities, the right to strike with qualifications, humane conditions of work and a living
wage but also to security of tenure, and Section 2(3), Article IX-B is emphatic in saying that, "no officer or
While the CSC contends that a probationary employee does not enjoy security of tenure, its Omnibus Rules
employee of the civil service shall be removed or suspended except for cause as provided by law."
recognizes that such an employee cannot be terminated except for cause. Note that in the Omnibus Rules it
cited,11 a decision or order dropping a probationer from the service for unsatisfactory conduct or want of
Consistently, Section 46 (a) of the Civil Service Law provides that "no officer or employee in the Civil Service capacity anytime before the expiration of the probationary period "is appealable to the Commission." This can
shall be suspended or dismissed except for cause as provided by law after due process." only mean that a probationary employee cannot be fired at will.

Our Constitution, in using the expressions "all workers" and "no officer or employee," puts no distinction Notably, jurisprudence has it that the right to security of tenure is unavailing in certain instances. In Orcullo Jr.
between a probationary and a permanent or regular employee which means that both probationary and v. Civil Service Commission, 12 it was ruled that the right is not available to those employees whose
permanent employees enjoy security of tenure. Probationary employees enjoy security of tenure in the sense appointments are contractual and co-terminous in nature. Such employment is characterized by "a tenure
that during their probationary employment, they cannot be dismissed except for cause or for failure to qualify which is limited to a period specified by law, or that which is coterminous with the appointing authority or
as regular employees. This was clearly stressed in the case of Land Bank of the Philippines v. Rowena subject to his pleasure, or which is limited to the duration of a particular project for which purpose
Paden,7 where it was written: employment was made."13 In Amores M.D. v. Civil Service Commission, 14 it was held that a civil executive
service appointee who meets all the requirements for the position, except only the appropriate civil service
eligibility, holds the office in a temporary capacity and is, thus, not entitled to a security of tenure enjoyed by
To put the case in its proper perspective, we begin with a discussion on the respondent's right to security of
permanent appointees.1avvphi1
tenure. Article IX (B), Section 2(3) of the 1987 Constitution expressly provides that
Clearly, Magnayes appointment is entirely different from those situations. From the records, his appointment service. Such notice shall also contain sufficient information which shall enable the employee to prepare an
was never classified as co-terminous or contractual. Neither was his eligibility as a Utility Worker I challenged explanation. [Emphasis and underscoring supplied]
by anyone.
Magnaye asserts that no performance evaluation was made between March 2001 when he was hired by
In support of its position that an appointee cannot lawfully invoke the right to a security of tenure during the Mayor Rosales until August 14, 2001 when his services were terminated by Mayor Bendan a. 19 It was only on
probationary period, petitioner CSC banked on the case of Lucero v. Court of Appeals and Philippine National July 29, 2003, at Mayor Bendan as behest, that his two supervisors prepared and submitted the evaluation
Bank.15 This case is, however, not applicable because it refers to a private entity where the rules of report after the CSCRO-IV directed him to file an answer to Magnayes appeal. 20
employment are not exactly similar to those in the government service.
This has not been rebutted. It being not disputed, it was an error on the part of the CSCRO-IV to rely on such
Mayor Bendan a dismissed Magnaye for lack of capacity and unsatisfactory conduct. Section 26, paragraph 1, belated performance appraisal. Common sense dictates that the evaluation report, submitted only in 2003,
Chapter 5, Book V, Title I-A of the Revised Administrative Code of 1987 states: could not have been the basis for Magnayes termination.

(1) Appointment through certification.An appointment through certification to a position in the civil Besides, Mayor Bendan as own assessment of Magnayes performance could not have served as a sufficient
service, except as herein otherwise provided, shall be issued to a person who has been selected from a list of basis to dismiss him because said mayor was not his immediate superior and did not have daily contacts with
qualified persons certified by the Commission from an appropriate register of eligibles, and who meets all the him. Additionally, Mayor Bendan a terminated his employment less than one and one-half months after his
other requirements of the position. assumption to office. This is clearly a short period within which to assess his performance. In the case of
Miranda v. Carreon,21 it was stated:
All such persons must serve a probationary period of six months following their original appointment and
shall undergo a thorough character investigation in order to acquire permanent civil service status. A The 1987 Constitution provides that "no officer or employee of the civil service shall be removed or
probationer may be dropped from the service for unsatisfactory conduct or want of capacity any time before suspended except for cause provided by law." Under the Revised Administrative Code of 1987, a government
the expiration of the probationary period: Provided, That such action is appealable to the Commission. officer or employee may be removed from the service

While unsatisfactory conduct and want of capacity are valid causes that may be invoked for dismissal from the on two (2) grounds: (1) unsatisfactory conduct and (2) want of capacity. While the Code does not define and
service,16 the CA observed that the Memorandum issued by Mayor Bendan a terminating Magnayes delineate the concepts of these two grounds, however, the Civil Service Law (Presidential Decree No. 807, as
employment did not specify the acts constituting his want of capacity and unsatisfactory conduct. It merely amended) provides specific grounds for dismissing a government officer or employee from the service.
stated that the character investigation conducted during his probationary period showed that his Among these grounds are inefficiency and incompetence in the performance of official duties. In the case at
employment "need not be necessary to be permanent in status." 17 Specifically, the notice of termination partly bar, respondents were dismissed on the ground of poor performance. Poor performance falls within the
reads: concept of inefficiency and incompetence in the performance of official duties which, as earlier mentioned,
are grounds for dismissing a government official or employee from the service.
You are hereby notified that your service as Utility Worker I, this municipality under six (6) month
probationary period, is considered terminated for unsatisfactory conduct or want of capacity, effective August But inefficiency or incompetence can only be determined after the passage of sufficient time, hence, the
14, 2001. probationary period of six (6) months for the respondents. Indeed, to be able to gauge whether a
subordinate is inefficient or incompetent requires enough time on the part of his immediate superior
within which to observe his performance. This condition, however, was not observed in this case. x x x.
You are further notified that after a thorough character investigation made during your such probationary
[Emphasis and underscoring supplied]
period under my administration, your appointment for employment need not be necessary to be
automatically permanent in status. 18
The CSC is the central personnel agency of the government exercising quasi-judicial functions. 22 "In cases filed
before administrative or quasi-judicial bodies, a fact may be deemed established if it is supported by
This notice indisputably lacks the details of Magnayes unsatisfactory conduct or want of capacity. Section VI,
substantial evidence, or that amount of relevant evidence which a reasonable mind might accept as adequate
2.2(b) of the Omnibus Guidelines on Appointments and other Personnel Actions (CSC Memorandum Circular
to justify a conclusion." 23 The standard of substantial evidence is satisfied when, on the basis of the evidence
No. 38, Series of 1993, as amended by CSC Memorandum Circular No. 12, Series of 1994), provides:
on record, there is reasonable ground to believe that the person terminated was evidently wanting in capacity
and had unsatisfactory conduct. In this case, the evidence against Magnaye was woefully inadequate.
2.2. Unsatisfactory or Poor Performance
Moreover, Magnaye was denied due process. We ruled in Tria v. Chairman Patricia Sto. Tomas 24 that the
xxx prohibition in Article IX (B) (2) (3) of the Constitution against dismissal of a civil service officer or employee
"except for cause provided by law" is a guaranty of both procedural and substantive due process. Procedural
due process requires that the dismissal comes only after notice and hearing, 25 while substantive due process
b. An official who, for one evaluation period, is rated poor in performance, may be dropped from the rolls after
requires that the dismissal be "for cause." 26
due notice. Due notice shall mean that the officer or employee is informed in writing of the status of his
performance not later than the fourth month of that rating period with sufficient warning that failure to
improve his performance within the remaining period of the semester shall warrant his separation from the Magnaye was denied procedural due process when he received his notice of termination only a day before he
was dismissed from the service. Evidently, he was effectively deprived of the opportunity to defend himself
from the charge that he lacked the capacity to do his work and that his conduct was unsatisfactory. As well,
during his appeal to the CSCRO-IV, he was not furnished with the submissions of Mayor Bendan a that he could
have opposed. He was also denied substantive due process because he was dismissed from the service
without a valid cause for lack of any factual or legal basis for his want of capacity and unsatisfactory conduct.

Thus, we reject petitioners argument that the CA erred when it acted upon the erroneous remedy availed of
by respondent when he filed a petition for review considering that the assailed decision is not in the nature of
"awards, judgments, final orders or resolutions of or authorized by any quasi-judicial agency in the exercise of
its quasi-judicial functions" as prescribed under Rule 43 of the Rules of Court. While Sections 71 and 72 of
Rule V (B) of the Uniform Rules on Administrative Cases in the Civil

Service 27 provide for the remedy of an appeal from decisions of its regional offices to the Commission proper,
Magnayes petition to the CA comes under the exceptions to the doctrine of exhaustion of administrative
remedies. The CA correctly cited Republic v. Lacap,28 where a violation of due process is listed to be among the
noted exceptions to the rule. As discussed above, Magnayes dismissal was tainted with irregularity because
the notice given to him comes short of the notice contemplated by law and jurisprudence. The CA correctly
exercised jurisdiction over this case where standards of due process had been patently breached.

Having been illegally dismissed, Magnaye should be reinstated to his former position without loss of seniority
and paid backwages and other monetary benefits from the time of his dismissal up to the time of his
reinstatement. In our decision in Civil Service Commission v. Gentallan, 29 we ruled that for reasons of justice
and fairness, an illegally dismissed government employee who is later ordered reinstated is entitled to
backwages and other monetary benefits from the time of his illegal dismissal until his reinstatement because
he is considered as not having left his office.

WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED. The February 20, 2008 Decision of the Court of Appeals and its June 11,
2008 Resolution denying the motion for reconsideration in CA-G.R. No. SP No. 85508 are AFFIRMED.

SO ORDERED.
G.R. No. 189479 April 12, 2011 Japson informed him that a machine error in the computation of his benefits resulted in an overpayment as he
was supposed to receive Php54,000.00. Gaspar handed over the excess P[hp]20,000.00, which Japson
promised to deliver personally to SSS Baguio City. In addition, he paid Japson Php2,000.00 for the assistance
JEROME JAPSON, Petitioner,
he (sic) rendered.
vs.
CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION, Respondent.
In response to the above complaints, the SSS conducted a series of investigation (sic) on the official
transactions of Japson and uncovered details that raised its suspicion. First, the address of claimants to the
DECISION
death benefits of deceased SSS members Kitos Paanos, Warlito Costales and Adriano Castillo as well as the
pension form of SSS retiree Jovita Resquer bore a common address: P-2-35 Gabriela Silang Brgy., Baguio
NACHURA, J.: City[,] which is the address of Japson. They found out, too, that Japson signed and acknowledged the receipt of
checks which were issued to the beneficiaries of Paanos and Castillo. It was further disclosed that Japson
committed lapses in procedure, namely, his failure to stamp "received" on the claim of funeral benefits of
Before this Court is a Petition for Review on Certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court, assailing the
Costales; his having attested to the fact of death of Kitos Paanos even though he has no personal knowledge of
Decision 1dated June 8, 2009 and the Resolution 2 dated September 9, 2009 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-
the same and with apparent conflict of interest due to his assignment at the claims section; and the discovery
G.R. SP No. 104865. The CA affirmed the resolutions of the Civil Service Commission (CSC), finding petitioner
that by (sic) as late as February 2000, he has yet to mail a check issued by the SSS way back on (sic) December
Jerome Japson (Japson), former Senior Member Services Representative assigned at the Social Security
24, 1999. The investigators received reports, too, that he took P[hp]17,000.00 from the benefits awarded to
System (SSS) office in Baguio City (SSS Baguio City), guilty of Dishonesty, Grave Misconduct, and Conduct
one Minda Balucas.
Prejudicial to the Best Interest of the Service, and imposing on him the penalty of dismissal. 3

Upon the recommendation of the investigating unit which found prima facie case to support the complaints,
The antecedent facts, as found by the CSC and adopted by the CA, are as follows:
the SSS, through Carlos A. Arellano, then Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO), formally
charged Japson with Dishonesty, Grave Misconduct and Conduct Prejudicial to the Best Interest of the Service
Records show that Japson became the subject of a series of inquiries conducted by the SSS linking him to a and placed him under preventive suspension of ninety (90) days. After the parties submitted their respective
profiting venture involving the processing of claims for SSS death and funeral benefits while he was assigned pleadings, the formal hearings were held on June 6 and 7, 2000 and November 9, 2000, where Japson testified
at SSS Baguio City from 1997 to May 1998. The inquiry was spurred by an affidavit dated October 6, 1999 of for his defense.
Mina Balanag, who happened to assist her illiterate mother, Cat-an Paanos, in claiming, as beneficiary, the SSS
death benefits of her deceased father, Kitos Paanos. She alleged that because she knew nothing of the steps for
In his testimony which amplified his Counter-Affidavit/Answer to the Formal Charge, Japson who assisted
processing of claims for death benefits, a village mate referred her to spouses Boyet and Shirley Abuan
claimants for death, disability and retirement claims when he was first assigned to the (sic) SSS Bangued[,]
[(Spouses Abuan)] who have been frequenting their village. The [S]pouses Abuans (sic) assured that her
refuted the allegation that he took a hefty share from death and funeral benefits awarded to beneficiaries of
mother will receive the benefits in due time since Shirley has a relative working at the SSS Baguio City who
SSS members referred to him by the [S]pouses Abuan or that he worked in concert with [S]pouses Abuan to
also happened to be their neighbor at (sic) Baguio City. Later, she learned that this neighbor-relative turned
profit from the claimants. First, in response to the allegation of Erano P. Gaspar, he recalled that his cousin,
out (sic) to be Shirleys cousin Japson.
Shirley Abuan, who also happened to be his neighbor, told him that Gaspar was having difficulty in claiming
the SSS benefits of his father when he filed his claim at SSS Solano branch in Nueva Vizcaya. Assessing that
In exchange for their help, the [S]pouses Abuan demanded a share equivalent to 10% of the SSS death benefits some documents required by [the] SSS Solano Branch are not necessary, he brought the papers instead to SSS
that will be awarded to Balanags mother. She reposed her full trust on the Spouses Abuan that even her Baguio City in order to speed up the processing of Gaspars claim. Eventually, a check in the amount of
mothers address in the claim form reflected that of the Spouses Abuans home at P-2-36 Gabriela Silang Brgy., Php74,000.00 was issued by the SSS after which he accompanied Gaspar to claim the check at the Baguio City
Baguio City, although her mother really lives in Bila, Bokod, Benguet. After the claim was approved, the SSS Post Office. After Gaspar cashed (sic) the check, Japson told him matter-of-factly that due to machine error, the
issued a check in the amount of Php183,472.72. After it was cashed (sic), the spouses Abuan allegedly SSS overpaid him by Php20,000.00, producing a copy of the encoding sheet prepared by the Benefits Section
received more than what was originally agreed (sic) since aside from the P[hp]15,000.00 corresponding to which showed the correct computation. Gaspar gave him the excess amount for him to turn over to the SSS.
their "commission," they demanded Php83,000.00 more, purportedly the asking fee of Japson and a certain Afterwards, they retired to Japsons house at Brgy. Gabriela Silang, Baguio City where they had a few rounds of
Atty. Reynaldo Rodeza, who were instrumental for the release of the benefits. Reluctantly, they gave the drinks as it was his cousins birthday. Gaspar insisted on giving him Php2,000.00 but he refused, saying that
amount for fear that the benefits awarded them might be withdrawn. An affidavit dated January 26, 2000[ ] he does not expect any payment for his help more so as they are brothers of faith as both belong to Iglesia ni
was executed by Balanags mother, Cat-an Paanos, to corroborate her allegations. Cristo. Instead, Gaspar just spent the sum to buy food for their drinks. As to the Php20,000.00, Japson
produced a (sic) SSS Special bank receipt dated February 16, 2000 as proof of remittance by Gaspar of the
P[hp]20,000.00 excess amount and a Miscellaneous Payment Return Form bearing an identical date to show
On the other hand, in his affidavit dated January 27, 2000, as well as in his testimony relative thereto, Erano F.
that Japson turned over the amount intact to the SSS.
Gaspar (Ireneo in the Transcript of his Testimony taken on June 6, 2000 before the SSS) alleged that he came
to know Japson through Shirley Abuan after she convinced him to transfer his claim for his fathers death
benefits then pending at SSS Solano, Nueva Vizcaya, to SSS Baguio City, intimating that Japson, who is her With respect to the allegation that a number of applications for benefits suspiciously bore his address even
cousin, could guarantee its prompt release since he was assigned at the claims section there. A meeting with though the applicants were not from Baguio City but in (sic) outlying provinces with SSS branches of their
Japson was then arranged by Shirley after which she filed the claim on October 10, 1997. Sometime on (sic) own, he explained that the [S]pouses Abuan, who were authorized by the claimants to file their application[s]
November 1997, Japson informed Gaspar by telephone that a check in an amount of Php74,000.00 was and to follow-up their claims, might have placed the wrong information since they almost have an identical
already issued to him. On the same day, he went to Baguio City, where, accompanied by Japson, he retrieved address (sic). He did not notice the error since he was accustomed to his old address which he wrote as Lower
(sic) the check at the Baguio Post Office. After opening an account at PNP (sic) Baguio and withdrawing a sum, Hillside, Kennon Road, Baguio City. As to the case of Resquer, he pointed out that their address in the
application clearly showed P-2-45 Brgy. Gabriela Silang and not P-2-35 as claimed in the investigation report. The CA ruled that the CSC resolutions were anchored on substantial evidence. 12 The CA held that it is not for
He also denied that he kept the Php17,000.00 from the benefits awarded to Balucas. He insisted that the sum the appellate court to substitute its own judgment for that of the administrative agency on the sufficiency of
was only entrusted to him for safekeeping since Balucas was afraid to carry such amount when she traveled to evidence and the credibility of witnesses, and its findings may only be set aside on a showing of grave abuse of
Abra, showing as proof thereto a letter dated September 15, 1999 by Balucas acknowledging that Japson discretion. The CA also noted that, on the face of the substantial evidence presented against him, petitioner
already returned the amount to her[,] coupled by a Certification dated September 15, 1999 from Abelardo proffered only denials and presented himself as sole witness during the administrative proceedings. 13
Yogyog, Branch Head of the Abra Provincial Post Office, that the check corresponding to the benefits awarded
to Balucas was delivered to Balucas by mail at her address [on] Harrison St., Zone 7, Bangued, Abra. Japson
Petitioner moved for reconsideration, but the same was denied in a Resolution dated September 9, 2009.
backed up his counter-allegations by producing affidavits both dated February 14, 2003 executed by Balucas
and Resquer clearing him of any wrongdoing and lauding him for the invaluable assistance rendered them. 4
Thus, petitioner filed a Petition for Review on Certiorari before this Court on October 29, 2009. In a
Resolution dated June 22, 2010, the Court dismissed the petition for failure of petitioner to obey a lawful
A case for Dishonesty, Grave Misconduct, and Conduct Prejudicial to the Best Interest of the Service was filed
order of the Court. Petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration of the Resolution, which the Court granted,
against Japson before the SSS. On February 4, 2003, the SSS promulgated a decision finding Japson guilty on
and the petition was reinstated.
all counts.5

Petitioner argues that the CA erred in finding that he was an employee of the SSS, and not of a private
The SSS said that while there was nothing wrong per se with petitioner letting claimants use his home
corporation, at the time of the commission of the offense referred to in Gaspars complaint. He further argues
address for their claims, a perception of material gain is nonetheless indubitable. It pointed out that it was
that where there are conflicting findings between the SSS and the CSC, the Court may make a review of the
highly improbable for claimants from Isabela and Nueva Vizcaya, where there are also SSS branches, to file
facts of the case.14
their claims in Abra. The most logical conclusion, the SSS said, is that they made their claims through the
Spouses Abuan on the latters assurance that these would be processed at the soonest possible time.
Petitioner should have been wary of the number of claims brought to him by the Spouses Abuan, the SSS said, Petitioner claims that, at the time of the alleged recovery of P20,000.00 from Gaspar, he was still employed by
and he should have avoided these claims or referred them to the proper branch offices. 6 The SSS held that it is the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) Service Corporation, although he was detailed at the SSS.
not necessary to show concrete proof of receiving consideration therefor, following the principle of res ipsa Thus, for that offense, the most that the SSS could have done was to refer the matter to DBP for the proper
loquitur.7 disciplinary action.15

Petitioners motion for reconsideration was denied in an Order dated May 12, 2003. He then appealed to the Petitioner emphasizes that he had no hand in filling out the forms for the claims subject of the case. 16 He
CSC. points out that the Spouses Abuan did so. Moreover, there is no evidence to show that he specifically
authorized the Spouses Abuan or any of the claimants involved to use his address.
In a resolution dated August 31, 2006, the CSC affirmed the SSS decision. The CSC underscored the link
between petitioner and the Spouses Abuan, who were suspected of being fixers in the SSS and who allegedly Petitioner also highlights the CSCs finding that there was less than substantial evidence that he financially
ran a venture where they earned cuts or "commissions" from death, disability, and retirement benefits that benefited from the Spouses Abuans transactions. Thus, he argues that the imposition of the penalty is
were awarded to the SSS beneficiaries. The CSC found that the common link to the evidence ranged against unfounded.17
Japson is the fact that he processed the various claims. The CSC also found credence in the following pieces of
evidence: the statements under oath and testimonies of the principal complainants; the appearance of
Petitioner also harps on the SSS standing "file anywhere" policy to counter the allegation of irregularity in the
petitioners address in the Death, Disability, and Retirement Forms of claimants; petitioners attestation to the
filing of claims of non-Baguio City residents before the SSS Baguio City branch where petitioner was
fact of death of several members, whose death benefits he himself processed; the fact that the claimants
assigned.18Likewise, he contends that there was no prejudice to the SSS since all claimants turned out to be
whom petitioner assisted were not from Baguio City; and the fact that these claimants were referred to him by
qualified dependents/beneficiaries.19 He posits that since the CSC found that he had not financially benefited
the Spouses Abuan.8
from the transactions, he should not be penalized or administratively held liable and dismissed from the
service.20
The CSC held that while there is no strong evidence showing that Japson received, collected, or took a share of
the benefits awarded to the claimants, he was still liable for the charges against him because his irregular
In its Comment, the CSC, through the Office of the Solicitor General, argues that the CA correctly upheld its
conduct and indiscriminate judgment relative to the handling of the claims caused a serious breach in the
(CSCs) findings. The CSC maintains that petitioners irregular conduct left the SSS vulnerable to swindlers
integrity of the system observed by the SSS, as well as his having endangered the welfare of the public at
who may use the office as an unwitting instrument to foist their deceit on the hapless public. 21 It said that
large.9
petitioners irregular and indiscriminate judgment relative to the handling of claims caused a serious breach
in the integrity of the system observed by the SSS, as well as his having endangered the welfare of the public
Petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration, which was denied in a resolution dated June 23, 2008. 10 at large.

Petitioner subsequently filed a Petition for Review under Rule 43 of the Rules of Court before the CA. The CA, As to the question of whether there was financial gain, the CSC argues that the same is irrelevant. 22 Petitioner
on June 8, 2009, promulgated a Decision denying the petition and affirming the CSCs August 31, 2006 and is guilty of Dishonesty, Grave Misconduct, and Conduct Prejudicial to the Best Interest of the Service whether
June 23, 2008 resolutions.11 or not he gained from such acts, the CSC said.23
The CSC also insists that petitioner was already an employee of the SSS at the time of the commission of the Taken together, all the circumstances, as found by the SSS and the CSC, show that petitioner committed acts of
offenses, since he was absorbed as a regular employee on May 27, 1998. 24 His failure to refer the matter to his Dishonesty, Grave Misconduct, and Conduct Prejudicial to the Best Interest of the Service.
superiors and keeping the money in his possession even after he was already absorbed as a regular employee
of the SSS caused prejudice to the integrity of the agency, the CSC emphasized. 25
Prejudice to the service is not only through wrongful disbursement of public funds or loss of public property.
Greater damage comes with the publics perception of corruption and incompetence in the government.
The Court finds the petition bereft of merit; hence, the same is denied.
Petitioner is reminded that a public servant must exhibit at all times the highest sense of honesty and
Factual findings made by quasi-judicial bodies and administrative agencies when supported by substantial integrity. The Constitution stresses that a public office is a public trust and public officers must at all times be
evidence are accorded great respect and even finality by the appellate courts. 26 This is because administrative accountable to the people, serve them with utmost responsibility, integrity, loyalty, and efficiency, act with
agencies possess specialized knowledge and expertise in their respective fields. 27 As such, their findings of patriotism and justice, and lead modest lives. These constitutionally-enshrined principles, oft-repeated in our
fact are binding upon this Court unless there is a showing of grave abuse of discretion, or where it is clearly case law, are not mere rhetorical flourishes or idealistic sentiments. They should be taken as working
shown that they were arrived at arbitrarily or in disregard of the evidence on record. 28 standards by all in the public service.35

The Court notes that, although there is some variance in the conclusion arrived at by the SSS and the CSC, WHEREFORE, the foregoing premises considered, the Petition is DENIED for lack of merit.
their findings as to the facts of the case are the same. Both agencies found the evidence for the complainants
credible and proved that petitioner committed the acts complained of. Moreover, the CA sustained these
SO ORDERED.
factual findings. The Court finds no reason to disturb these findings, and therefore adopts the same.

Petitioner makes much of the CSCs finding that he did not financially benefit from the transactions. However,
whether or not petitioner gained any financial benefit is not relevant. Neither is the fact that the government
did not actually lose money through incorrect disbursement of public funds.

When an officer or employee is disciplined, the object sought is not the punishment of such officer or
employee, but the improvement of the public service and the preservation of the publics faith and confidence
in the government.29

In administrative cases, the injury sought to be remedied is not merely the loss of public money or
property.lawphi1 More significant are the pernicious effects of such action on the orderly administration of
government services. Acts that go against the established rules of conduct for government personnel bring
harm to the civil service, whether they result in loss or not.

Petitioner was charged with Dishonesty, Grave Misconduct, and Conduct Prejudicial to the Best Interest of the
Service.

Dishonesty is defined as the concealment or distortion of truth in a matter of fact relevant to ones office or
connected with the performance of his duty. 30 It implies a disposition to lie, cheat, deceive, or defraud;
untrustworthiness; lack of integrity; lack of honesty, probity, or integrity in principle; and lack of fairness and
straightforwardness.31

On the other hand, misconduct is a transgression of some established or definite rule of action, is a forbidden
act, is a dereliction of duty, is willful in character, and implies wrongful intent and not mere error in
judgment.32 More particularly, it is an unlawful behavior by the public officer. 33 The term, however, does not
necessarily imply corruption or criminal intent.34

Petitioners acts clearly reflect his dishonesty and grave misconduct. He was less than forthright in his
dealings with the complainants. He allowed the Spouses Abuan to use his position to make their "clients"
believe that he could give them undue advantage over others without the same connection by processing
their claims faster. Likewise, his acts imply malevolent intent, and not merely error in judgment. He was
aware of what the Spouses Abuan were doing and was complicit in the same. At the very least, he failed to
stop the illegal trade, and that constitutes willful disregard of the laws and rules.
respective resignations, effective immediately." 3 After the presidential acceptance of said "resignations," the
new COMELEC was composed of Ramon H. Felipe, Jr. as Chairman and Commissioners Froilan M. Bacungan,
Leopoldo L. Africa, Haydee B. Yorac, Andres R. Flores, Dario C, Rama and Anacleto D. Badoy, Jr., as members. It
G.R. No. 78957 June 28, 1988
was to this body that Commissioners Agpalo, Ortiz and Marquinez submitted on July 30, 1986 their respective
applications for retirement. They were followed by Commissioner Layosa on August 1, 1986.
MARIO D. ORTIZ, petitioner,
vs.
To justify their petitions for retirement and their requests for payment of retirement benefits, all seven former
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS and COMMISSION ON AUDIT, respondents.
COMELEC Commissioners invoked Republic Act No. l568 as amended by Republic Act No. 3595 and re-
enacted by Republic Act No. 6118, specifically the following provision:
FERNAN, J.:
SECTION 1. When the Auditor General or the Chairman or any Member of the Commission on Elections retires
In this petition for certiorari, petitioner presents before the Court the issue of whether or not a constitutional from the service for having completed his term of office or by reason of his incapacity to discharge the duties
official whose "courtesy resignation" was accepted by the President of the Philippines during the effectivity of of his office, or dies while in the service, or resigns at any time after reaching the age of sixty years but before
the Freedom Constitution may be entitled to retirement benefits under Republic Act No. 1568, as amended. the expiration of his term of office, he or his heirs shall be paid in lump sum his salary for one year, not
exceeding five years, for every year of service based upon the last annual salary that he was receiving at the
time of retirement incapacity, death or resignation, as the case may be: Provided, That in case of resignation,
Petitioner was appointed Commissioner of the Commission on Elections [COMELEC] by then President
he has rendered not less than twenty years of service in the government; And provided, further, That he shall
Ferdinand E. Marcos "for a term expiring May 17, 1992." 1 He took his oath of office on July 30, 1985.
receive an annuity payable monthly during the residue of his natural life equivalent to the amount of monthly
salary he was receiving on the date of retirement, incapacity or resignation.
On March 5, 1986, together with Commissioners Quirino D. Marquinez and Mangontawar G. Guro, petitioner
sent President Corazon C. Aquino a letter which reads as follows:
In its en banc Resolution No. 86-2491 * of August 13, 1986 4 the COMELEC revoked Resolutions Nos. 86-2364
dated April 16, 1986 and 86-2370 dated April 23, 1986, and denied the applications for retirement of
The undersigned Commissioners were appointed to the Commission on Elections on July 30, 1985. Commissioners Marquinez, Agpalo, Ortiz and Layosa on the ground that they were "not entitled to retirement
benefits under Republic Act No. 1568, as amended" without specifying the reason therefor. 5
Following the example of Honorable Justices of the Supreme Court, on the premise that we have now a
revolutionary government, we hereby place our position at your disposal. 2 Petitioner Ortiz moved for the reconsideration of said resolution, contending that he was entitled to the
benefits under Republic Act No. 1568, as amended. He averred therein that he did not resign but simply
placed his position at the disposal of the President; that he had in fact completed his term as Commissioner by
Thereafter, or on March 25,1986, the Freedom Constitution was promulgated through Proclamation No. 3,
the "change in the term of [his] office and eventual replacement," and that he was entitled to retirement
Artide III thereof provides:
benefits under the aforementioned law because Article 1186 of the Civil Code which states that "the condition
[with regard to an obligation] shall be deemed fulfilled when the obligor voluntarily prevents its fulfillment."
SECTION 1. In the reorganization of the government, priority shall be given to measures to promote economy, He invoked the aforequoted provisions of Proclamation No. 3 and cited the cases of former Chief Justice
efficiency, and the eradication of graft and corruption. Ramon C. Aquino and Associate Justice Hermogenes Concepcion, Jr. who were allowed to retire by this Court
and receive retirement benefits. 6
SEC. 2. All elective and appointive officials and employees under the 1973 Constitution shall continue in office
until otherwise provided by proclamation or executive order or upon the designation or appointment and Petitioner's letter/motion for reconsideration was denied by the COMELEC in its en banc resolution of
qualification of their successors, if such is made within a period of one year from February 25, 1986. October 1, 1986.** On December 18, 1986, petitioner appealed the denial of his claim to the Chairman of the
Commission on Audit [COA]. In its memorandum dated January 15, 1987, the COA referred the matter to the
COMELEC resident auditor for comment and recommendation. Having failed to receive any communication
SEC. 3. Any public officer or employee separated from the service as a result of the reorganization effected
from the COA for some six months, on June 3, 1987, petitioner reiterated his appeal thereto. Again, the matter
under this Proclamation shall, if entitled under the laws then in force, receive the retirement and other
was referred to the COMELEC resident auditor with a request for immediate action thereon.
benefits accruing thereunder.

A month later, or on July 9, 1987, petitioner filed the instant petition for certiorari alleging that the
On April 16,1986, the COMELEC, then composed of Chairman Ramon H. Felipe, Jr. and Commissioners Froilan
COMELEC's "arbitrary and unjust denial" of his claim for retirement benefits and of his subsequent motion for
M. Bacungan, Quirino A. Marquinez, Mario D. Ortiz (petitioner herein), Ruben E. Agpalo and Jaime J. Layosa,
reconsideration constitutes "grave and whimsical abuse of discretion amounting to lack of jurisdiction" which
adopted Resolution No. 86-2364 approving the application for retirement of Commissioners Victorino
Savellano and Jaime Opinion. Seven days later, the same body passed Resolution No. 862370 approving the can only be remedied through the instant petition in the absence of an appeal or any plain, speedy and
adequate remedy. 7 In his memorandum, however, petitioner admits that, as correctly stated by the Solicitor
application for retirement of Commissioner Mangontawar B. Guro.
General in respondents' comment on the petition, this petition is basically one for a writ of mandamus aimed
at compelling both the COMELEC and the COA to approve his claim for retirement benefits. 8
On July 21, 1986, the Deputy Executive Secretary requested Acting Chairman Felipe to convey the information
to Commissioners Marquinez, Ortiz, Agpalo and Layosa that the President had "accepted, with regrets, their
We consider this case as a special civil action of both certiorari and mandamus and, notwithstanding the paid. 16Similarly, retirement benefits receivable by public employees are valuable parts of the consideration
Solicitor General's contention that action herein is premature as the COA may yet render a decision favorable for entrance into and continuation in public employment. 17 They serve a public purpose and a primary
to the petitioner, We opt to decide this case to shed light on the legal issue presented. objective in establishing them is to induce able persons to enter and remain in public employment, and to
render faithful and efficient service while so employed. 18
The respondents posit the view that petitioner's "voluntary resignation" prevented the completion of his term
of office, and, therefore, having rendered only sixteen years of service to the government, he is not entitled to Worth noting is the fact that, as originally enacted, Republic Act No. 1568 required not less than twenty years
retirement benefits. 9 of service in the government at the time of the retirement, death or resignation of the Auditor General or the
Chairman and any Member of the COMELEC. The same length of service was required after Republic Act No.
3473 amended the law. However, Republic Act No. 3595 further amended Republic Act No. 1568 and the 20-
We disagree. Petitioner's separation from government service as a result of the reorganization ordained by
year service requirement was mandated only in case of resignation of the public official covered by the law.
the then nascent Aquino government may not be considered a resignation within the contemplation of the
Although Republic Act No. 1568, as amended, was inoperative and abolished in Section 9 of Republic Act No.
law. Resignation is defined as the act of giving up or the act of an officer by which he declines his office and
4968, it was re-enacted under Republic Act No. 6118.
renounces the further right to use it. 10 To constitute a complete and operative act of resignation, the officer or
employee must show a clear intention to relinquish or surrender his position accompanied by the act of
relinquishment. 11 Resignation implies an expression of the incumbent in some form, express or implied, of On the respondents' assertion that the retirement law is clear and hence, there is no room for its
the intention to surrender, renounce and relinquish the office, and its acceptance by competent and lawful interpretation, We reiterate the basic principle that, being remedial in character, a statute creating pensions
authority. 12 should be liberally construed and administered in favor of the persons intended to be benefited
thereby. 19 This is as it should be because the liberal approach aims to achieve the humanitarian purposes of
the law in order that the efficiency, security, and well-being of government employees may be enhanced. 20
From the foregoing it is evident that petitioner's "resignation" lacks the element of clear intention to
surrender his position. We cannot presume such intention from his statement in his letter of March 5, 1986
that he was placing his position at the disposal of the President. He did not categorically state therein that he WHEREFORE, respondent Commission on Elections denial of petitioner's application for retirement benefits
was unconditionally giving up his position. It should be remembered that said letter was actually a response is hereby reversed and set aside. The Commission on Audit and other public offices concerned are directed to
to Proclamation No. 1 which President Aquino issued on February 25,1986 when she called on all appointive facilitate the processing and payment of petitioner's retirement benefits.
public officials to tender their "courtesy resignation" as a "first step to restore confidence in public
administration.
SO ORDERED.

Verily, a "courtesy resignation" can lot properly be interpreted as resignation in the legal sense for it is not
necessarily a reflection of a public official's intention to surrender his position. Rather, it manifests his
submission to the will of the political authority and the appointing power.

A stringent interpretation of courtesy resignations must therefore be observed, particularly in cases involving
constitutional officials like the petitioner whose removal from office entails an impeachment
proceeding. 13 For even if working for the government is regarded as no more than a privilege, discharge for
disloyalty or for doubt about loyalty may involve such legal rights as those in reputation and eligibility for
other employment. 14

The curtailment of his term not being attributable to any voluntary act on the part of the petitioner, equity
and justice demand that he should be deemed to have completed his term albeit much ahead of the date
stated in his appointment paper. Petitioner's case should be placed in the same category as that of an official
holding a primarily confidential position whose tenure ends upon his superior's loss of confidence in him. His
cessation from the service entails no removal but an expiration of his term. 15

As he is deemed to have completed his term of office, petitioner should be considered retired from the service.
And, in the absence of proof that he has been found guilty of malfeasance or misfeasance in office or that there
is a pending administrative case against him, petitioner is entitled to a life pension under Republic Act No.
1568 as amended and reenacted by Republic Act No. 6118. He is, therefore, protected by the mantle of the
Freedom Constitution specifically Article III, Section 3 thereof which was in effect when he was replaced by
the appointment and qualification of a new Commissioner.

Parenthetically, to a public servant, pension is not a gratuity but rather a form of deferred compensation for
services performed and his right thereto commences to vest upon his entry into the retirement system and
becomes an enforceable obligation in court upon fulfillment of all conditions under which it is to be
A.M. No. P-07-2333 December 19, 2007 3) It was verbally admitted by the respondent that she had given birth to two (2) other children before
(formerly OCA IPI No. 07-2510-P) Christian Jeon, but they were conceived and born while respondent was working abroad and before she was
employed in the [Office of the Clerk of Court of the Regional Trial Court of] Alaminos City. 6
ANONYMOUS, complainant,
vs. In this connection, Judge Abella made the following recommendation:
MA. VICTORIA P. RADAM, Utility Worker, Office of the Clerk of Court, Regional Trial Court of Alaminos
City, respondent.
Since respondent admitted that she is single and that she got pregnant and gave birth to a baby boy without
being married to the father of the child, albeit she advanced the reason for her remaining unmarried, it being
RESOLUTION that she and her boyfriend had a mutual plan to migrate to Canada, this Investigating Judge considers that
such conduct of the respondent fell short of the strict standards of Court personnel and contrary to the Code
of Judicial Ethics and the Civil Service Rules. A place in the judiciary demands upright men and women who
CORONA, J.:
must carry on with dignity, hence respondent is guilty of disgraceful and immoral conduct which cannot be
countenanced by the Court. Certainly, the image of the Judiciary has been affected by such conduct of the
In an anonymous letter-complaint dated September 30, 2005, 1 respondent Ma. Victoria Radam, utility worker respondent.
in the Office of the Clerk of Court of the Regional Trial Court of Alaminos City in Pangasinan, was charged with
immorality. The unnamed complainant alleged that respondent was unmarried but got pregnant and gave
Premises considered, it is hereby respectfully recommended that respondent MA. VICTORIA RADAM be
birth sometime in October 2005. 2 The complainant claimed that respondents behavior tainted the image of
accordingly found GUILTY of IMMORAL CONDUCT or ACT UNBECOMING A COURT EMPLOYEE. A suspension
the judiciary.
of one (1) month or a fine of Php5,000.00 is respectfully recommended, with warning that a repetition of the
same or similar act in the future will be dealt with more severely. 7
In connection with the complaint, Judge Elpidio N. Abella 3 conducted a discreet investigation to verify the
allegations against respondent.
After reviewing the findings and recommendation of Judge Abella, the Office of the Court Administrator (OCA)
recommended that, in accordance with Villanueva v. Milan,8 respondent be absolved of the charge of
In his report dated March 8, 2006, Judge Abella made the following findings:
4
immorality because her alleged misconduct (that is, giving birth out of wedlock) did not affect the character
and nature of her position as a utility worker. 9 It observed:
On March 1, 2006, respondent submitted a letter addressed to the Honorable Court Administrator, thru the
undersigned, duly subscribed and sworn to before the Clerk of Court VI of the Court, alleging among others, [T]here is no indication that the relationship of respondent to her alleged boyfriend has caused prejudice to
the following: any person or has adversely affected the performance of her function as utility worker to the detriment of the
public service.
1) She admitted that she is single/unmarried, and indeed she was pregnant and actually gave birth to a baby
boy named Christian Jeon Radam on 03 November 2005 at the Western Pangasinan District Hospital, However, it proposed that she be held liable for conduct unbecoming a court employee and imposed a fine
Alaminos City; of P5,000 for stating in the birth certificate of her child Christian Jeon that the father was "unknown" to her. 10

2) The reason why she did not yet marry the father of her child Christian Jeon was that she and the childs The OCA correctly exonerated respondent from the charge of immorality. However, its recommendation to
father have pending application[s] [to migrate to Canada] as in fact they have [a] mutual plan to remain hold her liable for a charge of which she was not previously informed was wrong.
unmarried [and]
For purposes of determining administrative responsibility, giving birth out of wedlock is not per se immoral
3) Nevertheless, she expressed her remorse and promised not to commit the same mistake and indiscretion in under civil service laws. For such conduct to warrant disciplinary action, the same must be "grossly immoral,"
the future. that is, it must be so corrupt and false as to constitute a criminal act or so unprincipled as to be reprehensible
to a high degree.11
Further investigation reveal[ed] the following:
In Estrada v. Escritor,12 we emphasized that in determining whether the acts complained of constitute
"disgraceful and immoral behavior" under civil service laws, the distinction between public and secular
1) That respondent was appointed as Utility Worker on September 4, 2000;
morality on the one hand, and religious morality, on the other should be kept in mind. 13 The distinction
between public and secular morality as expressed albeit not exclusively in the law, on the one hand, and
2) The father of Christian Jeon Radam is unknown, as shown by the childs Certificate of Live Birth, hereto religious morality, on the other, is important because the jurisdiction of the Court extends only to public and
attached;5 secular morality.14 Thus, government action, including its proscription of immorality as expressed in criminal
law like adultery or concubinage, must have a secular purpose. 15
For a particular conduct to constitute "disgraceful and immoral" behavior under civil service laws, it must be this means that no government employee may be removed, suspended or disciplined unless for cause
regulated on account of the concerns of public and secular morality. It cannot be judged based on personal provided by law27 and after due process. Unless the constitutional guarantee of due process is a mere
bias, specifically those colored by particular mores. Nor should it be grounded on "cultural" values not platitude, it is the Courts duty to insist on its observance in all cases involving a deprivation, denigration or
convincingly demonstrated to have been recognized in the realm of public policy expressed in the dilution of ones right to life, liberty and property.
Constitution and the laws.16At the same time, the constitutionally guaranteed rights (such as the right to
privacy) should be observed to the extent that they protect behavior that may be frowned upon by the
WHEREFORE, the administrative complaint against respondent Ma. Victoria P. Radam is hereby DISMISSED.
majority.17
She is, however, strongly advised to be more circumspect in her personal and official actuations in the future.

Under these tests, two things may be concluded from the fact that an unmarried woman gives birth out of
SO ORDERED.
wedlock:

(1) if the father of the child is himself unmarried, the woman is not ordinarily administratively liable for
disgraceful and immoral conduct. 18 It may be a not-so-ideal situation and may cause complications for both
mother and child but it does not give cause for administrative sanction. There is no law which penalizes an
unmarried mother under those circumstances by reason of her sexual conduct or proscribes the consensual
sexual activity between two unmarried persons. Neither does the situation contravene any fundamental state
policy as expressed in the Constitution, a document that accommodates various belief systems irrespective of
dogmatic origins.19

(2) if the father of the child born out of wedlock is himself married to a woman other than the mother, then
there is a cause for administrative sanction against either the father or the mother. 20 In such a case, the
"disgraceful and immoral conduct" consists of having extramarital relations with a married person. 21 The
sanctity of marriage is constitutionally recognized 22 and likewise affirmed by our statutes as a special contract
of permanent union.23 Accordingly, judicial employees have been sanctioned for their dalliances with married
persons or for their own betrayals of the marital vow of fidelity.

In this case, it was not disputed that, like respondent, the father of her child was unmarried. Therefore,
respondent cannot be held liable for disgraceful and immoral conduct simply because she gave birth to the
child Christian Jeon out of wedlock.

Respondent was indicted only for alleged immorality for giving birth out of wedlock. It was the only charge of
which she was informed. Judge Abellas investigation focused solely on that matter. Thus, the recommendation
of the OCA that she be held administratively liable in connection with an entry in the birth certificate of
Christian Jeon came like a thief in the night. It was unwarranted. Respondent was neither confronted with it
nor given the chance to explain it. To hold her liable for a totally different charge of which she was totally
unaware will violate her right to due process.

The essence of due process in an administrative proceeding is the opportunity to explain ones side, whether
written or verbal.24 This presupposes that one has been previously apprised of the accusation against him or
her. Here, respondent was deprived of both with regard to her alleged unbecoming conduct in relation to a
certain statement in the birth certificate of her child.

An employee must be informed of the charges proferred against him, and the normal way by which the
employee is so informed is by furnishing him with a copy of the charges against him. This is a basic procedural
requirement that cannot [be] dispense[d] with and still remain consistent with the constitutional provision
on due process. The second minimum requirement is that the employee charged with some misfeasance or
malfeasance must have a reasonable opportunity to present his side of the matter, that is to say, his defenses
against the charges levelled against him and to present evidence in support of his defense(s). 25

Ones employment is not merely a specie of property rights. It is also the means by which he and those who
depend on him live.26 It is therefore protected by the guarantee of security of tenure. And in the civil service,
G.R. No. 191218 May 31, 2011 According to GSIS, "[t]he unauthorized changing of IP address gave freedom to respondent to exploit the GSIS
network system and gain access to other restricted network resources, including the internet. It also resulted
to IP address network conflict which caused unnecessary work to and pressure on ITSG personnel who had to
GOVERNMENT SERVICE INSURANCE SYSTEM (GSIS) and WINSTON F. GARCIA, in his capacity as
fix the same. Further, as a consequence, Mayordomos simulation of the RAS IP addresses caused disruption
President and General Manager of the GSIS, Petitioners,
within the GSIS mainframe on-line system affecting both the main and branch offices of the GSIS. His actions
vs.
likewise prevented authorized outside users from accessing the GSIS network through the RAS IP addresses
ARWIN T. MAYORDOMO, Respondent.
he simulated."8

DECISION
In his Memorandum9 dated February 11, 2005, Tiu reported Mayordomos acts to Esperanza R. Fallorina and
Maria Corazon G. Magdurulan,10 with emphasis on the danger of changing IP addresses as a "channel for virus
MENDOZA, J.: proliferation that could result to loss of critical files for all those infected and render said users unproductive."
Tiu also reported that Mayordomo changed his IP address to gain access to the internet as shown by
downloaded programs in his computer that were not allowed or unnecessary for his work.
In this petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, the Government
Service Insurance System (GSIS) and its then President and General Manager, Winston F. Garcia (Garcia),
assail and seek to modify the July 31, 2009 Decision 1 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. SP No. In his written explanation11 of the same date, Mayordomo admitted the acts imputed to him and offered no
105414,2 as reiterated in its February 5, 2010 Resolution 3 denying the motion for reconsideration thereof for excuse therefor. He nonetheless explained his side and claimed that the IP address assigned to him could not
lack of merit. access the network due to a conflict with another IP address. Despite several verbal notices to the Information
Technology Services Group (ITSG), he was simply told that the conflict would eventually disappear. The
network conflict, however, persisted and resulted in the disruption of his work constraining him to use
The Facts:
another IP address to use an officemates laser printer which was only accessible thru the Local Area Network
(LAN). In his desperate need to print a set of financial reports which were considered a "rush job,"
Respondent Arwin T. Mayordomo (Mayordomo) was employed as Accounts Management Specialist of the Mayordomo decided not to request formal assistance in accordance with the proper procedure. He apologized
GSIS Fund Management Accounting Department (FMAD), responsible for the preparation of financial and promised not to change his IP address again, acknowledging the hazards of such careless use of the
statements, from October 2, 2000 until his dismissal on August 31, 2007. 4 system.

Sometime in September 2004, Ignacio L. Liscano (Liscano), then GSIS Information Technology Officer (ITO) III On February 21, 2005, Human Resource Office Vice-President J. Fernando U. Campana issued a
called the attention of Joseph Sta. Romana (Sta. Romana), another ITO, about a network conflict in his memorandum 12 strictly enjoining Mayordomo "not to repeat such actuations, and to follow standard office
personal computer. Sta. Romana conducted a network scan to identify the source of the problem. During the procedures or exercise prudent judgment and obtain the necessary clearance before engaging in any
scan, he discovered that another personal computer within the GSIS computer network was also using the extraordinary measure." In the same memorandum, it was noted that Mayordomo did not heed the earlier
internet protocol (IP) address 5 of Liscanos computer. This other computer was eventually identified as the warning by the ITSG on the effects brought about by the changing of his IP address to the entire network
one assigned to Mayordomo with username "ATMAYORDOMO." system. Further, despite absence of intent to harm the system, his act of changing his IP address to facilitate
the printing of rush accounting reports was "unsanctioned/illegal" because he lacked the authority to access
the network. Thereafter, Mayordomos personal computer was returned to him.
Sta. Romana immediately restored the correct IP address assigned to Mayordomos personal computer. Until
this restoration, Liscano was deprived of access to the GSIS computer network and prevented from
performing his work as ITO. Mayordomo was verbally reminded that he had no authority to change his IP On May 3, 2006, or more than a year later, Mayordomo received a Show-Cause Memorandum from the
address and warned that doing so would result in network problems.6 Investigation Department in connection with his previous acts of changing his IP address. 13 In reply,
Mayordomo admitted that he changed his IP address because the one given to him by the ITSG was in conflict
with some other IP addresses. The ITSG was not able to address this problem, prompting him to change his IP
On February 9, 2005, in the course of another network scan, Sta. Romana again encountered the username
address to be able to perform his work.
"ATMAYORDOMO." This time, an IP address, belonging to the range of the GSIS Remote Access Server
(RAS),7was simulated and used. Knowing that the RAS would provide an exclusive external trafficking route to
the GSIS computer system and realizing that Mayordomo could have gained access to the entire GSIS network In June 2006, President and General Manager Garcia issued a formal administrative charge 14 against
including its restricted resources, Sta. Romana lost no time in reporting the matter to Rolando O. Tiu (Tiu), Mayordomo, for Grave Misconduct and/or Conduct Prejudicial to the Best Interest of the Service. In his July 3,
Vice-President of the Resources Administration Office. Before the IT network personnel could take any action, 2006 Answer,15 Mayordomo admitted that he changed his IP address but he denied having violated any policy
however, Mayordomo restored his assigned IP address. or guideline on the subject because no policy, regulation or rule pertaining to changing of IP address existed
at the time of its commission. It was only on November 10, 2005 when the GSIS adopted a policy against
unauthorized changing of IP addresses. Hence, he could not be held liable in view of the constitutional
The next day, the username "ATMAYORDOMO" appeared again in the scan, this time using two (2) IP
prohibition against ex post facto laws.
addresses of the RAS (143.44.6.1 and 143.44.6.2). With notice to Tiu, Mayordomos personal computer was
pulled out to have the glitches caused by the unauthorized use of the said IP addresses fixed.
On August 6, 2006, Mayordomo submitted his Supplemental Answer with Manifestation, 16 attaching affidavits
of his co-workers stating that he indeed reported the problem with his IP address but this was never fixed by
the ITSG. He also averred that he had previously used a username and password of an officemate with the
blessing and explicit approval of the latter. He then waived a formal investigation and agreed to submit the WHEREFORE, the Motion for Reconsideration of Arwin T. Mayordomo, Accounts Management Specialist, Fund
case for decision on the basis of the evidence on record. Management Accounting Department, Government Service Insurance System (GSIS), is hereby DENIED for
lack of merit. Accordingly, Civil Service Commission (CSC) Resolution No. 08-0713 dated April 21, 2008
STANDS.23
On March 7, 2007, the GSIS rendered its Decision 17 finding Mayordomo guilty of Grave Misconduct and
imposing upon him the penalty of dismissal, with forfeiture of benefits, loss of eligibility and disqualification
from government service. In said Decision, the GSIS discussed the significance of an IP address, viz: The CSC rejected Mayordomos defense of good faith in view of the previous verbal warnings he received. By
changing the IP address of his personal computer for the second time, after notice of its hazardous effects to
the system, Mayordomo committed an act that was inherently wrong. According to the CSC:
"An IP address is an identifier for a computer or device on a TCP/IP network. Networks using the TCP/IP
protocol route messages based on the IP address of the destination. The format of an IP address is a 32-bit
numeric address written as four numbers separated by periods. Each number can be zero to 255. For A perusal of the Motion for Reconsideration shows that Mayordomo did not present new evidence which
example, 1.160.10.240 could be an IP address. Within an isolated network, one can assign IP address at would materially affect the subject Resolution. xxx Movant has the repetitive averments that there was no
random as long as each one is unique." existing company policy that prohibited GSIS employees from changing their IP addresses, and as such, there
was no clear-cut penalty for the said offense; that by changing his IP address, he was in good faith and meant
no harm to the GSIS; that his acts do not constitute Grave Misconduct.
It is clear from the above that no two (2) PCs can have the same IP address. And in the event where two (2)
PCs end up having the same IP address, both PCs would not be able to access the network xxx When the
respondent changed his PCs IP address to that of Mr. Liscanos PC, both the respondent and Mr. Liscano were To these, the Commission emphasizes that in the first place, the act which Mayordomo committed was one
not able to access the GSIS network. To the respondents bad luck, the IP address he used was assigned to the that is inherently wrong. Moreover, the express warning and prohibition given by the GSIS officials when he
PC of an ITSG personnel, thus, the same was immediately investigated and his actions discovered. was first caught changing his IP address is and constitutes the rule that obviously made the act he committed,
prohibited.
xxx
xxx
On the other hand, the "RAS" is a server that is dedicated to handling users who are not on a Local Area
Network (LAN) but need remote access to it." And owing to its function, no restrictions are imposed on the IP Further, since the same act/s undoubtedly caused undue prejudice to the government, in the sense that it
address of the RAS. Thus, in the instances when the respondent simulated the IP address of the RAS, he not exposed the GSIS system to immense risk, movant is correctly found likewise guilty of Conduct Prejudicial to
only jeopardized the accessibility of the GSIS network to outside users, he also gained access to the entire the Best Interest of the Service. But since this second offense has a lighter penalty, such is subsumed under
GSIS network and its other resources, including the internet, which would have otherwise been prohibited to the more grievous offense of Grave Misconduct, which is punishable with the supreme administrative penalty
him. Simply put, the respondent breached the barriers that were put in place to protect the network and its of dismissal.24
other resources from unauthorized incursions when he simulated the RAS IP address.
Undaunted, Mayordomo elevated the case to the CA by way of a petition for review under Rule 43 of the Rules
x x x. of Court. Mayordomo argued that the above CSC Resolutions were issued with grave abuse of discretion
amounting to lack or in excess of jurisdiction. He reiterated his arguments before the GSIS and the CSC, as
follows: that he did not commit so grave an offense to warrant his dismissal from service; that the GSIS
Mayordomo moved for reconsideration of the decision against him arguing against the unfairness and
miserably failed to present evidence showing illwill or bad faith on his part; that his act of changing his IP
severity of his dismissal.18 He argued that his act of changing his IP address was in no way a flagrant disregard
address was not punishable because no existing company policy was in effect at that time and, in fact, it was
of an established rule, not only because no policy penalizing the act existed at that time he committed it, but
only nine months after his act was complained of, when the GSIS issued a policy/guideline on the matter; that
because his reason for doing so even redounded to the benefit of the GSIS. Simply put, absent were the
the Memorandum issued earlier by the Vice-President of the Human Resource Office sufficiently served as his
elements of corruption and the clear intent to violate a law on his part and only the motivation to accomplish
penalty for his careless acts; and that granting that he should be penalized anew, his length of service and
his task reigned upon his judgment.
work performance should be considered for him to merit a lighter penalty than that of dismissal.

In its Resolution dated July 18, 2007, 19 GSIS denied the motion for lack of merit. It explained that the
On July 31, 2009, the CA partly granted the petition. 25 According to the appellate court, while Mayordomo
nonexistence of a policy prohibiting the unauthorized changing of IP addresses might relieve Mayordomo
failed to exercise prudence in resorting to changing his IP address, it could not be said that this act was
from an "administrative offense of violation of reasonable office rules and regulations, his actions and its
characterized by a wrongful use of station or character to procure personal benefit contrary to duty and rights
effects on the GSIS network system fall within the ambit of grave misconduct xxx [T]he assignment of,
of others. GSIS failed to prove that Mayordomo acted out of a sinister motive in resorting to such acts or in
alteration or changing of IP addresses is vested solely on the ITSG. Respondent not being a member of the
order to gain a personal benefit therefrom. The records would only show that Mayordomo did so when he was
ITSG clearly had no authority to alter his IP address, whatever may have been his justification for doing so."
faced with the conflict of his own IP address with others and the urgency of his office tasks. In meting out this
penalty for Simple and not Grave Misconduct, the CA took into consideration Mayordomos length of service in
On September 14, 2007, Mayordomo filed an appeal 20 with the Civil Service Commission (CSC) which the government and his fairly clean record prior to the incident. The dispositive portion of the CA Decision
dismissed it in Resolution 080713,21 for failure to comply with the indispensable requirements under Section thus reads:
46 of the Uniform Rules on Administrative Cases in the Civil Service. 22 On reconsideration, however, the CSC
ruled on the merits of the case and affirmed the findings of the GSIS, thus:
WHEREFORE, the petition is PARTLY GRANTED. Resolution No. 080713 and Resolution No. 081524 of the
Civil Service Commission are AFFIRMED with MODIFICATION. Finding petitioner Arwin T. Mayordomo guilty
of simple misconduct this Court hereby imposes upon him the penalty of suspension of one (1) month and employee is responsible for the misconduct and his participation therein renders him unworthy of trust and
one (1) day. confidence demanded by his position. 31

SO ORDERED.26 In this case, the attending facts and the evidence presented, point to no other conclusion than the
administrative liability of Mayordomo. The Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and
Employees32enunciates the state policy to promote a high standard of ethics in public service, and enjoins
On reconsideration, the CA rejected Mayordomos prayer for payment of backwages corresponding to the
public officials and employees to discharge their duties with utmost responsibility, integrity and competence.
period of his preventive suspension. In its Resolution dated February 5, 2010, the CA emphasized that
Section 4 of the Code lays down the norms of conduct which every public official and employee shall observe
Mayordomo was not completely exonerated from liability for the act complained of. The offense was merely
in the discharge and execution of their official duties, specifically providing that they shall at all times respect
downgraded from grave misconduct to simple misconduct. Therefore, Mayordomos dismissal is "deemed a
the rights of others, and refrain from doing acts contrary to law, good morals, good customs, public policy,
preventive suspension pending his appeal." Thus, he was not entitled to the payment of backwages and
public order, and public interest. Thus, any conduct contrary to these standards would qualify as conduct
other benefits during the said period.
unbecoming of a government employee. 33

Hence, this recourse by the petitioners ascribing serious errors on the part of the CA in modifying the penalty
Here, Mayordomos act of having repeatedly changed his IP address without authority, despite previous
imposed on Mayordomo:
warnings, shows that he did not exercise prudence in dealing with officework and his officemates. After the
first warning he received from the ITSG, Mayordomo should have realized that his unauthorized act brought
I. inconvenience, not only to a fellow employee, Liscano, but to the entire GSIS, which was actually deprived of
service from a paid employee. As if he did not understand the repercussions of his act, he again toyed with his
IP address and deliberately ignored the importance of necessary clearance before engaging in any
THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED ERROR IN DOWNGRADING THE OFFENSE TO SIMPLE
extraordinary measure. Worse, he chose the RAS and gained access to the entire GSIS network, putting the
MISCONDUCT AS IT FAILED TO CONSIDER THE FACT THAT RESPONDENT ALTERED HIS ASSIGNED IP
system in a vulnerable state of security. When Mayordomo was alerted by the hazardous effects of using an IP
ADDRESS NOT ONLY ONCE BUT FOUR (4) TIMES, DESPITE WARNING.
address other than his, he should have realized that, a fortiori, using a RAS IP address would expose the GSIS
system into a more periloussituation.
II.
Indeed, prudence and good sense could have saved Mayordomo from his current tribulation, but he was
THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN NOT ACCORDING RESPECT AND CREDIT TO THE FINDINGS unfortunately stubborn to imbibe advice of caution. His claim that he was obliged to change his IP address
OF THE PETITIONERS AND THE CSC, WHICH WERE SUPPORTED BY MORE THAN THE REQUIRED due to the inaction of the ITSG in resolving the problem with his own IP address, cannot exonerate him from
SUSTANTIAL EVIDENCE. responsibility. Obviously, choosing the RAS IP address to replace his own was way too drastic from sensible
conduct expected of a government employee. Surely, there were other available means to improve his
situation of alleged hampered performance of duties for failure to access the system due to IP conflict.
The petitioners contend that Mayordomo, from the outset, had full knowledge of the nature, purpose, and
Certainly, gaining access to the exclusive external trafficking route to the GSIS computer system was not one of
importance of an IP address and the dire consequences of changing the same. In committing "computer
them.
identity and capacity theft," 27 Mayordomo is guilty of Grave Misconduct, and even Dishonesty, as shown by
substantial evidence. Hence, the CA erred in giving credence to his assertion that his act of changing his IP
address was not attended by corruption and sinister motive, considering that he freely chose to traverse a The Court neither loses sight of the undisputed fact that Vice-President J. Fernando U. Campanas
tortuous path of changing his IP address, to simply print a document for his alleged rush work. While the Memorandum stated that the ITSG discovered unauthorized and unnecessary downloaded programs in
latter task is simply akin to the goal of "reaching Tibet from Nepal," 28 Mayordomo took the most difficult route, Mayordomos personal computer when it was pulled out. Hence, despite his insistence that exigency was his
that of changing his IP address, and worse, into the most powerful IP address in GSIS. For petitioners, sole reason in altering his IP address, sheer common sense and evidence to the contrary belie this.
Mayordomos dubious motive is shown by his desire to "get to the top, with all the privileges, advantages and
practically limitless vista of taking that topmost perch." 29
Mayordomo likewise fails to convince the Court to adhere to his position that the lack of official policy and
guidelines at the time of commission makes the act of unauthorized alteration of IP addresses exempt from
For his part, Mayordomo reasons out that during the time when the GSIS FMAD was in the peak of activities, punishment. While official policy and guidelines apprise covered employees of offenses carrying specific
he was constrained to alter his IP address because of the failure of the ITSG to fix a conflict which effectively penalties, the Court may not close its eyes from the fact that actual notice of the dangers of changing his IP
disrupted his work. He claims to have no reason to cause harm to the system and to the GSIS in general, address was made known to Mayordomo, right after the first incident. The CSC was correct in holding that
because in the first place, he was not informed of the hazards of changing IP addresses. It was only by subsequent to the first warning, Mayordomo was fully aware that changing his IP address without
November 10, 2005, or nine months after the incident, when the GSIS issued a policy/ guideline 30 on the acquiescence from the ITSG, was inherently wrong.
matter.
In the same vein, proof of the alleged damage caused by Mayordomos act to the GSIS system and its use by the
In administrative proceedings, the quantum of proof necessary for a finding of guilt is substantial evidence or general public, is not necessary. The inaccessibility, unnecessary interruption, and downtime to the GSIS
such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind may accept as adequate to support a conclusion. Well- network as may be experienced by outside users, is obvious. Proof that the public was inconvenienced in
entrenched is the rule that substantial proof, and not clear and convincing evidence or proof beyond using the GSIS website is not necessary in order to conclude that the unauthorized changing of IP address can
reasonable doubt, is sufficient as basis for the imposition of any disciplinary action upon the employee. The produce pernicious effects to the orderly administration of government services. It is well-settled that in
standard of substantial evidence is satisfied where the employer, has reasonable ground to believe that the administrative cases, the injury sought to be remedied is not merely the loss of public money or property. Acts
that go against the established rules of conduct for government personnel, [in this case, that of resorting to definite rule of action, more particularly, unlawful behavior or gross negligence by the public officer."
unauthorized and radical solutions, without clearance from appropriate parties] bring harm to the civil [Emphasis ours, citations excluded]
service, whether they result in loss or not.34 This rule is in line with the purpose of administrative
proceedings, which is mainly to protect the public service, based on the time-honored principle that a public
In Cabalitan v. Department of Agrarian Reform,42 the Court sustained the ruling of the CSC that the offense
office is a public trust.35
committed by the employee in selling fake Unified Vehicular Volume Program exemption cards to his
officemates during office hours was not grave misconduct, but conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the
Albeit different in degree, both the CSC and the CA agree that Mayordomo is guilty of misconduct in office. A service. In Mariano v. Roxas,43 the Court held that the offense committed by a CA employee in forging some
long line of cases has defined misconduct as "a transgression of some established and definite rule of action, receipts to avoid her private contractual obligations, was not misconduct but conduct prejudicial to the best
more particularly, unlawful behavior or gross negligence by the public officer." 36 Jurisprudence has likewise interest of the service because her acts had no direct relation to or connection with the performance of her
firmly established that the "misconduct is grave if it involves any of the additional elements of corruption, official duties.
willful intent to violate the law or to disregard established rules, which must be proved by substantial
evidence."37
Accordingly, the complained acts of respondent Mayordomo constitute the administrative offense of Conduct
Prejudicial to the Best Interest of the Service, which need not be related to or connected with the public
To warrant dismissal from the service, the misconduct must be grave, serious, important, weighty, officers official functions. As long as the questioned conduct tarnishes the image and integrity of his/her
momentous, and not trifling. The misconduct must imply wrongful intention and not a mere error of public office, the corresponding penalty may be meted on the erring public officer or employee. 44 Under the
judgment.38 Corruption as an element of grave misconduct consists in the act of an official or employee who Civil Service law and rules, there is no concrete description of what specific acts constitute the grave offense
unlawfully or wrongfully uses her station or character to procure some benefit for herself or for another, at of Conduct Prejudicial to the Best Interest of the Service. Jurisprudence, however, is instructive on this point.
the expense of the rights of others. Nonetheless, "a person charged with grave misconduct may be held liable The Court has considered the following acts or omissions, inter alia, as Conduct Prejudicial to the Best Interest
for simple misconduct if the misconduct does not involve any of the additional elements to qualify the of the Service: misappropriation of public funds, abandonment of office, failure to report back to work without
misconduct as grave. Grave misconduct necessarily includes the lesser offense of simple prior notice, failure to safe keep public records and property, making false entries in public documents and
misconduct."391avvphi1 falsification of court orders.45 The Court also considered the following acts as conduct prejudicial to the best
interest of the service, to wit: a Judges act of brandishing a gun and threatening the complainants during a
traffic altercation; a court interpreters participation in the execution of a document conveying complainants
Based on the foregoing rule, the CA designated Mayordomos offense as Simple Misconduct, on the ground
property which resulted in a quarrel in the latters family. 46
that the elements particular to Grave Misconduct were not adequately proven by the GSIS on which the
burden of proof lay. There being no clear and convincing evidence to show that Mayordomo changed his IP
address for personal or selfish needs, the CA found that his act could not be said to have been tainted with Conduct Prejudicial to the Best Interest of the Service is classified as a grave offense under Section 22(t) of the
"corruption." Omnibus Rules Implementing Book V of Executive Order No. 292 and Other Pertinent Civil Service Laws, with
a corresponding penalty of suspension for six (6) months and one (1) day to one (1) year for the first offense,
and the penalty of dismissal for the second offense.
The Court is inclined to disagree with the CA not only in downgrading the offense from Grave Misconduct to
Simple Misconduct, but on the nature of the offense charged itself. The Court indeed finds Mayordomo
administratively liable, but modifies the designation of the offense and the penalty imposed by the CA. As this is Mayordomos first case, he should be meted the penalty of six (6) months and one (1) day.

The Court has come to a determination that the administrative offense committed by the respondent is not As a final word, the Court makes clear that when an officer or employee is disciplined, the object sought is not
"misconduct." To constitute misconduct, the act or acts must have a direct relation to and be connected with the punishment of that officer or employee, but the improvement of the public service and the preservation of
the performance of official duties. 40 The duties of Mayordomo as a member of the GSIS FMAD surely do not the publics faith and confidence in the government. 47 The respondent is reminded that "the Constitution
involve the modification of IP addresses. The act was considered unauthorized, precisely because dealing with stresses that a public office is a public trust and public officers must at all times be accountable to the people,
the GSIS networks IP addresses is strictly reserved for ITSG personnel who are expectedly knowledgeable in serve them with utmost responsibility, integrity, loyalty, and efficiency, act with patriotism and justice, and
this field. In Manuel v. Calimag, Jr.,41 the Court emphatically ruled: lead modest lives. These constitutionally-enshrined principles, oft-repeated in our case law, are not mere
rhetorical flourishes or idealistic sentiments. They should be taken as working standards by all in the public
service."48
In order to be considered as "misconduct," the act must have a "direct relation to and be connected with
the performance of his official duties amounting either to maladministration or willful, intentional
neglect or failure to discharge the duties of the office. Misconduct in office has been authoritatively WHEREFORE, the July 31, 2009 Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 105414 affirming with
defined by Justice Tuazon in Lacson v. Lopez in these words: "Misconduct in office has a definite and well- modification Resolution No. 080713 and Resolution No. 081524 of the Civil Service Commission, finding the
understood legal meaning. By uniform legal definition, it is a misconduct such as affects his performance of respondent guilty of simple misconduct is REVERSED and SET ASIDE. Respondent Arwin T. Mayordomo is
his duties as an officer and not such only as affects his character as a private individual. In such cases, it has declared GUILTY of Conduct Prejudicial to the Best Interest of the Service and is suspended from service for
been said at all times, it is necessary to separate the character of the man from the character of the officer x x six (6) months and one (1) day.
x x It is settled that misconduct, misfeasance, or malfeasance warranting removal from office of an officer
must have direct relation to and be connected with the performance of official duties amounting either to
SO ORDERED.
maladministration or willful, intentional neglect and failure to discharge the duties of the office x x x More
specifically, in Buenaventura v. Benedicto, an administrative proceeding against a judge of the court of first
instance, the present Chief Justice defines misconduct as referring to a transgression of some established and
G.R. No. 187858 August 9, 2011 Directors, especially when due notice is taken of the fact that the latter officials were charged with the
Ombudsman for various anomalous transactions. 5
THE CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION, Petitioner,
vs. In ruling that the charge of dishonesty had no factual basis, the CSC declared:
RICHARD G. CRUZ, Respondent.
Based on the records of the case, the Commission is not swayed that the failure of Cruz to record his
DECISION attendance on April 21 and 22, 2007 and May 5, 2007, while claiming overtime pay therefor, amounts to
dishonesty. Cruz duly submitted evidence showing his actual rendition of work on those days. The residents
of the place where he worked attested to his presence thereat on the days in question. 6
BRION, J.:

The CSC, however, found the respondent liable for violation of reasonable office rules for his failure to log in
This petition for review on certiorari assails the decision 1 and the resolution 2 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in
and log out. It imposed on him the penalty of reprimand but did not order the payment of back salaries.
CA-G.R. SP No. 105410. These assailed CA rulings reversed and set aside the ruling of the Civil Service
Commission (CSC) in Resolution No. 080305 3 that denied respondent Richard G. Cruzs prayer for the award
of back salaries as a result of his reinstatement to his former position. The CMWD and the respondent separately filed motions for reconsideration against the CSC ruling. CMWD
questioned the CSCs findings and the respondents reinstatement. The respondent, for his part, claimed that
he is entitled to back salaries in light of his exoneration from the charges of grave misconduct and dishonesty.
THE FACTS
The CSC denied both motions.

The respondent, Storekeeper A of the City of Malolos Water District (CMWD), was charged with grave
Both the CMWD and the respondent elevated the CSC ruling to the CA via separate petitions for review under
misconduct and dishonesty by CMWD General Manager (GM) Nicasio Reyes. He allegedly uttered a false,
Rule 43 of the Rules of Court. The CA dismissed the CMWDs petition and this ruling has lapsed to
malicious and damaging statement (Masasamang tao ang mga BOD at General Manager) against GM Reyes
finality.7Hence, the issue of reinstatement is now a settled matter. As outlined below, the CA ruled in the
and the rest of the CMWD Board of Directors (Board); four of the respondents subordinates allegedly
respondents favor on the issue of back salaries. This ruling is the subject of the present petition with us.
witnessed the utterance. The dishonesty charge, in turn, stemmed from the respondents act of claiming
overtime pay despite his failure to log in and out in the computerized daily time record for three working
days. CA RULING

The respondent denied the charges against him. On the charge of grave misconduct, he stressed that three of Applying the ruling in Bangalisan v. Hon. CA, 8 the CA found merit in the respondents appeal and awarded him
the four witnesses already retracted their statements against him. On the charge of dishonesty, he asserted back salaries from the time he was dismissed up to his actual reinstatement. The CA reasoned out that CSC
that he never failed to log in and log out. He reasoned that the lack of record was caused by technical Resolution No. 080305 totally exonerated the respondent from the charges laid against him. The CA
computer problems. The respondent submitted documents showing that he rendered overtime work on the considered the charge of dishonesty successfully refuted as the respondent showed that he performed
three days that the CMWD questioned. overtime service. The CA thereby rejected the CSCs contention that the charge of dishonesty had been merely
downgraded to a lesser offense; the CA saw the finding in CSC Resolution No. 080305 to be for an offense
(failing to properly record his attendance) entirely different from the dishonesty charge because their factual
GM Reyes preventively suspended the respondent for 15 days. Before the expiration of his preventive
bases are different. Thus, to the CA, CSC Resolution No. 080305 did not wholly restore the respondents rights
suspension, however, GM Reyes, with the approval of the CMWD Board, found the respondent guilty of grave
as an exonerated employee as it failed to order the payment of his back salaries. The CA denied the CSCs
misconduct and dishonesty, and dismissed him from the service.4
motion for reconsideration.

CSC RULING
ISSUE

The respondent elevated the findings of the CMWD and his dismissal to the CSC, which absolved him of the
WHETHER OR NOT [THE] RESPONDENT IS ENTITLED TO BACK SALARIES AFTER THE CSC ORDERED HIS
two charges and ordered his reinstatement. In CSC Resolution No. 080305, the CSC found no factual basis to
REINSTATEMENT TO HIS FORMER POSITION, CONSONANT WITH THE CSC RULING THAT HE WAS GUILTY
support the charges of grave misconduct and dishonesty.
ONLY OF VIOLATION OF REASONABLE OFFICE RULES AND REGULATIONS. 9

In ruling that the respondent was not liable for grave misconduct, the CSC held:
CSCs position

Cruz was adjudged guilty of grave misconduct for his alleged utterance of such maligning statements,
The CSC submits that the CA erred in applying the ruling in Bangalisan, requiring as a condition for
"MASASAMANG TAO ANG MGA BOD AT GENERAL MANAGER". However, such utterance, even if it were true,
entitlement to back salaries that the government employee be found innocent of the charge and that the
does not constitute a flagrant disregard of rule or was actuated by corrupt motive. To the mind of the
suspension be unjustified. CSC Resolution No. 080305 did not fully exculpate the respondent but found him
Commission, it was a mere expression of disgust over the management style of the GM and the Board of
liable for a lesser offense. Likewise, the respondents preventive suspension pending appeal was justified (4) An appeal shall not stop the decision from being executory, and in case the penalty is suspension or
because he was not exonerated. removal, the respondent shall be considered as having been under preventive suspension during the
pendency of the appeal in the event he wins an appeal. (italics ours)
The CSC also submits that the factual considerations in Bangalisan are entirely different from the
circumstances of the present case. In Bangalisan, the employee, Rodolfo Mariano, a public school teacher, was This provision, however, on its face, does not support a claim for back salaries since it does not expressly
charged with grave misconduct for allegedly participating, together with his fellow teachers, in an illegal mass provide for back salaries during this period; our established rulings hold that back salaries may not be
action. He was ordered exonerated from the misconduct charge because of proof that he did not actually awarded for the period of preventive suspension 16 as the law itself authorizes its imposition so that its legality
participate in the mass action, but was absent from work for another reason. Although the employee was is beyond question.
found liable for violation of office rules and regulations, he was considered totally exonerated because his
infraction stemmed from an act entirely different (his failure to file a leave of absence) from the act that was
To resolve the seeming conflict, the Court crafted two conditions before an employee may be entitled to back
the basis of the grave misconduct charge (the unjustified abandonment of classes to the prejudice of the
salaries: a) the employee must be found innocent of the charges and b) his suspension must be
students).
unjustified.17The reasoning behind these conditions runs this way: although an employee is considered under
preventive suspension during the pendency of a successful appeal, the law itself only authorizes preventive
The CSC argues that in the present case, the charge of dishonesty and the infraction committed by the suspension for a fixed period; hence, his suspension beyond this fixed period is unjustified and must be
respondent stemmed from a single act his failure to properly record his attendance. Thus, the respondent compensated.
cannot be considered totally exonerated; the charge of dishonesty was merely downgraded to a violation of
reasonable office rules and regulations.
The CSCs rigid and mechanical application of these two conditions may have resulted from a misreading of
our rulings on the matter; hence, a look at our jurisprudence appears in order.
Accordingly, the CSC posits that the case should have been decided according to our rulings in Jacinto v.
CA10and De la Cruz v. CA11 where we held the award of back salaries to be inappropriate because the teachers
Basis for award of back salaries
involved were not fully exonerated from the charges laid against them.

The Court had the occasion to rule on the issue of entitlement to back salaries as early as 1941, 18 when
The respondents position
Section 260 of the Revised Administrative Code of 1917 (RAC) 19 was the governing law. The Court held that a
government employee, who was suspended from work pending final action on his administrative case, is not
The respondent maintains that he is entitled to reinstatement and back salaries because CSC Resolution No. entitled to back salaries where he was ultimately removed due to the valid appointment of his successor. No
080305 exonerated him from the charges laid against him; for the purpose of entitlement to back salaries, exoneration or reinstatement, of course, was directly involved in this case; thus, the question of back salaries
what should control is his exoneration from the charges leveled against him by the CMWD. That the after exoneration and reinstatement did not directly arise. The Court, however, made the general statement
respondent was found liable for a violation different from that originally charged is immaterial for purposes that:
of the back salary issue.
As a general proposition, a public official is not entitled to any compensation if he has not rendered any
The respondent also asserts that the Bangalisan ruling squarely applies since the CSC formally admitted in its service, and the justification for the payment of salary during the period of suspension is that the suspension
Comment to CMWDs petition for review before the CA that the penalty of reprimand is not a reduced penalty was unjustified or that the official was innocent. Hence, the requirement that, to entitle to payment of salary
for the penalty of dismissal imposable for grave misconduct and dishonesty. 12 during suspension, there must be either reinstatement of the suspended person or exoneration if death
should render reinstatement impossible.20 (emphasis and underscoring ours)
THE COURTS RULING
In Austria v. Auditor General, 21 a high school principal, who was penalized with demotion, claimed payment of
back salaries from the time of his suspension until his appointment to the lower position to which he was
We deny the petition for lack of merit.
demoted. He argued that his later appointment even if only to a lower position of classroom teacher
amounted to a reinstatement under Section 260 of the RAC. The Court denied his claim, explaining that the
The issue of entitlement to back salaries, for the period of suspension pending appeal, 13 of a government reinstatement under Section 260 of the RAC refers to the same position from which the subordinate officer or
employee who had been dismissed but was subsequently exonerated is settled in our jurisdiction. The Courts employee was suspended and, therefore, does not include demotional appointments. The word
starting point for this outcome is the "no work-no pay" principle public officials are only entitled to "reinstatement" was apparently equated to exoneration.
compensation if they render service. We have excepted from this general principle and awarded back salaries
even for unworked days to illegally dismissed or unjustly suspended employees based on the constitutional
In the 1961 case of Gonzales v. Hon. Hernandez, etc. and Fojas 22 interpreting the same provision, the Court
provision that "no officer or employee in the civil service shall be removed or suspended except for cause
first laid down the requisites for entitlement to back salaries. Said the Court:
provided by law"; 14 to deny these employees their back salaries amounts to unwarranted punishment after
they have been exonerated from the charge that led to their dismissal or suspension. 15
A perusal of the decisions of this Court 23 x x x show[s] that back salaries are ordered paid to an officer or an
employee only if he is exonerated of the charge against him and his suspension or dismissal is found and
The present legal basis for an award of back salaries is Section 47, Book V of the Administrative Code of 1987.
declared to be illegal. In the case at bar, [the employee] was not completely exonerated, because although the
decision of the Commissioner of Civil Service [ordering separation from service] was modified and [the
Section 47. Disciplinary Jurisdiction. x x x.
employee] was allowed to be reinstated, the decision [imposed upon the employee the penalty of two months considered as not having been separated from his office. The lower court has correctly held that the
suspension without pay]. [emphasis and underscoring ours] [employee] is entitled to back salaries.29

Obviously, no exoneration actually resulted and no back salary was due; the liability for the offense charged The Tan ala ruling was reiterated in Cristobal v. Melchor, 30 Tan, Jr. v. Office of the President, 31 De Guzman v.
remained, but a lesser penalty was imposed. CSC32 and Del Castillo v. CSC33 - cases involving government employees who were dismissed after being found
administratively liable, but who were subsequently exonerated on appeal.
In Villamor, et al. v. Hon. Lacson, et al.,24 the City Mayor ordered the dismissal from the service of city
employees after finding them guilty as charged. On appeal, however, the decision was modified by considering In Garcia v. Chairman Commission on Audit, 34 the Court held that where the employee, who was dismissed
"the suspension of over one year x x x, already suffered x x x [to be] sufficient punishment" 25 and by ordering after being found administratively liable for dishonesty, was acquitted on a finding of innocence in the
their immediate reinstatement to the service. The employees thereupon claimed that under Section 695 of the criminal case (for qualified theft) based on the same acts for which he was dismissed the executive pardon
RAC, the punishment of suspension without pay cannot exceed two (2) months. Since the period they were granted him in the administrative case (in light of his prior acquittal) entitled him to back salaries from the
not allowed to work until their reinstatement exceeded two months, they should be entitled to back salaries time of his illegal dismissal up to his actual reinstatement.
corresponding to the period in excess of two months. In denying the employees claim for back salaries, the
Court held:
The above situation should be distinguished from the case of an employee who was dismissed from the
service after conviction of a crime and who was ordered reinstated after being granted pardon. We held that
The fallacy of [the employees] argument springs from their assumption that the modified decision had he was not entitled to back salaries since he was not illegally dismissed nor acquitted of the charge against
converted the penalty to that of suspension. The modified decision connotes that although dismissal or him.35
resignation would be the proper penalty, the separation from work for the period until their reinstatement,
would be deemed sufficient. Said decision did not, in the least, insinuate that suspension should have been the
Incidentally, under the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, 36 if the public official or employee is acquitted of
penalty.
the criminal charge/s specified in the law, he is entitled to reinstatement and the back salaries withheld
during his suspension, unless in the meantime administrative proceedings have been filed against him.
x x x [T]he modified decision did not exonerate the petitioners. x x x And even if we consider the punishment
as suspension, before a public official or employee is entitled to payment of salaries withheld, it should be
In Tan, Jr. v. Office of the President, 37 the Court clarified that the silence of Section 42 (Lifting of Preventive
shown that the suspension was unjustified or that the employee was innocent of the charges proffered against
Suspension Pending Administrative Investigation) of the Civil Service Decree 38 on the payment of back
him.26
salaries, unlike its predecessor, 39 is no reason to deny back salaries to a dismissed civil servant who was
ultimately exonerated.
On the whole, these rulings left the application of the conditions for the award of back salaries far from clear.
Jurisprudence did not strictly observe the requirements earlier enunciated in Gonzales as under subsequent
Section 42 of P.D. No. 807, however, is really not in point x x x [as] it does not cover dismissed civil servants
rulings, the innocence of the employee alone served as basis for the award of back salaries.
who are ultimately exonerated and ordered reinstated to their former or equivalent positions. The rule in the
latter instance, just as we have said starting with the case of Cristobal vs. Melchor is that when "a government
The innocence of the employee as sole basis for an award of back salaries official or employee in the classified civil service had been illegally dismissed, and his reinstatement had later
been ordered, for all legal purposes he is considered as not having left his office, so that he is entitled to all the
rights and privileges that accrue to him by virtue of the office that he held." 40
In Tan v. Gimenez, etc., and Aguilar, etc., 27 we ruled that the payment of back salary to a government employee,
who was illegally removed from office because of his eventual exoneration on appeal, is merely incidental to
the ordered reinstatement. These cited cases illustrate that a black and white observance of the requisites in Gonzales is not required at
all times. The common thread in these cases is either the employees complete exoneration of the
administrative charge against him (i.e., the employee is not found guilty of any other offense), or the
Tan was subsequently reiterated in Tan ala v. Legaspi, et al., 28 a case involving an employee who was
employees acquittal of the criminal charge based on his innocence. If the case presented falls on either of
administratively dismissed from the service following his conviction in the criminal case arising from the
these instances, the conditions laid down in Gonzales become the two sides of the same coin; the requirement
same facts as in the administrative case. On appeal, however, he was acquitted of the criminal charge and was
that the suspension must be unjustified is automatically subsumed in the other requirement of exoneration.
ultimately ordered reinstated by the Office of the President. Failing to secure his actual reinstatement, he filed
a mandamus petition to compel his superiors to reinstate him and to pay his back salaries from the date of his
suspension to the date of his actual reinstatement. We found merit in his plea and held: Illegal suspension as sole basis for an award of back salaries

[The employee] had been acquitted of the criminal charges x x x, and the President had reversed the decision By requiring the concurrence of the two conditions, Gonzales apparently made a distinction between
x x x in the administrative case which ordered his separation from the service, and the President had ordered exoneration and unjustified suspension/dismissal. This distinction runs counter to the notion that if an
his reinstatement to his position, it results that the suspension and the separation from the service of the employee is exonerated, the exoneration automatically makes an employees suspension unjustified. However,
[employee] were thereby considered illegal. x x x. in Abellera v. City of Baguio, et al., 41 the Court had the occasion to illustrate the independent character of these
two conditions so that the mere illegality of an employees suspension could serve as basis for an award of
back salaries.
x x x [In this case,] by virtue of [the Presidents order of reinstatement], [the employees] suspension and
separation from the service x x x was thereby declared illegal, so that for all intents and purposes he must be
Abellera, a cashier in the Baguio City Treasurers Office, was ordered dismissed from the service after being This being so, Engineer Miranda is entitled to backwages during the period of his suspension as it is already
found guilty of dishonesty and gross negligence. Even before the period to appeal expired, the City of Baguio settled in this jurisdiction that a government official or employee is entitled to backwages not only if he is
dismissed him from the service. On appeal, however, the penalty imposed on him was reduced "to two months exonerated in the administrative case but also when the suspension is unjustified.50 (emphases and
suspension, without pay" although the appealed decision was affirmed "in all other respects." underscoring ours)

When the issue of Abelleras entitlement to back salaries reached the Court, we considered the illegality of Jurisprudential definition of exoneration
Abelleras suspension - i.e., from the time he was dismissed up to the time of his actual reinstatement to be a
sufficient ground to award him back salaries.
The mere reduction of the penalty on appeal does not entitle a government employee to back salaries if he
was not exonerated of the charge against him. This is the Courts teaching in City Mayor of Zamboanga v.
The rule on payment of back salaries during the period of suspension of a member of the civil service who is CA.51 In this case, the employee was initially found guilty of disgraceful and immoral conduct and was given
subsequently ordered reinstated, is already settled in this jurisdiction. Such payment of salaries the penalty of dismissal by the City Mayor of Zamboanga. On appeal, however, the CA limited the employees
corresponding to the period when an employee is not allowed to work may be decreed not only if he is found guilt to improper conduct and correspondingly reduced the penalty to "six-months suspension without pay
innocent of the charges which caused his suspension (Sec. 35, RA 2260), but also when the suspension is with a stern warning that repetition of the same or similar offense will be dealt with more severely." 52 The CA
unjustified. also awarded him "full backwages." 53

In the present case, upon receipt of the [Civil Service Commissioners] decision x x x finding [Abellera] guilty, We held that the CA erred in awarding back salaries by reiterating the principle that back salaries may be
but even before the period to appeal had expired, [the Baguio City officials] dismissed [Abellera] from the ordered paid to an officer or employee only if he is exonerated of the charge against him and his suspension
service and another one was appointed to replace him. [Abelleras] separation x x x before the decision of the or dismissal is found and declared to be illegal.54
Civil Service Commissioner had become final was evidently premature. [The Baguio City officials] should have
realized that [Abellera] still had the right to appeal the Commissioner's decision to the Civil Service Board of
The Court had the occasion to explain what constitutes "exoneration" in Bangalisan v. Hon. CA, 55 the
Appeals within a specified period, and the possibility of that decision being reversed or modified. 42 As it did
respondents cited case. In this case, the Secretary of Education found the public school teachers guilty as
happen on such appeal x x x the penalty imposed by the Commissioner was reduced x x x to only 2 months
charged and imposed on them the penalty of dismissal. On appeal, the CSC affirmed the Secretarys ruling but
suspension. And yet, by [the Baguio City officials] action, [Abellera] was deprived of work for more than 2
reduced the penalty imposed to suspension without pay. However, the CSC found one of the teachers
years. Clearly, Abelleras second suspension from office [i.e., from the time he was dismissed up to his actual
(Mariano) guilty only of violation of reasonable office rules and regulations, and only penalized her with
reinstatement] was unjustified, and the payment of the salaries corresponding to said period is, consequently,
reprimand. None of the petitioning public school teachers were awarded back salaries.
proper.43 (emphases and underscoring ours)

On appeal to this Court, we awarded back salaries to Mariano. We explained that since the factual premise of
The import of the Abellera ruling was explained by the Court in the subsequent case of Yarcia v. City of
the administrative charges against him - i.e., his alleged participation in the illegal mass actions, and his
Baguio44that involved substantially similar facts. The Court clarified that the award of back salaries in Abellera
suspension - was amply rebutted, then Mariano was in effect exonerated of the charges against him and was,
was based on the premature execution of the decision (ordering the employees dismissal from the service),
thus, entitled to back salaries for the period of his suspension pending appeal.
resulting in the employees unjustified "second suspension." Under the then Civil Service Rules, the
Commissioner of Civil Service had the discretion to order the immediate execution of his decision in
administrative cases "in the interest of public service." Unlike in Abellera, this discretion was exercised in With respect to petitioner Rodolfo Mariano, payment of his back wages is in order. A reading of the resolution
Yarcia; consequently, the employees separation from the service pending his appeal "remained valid and of the [CSC] will show that he was exonerated of the charges which formed the basis for his suspension. The
effective until it was set aside and modified with the imposition of the lesser penalty." 45 Secretary of the DECS charged him with and he was later found guilty of grave misconduct x x x [and] conduct
prejudicial to the best interest of the service x x x for his participation in the mass actions x x x. It was his
alleged participation in the mass actions that was the basis of his preventive suspension and, later, his
The unjustified "second suspension" mentioned in Abellera actually refers to the period when the employee
dismissal from the service.
was dismissed from the service up to the time of his actual reinstatement. Under our present legal landscape,
this period refers to "suspension pending appeal." 46
However, the [CSC], in the questioned resolution, made [the] finding that Mariano was not involved in the
"mass actions" but was absent because he was in Ilocos Sur to attend the wake and interment of his
In Miranda v. Commission on Audit, 47 the Court again had the occasion to consider the illegality of the
grandmother. Although the CSC imposed upon him the penalty of reprimand, the same was for his violation of
suspension of the employee as a separate ground to award back salaries. Following the filing of several
reasonable office rules and regulations because he failed to inform the school or his intended absence and
administrative charges against him, Engr. Lamberto Miranda was "preventively" suspended from June 2, 1978
neither did he file an application for leave covering such absences.
to May 7, 1986. He was reinstated on May 22, 1986. On October 7, 1986, the administrative case against him
was finally dismissed "for lack of evidence." When his claim for back salaries (from the time he was
"preventively" suspended up to his actual reinstatement) was denied by the Commission on Audit, he brought xxxx
a certiorari petition with this Court.
However, with regard to the other petitioners, the payment of their back wages must be denied. Although the
In granting the petition, the Court ruled that since the law 48 limits the duration of preventive suspension to a penalty imposed on them was only suspension, they were not completely exonerated of the charges against
fixed period, Engr. Mirandas suspension for almost eight (8) years is "unreasonable and unjustified." them. The CSC made specific findings that, unlike petitioner Mariano, they indeed participated in the mass
Additionally, the Court observed that the dropping of the administrative case against Engr. Miranda for lack of actions. It will be noted that it was their participation in the mass actions that was the very basis of the
evidence "is even an eloquent manifestation that the suspension is unjustified." 49 The Court held: charges against them and their subsequent suspension. 56
Bangalisan clearly laid down the principle that if the exoneration of the employee is relative (as distinguished Bangalisan, Jacinto and De la Cruz illustrate
from complete exoneration), an inquiry into the factual premise of the offense charged and of the offense
committed must be made. If the administrative offense found to have been actually committed is of lesser
the application of the two conditions
gravity than the offense charged, the employee cannot be considered exonerated if the factual premise for the
imposition of the lesser penalty remains the same. The employee found guilty of a lesser offense may only be
entitled to back salaries when the offense actually committed does not carry the penalty of more than one Both the CA and the respondent applied Bangalisan to justify the award of back salaries. The CSC argues
month suspension or dismissal.57 against this position with the claim that the rulings in Jacinto and De la Cruz, not Bangalisan, should apply.
After due consideration, we see no reason why the cited rulings and their application should be pitted against
one another; they essentially espouse the same conclusions after applying the two conditions for the payment
Bangalisan reiterated that the payment of back salaries, during the period of suspension of a member of the
of back salaries.
civil service who is subsequently ordered reinstated, may be decreed only if the employee is found innocent of
the charges which caused the suspension and when the suspension is unjustified. This pronouncement was
re-echoed in Jacinto v. CA,58 De la Cruz v. CA,59 and Hon. Gloria v. CA.60 Taking off from Bangalisan, the Court in Bangalisan, Jacinto and De la Cruz all stemmed from the illegal mass actions of public school teachers in Metro
De la Cruz categorically stated: Manila in 1990. The teachers were charged with grave misconduct, gross neglect of duty, and gross violation
of civil service law, rules and regulations, among others. The then Secretary of Education found them guilty
and dismissed them from the service. The CSC, on appeal, ordered the teachers reinstated, but withheld the
The issue of whether back wages may be awarded to teachers ordered reinstated to the service after the
grant of their back salaries. The CSC found the teachers liable for conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the
dismissal orders x x x were commuted by the CSC to six (6) months suspension is already settled.
service and imposed on them the penalty of suspension. The CSC reasoned that since the teachers were not
totally exculpated from the charge (but were found guilty of a lesser offense), they could not be awarded back
In Bangalisan v. Court of Appeals, we resolved the issue in the negative on the ground that the teachers were salaries.
neither exonerated nor unjustifiably suspended, two (2) circumstances necessary for the grant of back wages
in administrative disciplinary cases. 61
When these cases reached the Court, the issue of the teachers entitlement to back salaries was raised. The
teachers claimed that they were entitled to back salaries from the time of their dismissal or suspension until
In Hon. Gloria, involving the same factual situation as Bangalisan, the CA awarded the public school teachers their reinstatement, arguing that they were totally exonerated from the charges since they were found guilty
back salaries - for the period beyond the allowable period of preventive suspension - since they were only of conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service.
ultimately exonerated. In affirming the CA, the Court distinguished preventive suspension from suspension
pending appeal for the purpose of determining the extent of an employees entitlement to back salaries. The
Under this factual backdrop, we applied the two conditions and distinguished between the teachers who were
Court ruled that under Executive Order (E.O.) No. 292, there are two kinds of preventive suspension of civil
absent from their respective classes because they participated in the illegal mass action, on one hand, and the
service employees who are charged with offenses punishable by removal or suspension: (i) preventive
teachers who were absent for some other reason, on the other hand.
suspension pending investigation62 and (ii) preventive suspension pending appeal;63 compensation is due only
for the period of preventive suspension pending appeal should the employee be ultimately exonerated.64 Citing
Floyd R. Mechem's A Treatise on the Law of Public Offices and Officers, 65 Hon. Gloria ruled: With respect to the teachers who participated in the illegal mass actions, we ruled that they were not entitled
to back salaries since they were not exonerated. We explained that liability for a lesser offense, carrying a
penalty less than dismissal, is not equivalent to exoneration. On the second condition, we ruled that their
Thus, it is not enough that an employee is exonerated of the charges against him. In addition, his suspension
suspension is not unjustified since they have given a ground for their suspension i.e., the unjustified
must be unjustified. The case of Bangalisan v. Court of Appeals itself similarly states that "payment of salaries
abandonment of their classes to the prejudice of their students, the very factual premise of the administrative
corresponding to the period [1] when an employee is not allowed to work may be decreed if he is found
charges against them for which they were suspended.
innocent of the charges which caused his suspension and [2] when the suspension is unjustified." 66 (emphases
and underscoring ours)
With respect to the teachers who were away from their classes but did not participate in the illegal strike, the
Court awarded them back salaries, considering that: first, they did not commit the act for which they were
A careful reading of these cases would reveal that a strict observance of the second condition for an award of
dismissed and suspended; and second, they were found guilty of another offense, i.e., violation of reasonable
back salaries becomes important only if the employee is not totally innocent of any administrative infraction.
office rules and regulations which is not penalized with suspension or dismissal. The Court ruled that these
As previously discussed, where the employee is completely exonerated of the administrative charge or
teachers were totally exonerated of the charge, and found their dismissal and suspension likewise unjustified
acquitted in the criminal case arising from the same facts based on a finding of innocence, the second
since the offense they were found to have committed only merited the imposition of the penalty of
requirement becomes subsumed in the first. Otherwise, a determination of the act/s and offense/s actually
reprimand.1avvphi1
committed and of the corresponding penalty imposed has to be made.

These cases show the Courts consistent stand in determining the propriety of the award of back salaries. The
Unjustified suspension
government employees must not only be found innocent of the charges; their suspension must likewise be
shown to be unjustified.
On the suspension/dismissal aspect, this second condition is met upon a showing that the separation from
office is not warranted under the circumstances because the government employee gave no cause for
The Present Case
suspension or dismissal. This squarely applies in cases where the government employee did not commit the
offense charged, punishable by suspension or dismissal (total exoneration); or the government employee is
found guilty of another offense for an act different from that for which he was charged.
We find that the CA was correct in awarding the respondent his back salaries during the period he was
suspended from work, following his dismissal until his reinstatement to his former position. The records
show that the charges of grave misconduct and dishonesty against him were not substantiated. As the CSC
found, there was no corrupt motive showing malice on the part of the respondent in making the complained
utterance. Likewise, the CSC found that the charge of dishonesty was well refuted by the respondents
evidence showing that he rendered overtime work on the days in question.

We fully respect the factual findings of the CSC especially since the CA affirmed these factual findings.
However, on the legal issue of the respondents entitlement to back salaries, we are fully in accord with the
CAs conclusion that the two conditions to justify the award of back salaries exist in the present case.

The first condition was met since the offense which the respondent was found guilty of (violation of
reasonable rules and regulations) stemmed from an act (failure to log in and log out) different from the act of
dishonesty (claiming overtime pay despite his failure to render overtime work) that he was charged with.

The second condition was met as the respondents committed offense merits neither dismissal from the
service nor suspension (for more than one month), but only reprimand.

In sum, the respondent is entitled to back salaries from the time he was dismissed by the CMWD until his
reinstatement to his former position - i.e., for the period of his preventive suspension pending appeal. For the
period of his preventive suspension pending investigation, the respondent is not entitled to any back salaries
per our ruling in Hon. Gloria.67

WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby DENIED. Costs against the petitioner.

SO ORDERED.
G. R. No. 146933 June 8, 2006 No abuse of discretion may properly be imputed to the appellate court. The issuance of a writ of possession to
a purchaser in a public auction is a ministerial act. After the consolidation of title in the buyers name for
failure of the mortgagor to redeem the property, the writ of possession becomes a matter of right. 3 Its
SPOUSES CONSTANTINO ESPIRIDION and REMEDIOS ESPIRIDION and SPOUSES RENATO RAMOS and
issuance to a purchaser in an extrajudicial foreclosure sale is merely a ministerial function. 4 The trial court
ERLINDA RAMOS, Petitioners,
has no discretion on this matter. 5 Hence, any talk of discretion in connection with such issuance is misplaced.
vs.
COURT OF APPEALS and SECOND BULACAN DEVELOPMENT BANK, Respondents.
A clear line demarcates a discretionary act from a ministerial one. Thus:
DECISION
The distinction between a ministerial and discretionary act is well delineated. A purely ministerial act or duty
is one which an officer or tribunal performs in a given state of facts, in a prescribed manner, in obedience to
CORONA, J.:
the mandate of a legal authority, without regard to or the exercise of his own judgment upon the propriety or
impropriety of the act done. If the law imposes a duty upon a public officer and gives him the right to decide
This special civil action for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court assails the August 25, 2000 how or when the duty shall be performed, such duty is discretionary and not ministerial. The duty is
resolution1of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 66451 (1) granting the motion for writ of execution/writ ministerial only when the discharge of the same requires neither the exercise of official discretion or
of possession pending appeal of private respondent Second Bulacan Development Bank (SBDB) and (2) the judgment.6
September 20, 2000 resolution denying petitioners motion for reconsideration.
Clearly, the use of discretion and the performance of a ministerial act are mutually exclusive.
On April 30, 1999, SBDB filed an amended ex-parte petition for issuance of writ of possession over a parcel of
land2 purchased by SBDB in a public auction held on August 26, 1999. It was raffled to Branch 148 of the
Where the court acts on a matter that is within its jurisdiction, grave abuse of discretion must be shown to
Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Makati City and docketed as Civil Case No. 99-443.
nullify the act. In this case, since the issuance of the writ of possession did not involve an exercise of
discretion, no abuse of discretion could have been committed by the trial court. Thus, the instant petition for
The ex-parte petition alleged that petitioners, spouses Constantino Espiridion and Remedios Espiridion and certiorari has no leg to stand on.
spouses Renato Ramos and Erlinda Ramos, mortgaged the subject property to SBDB as security for
a P4,200,000 loan. They failed to comply with the terms and conditions of the mortgage, hence, SBDB
The issue of nullity of the extrajudicial foreclosure sale was of no moment. It could not bar the issuance of the
extrajudicially foreclosed the property. SBDB subsequently acquired the property as the lone bidder in the
writ of possession. As a rule, any question regarding the validity of the mortgage or its foreclosure is not a
public auction held on August 26, 1997. Petitioners failed to redeem the property within the one-year
legal ground for refusing the issuance of a writ of execution/writ of possession. 7
redemption period. As a consequence, ownership of the property was consolidated in the name of SBDB.

The fact that no bond was posted by SBDB was also of no consequence. Since ownership of the property had
Petitioners anchored their defense on the alleged nullity of the extrajudicial foreclosure sale. They claimed
already been consolidated in the name of the bank, there was nothing legally questionable in the issuance of
that SBDB failed to comply with several requirements of extrajudicial foreclosure: no application for
the writ of possession even if no bond was posted. The posting of a bond as a condition for the issuance of the
extrajudicial foreclosure was filed with the office of the clerk of court of the RTC of Makati City; the docket
writ of possession becomes necessary only if it is applied for within one year from the registration of the sale
fees were not paid and no raffle of the publication of the notice of foreclosure sale was made.
with the register of deeds, i.e., during the redemption period8 inasmuch as ownership has not yet vested on
the creditor-mortgagee. After the one-year period, however, the mortgagor loses all interest over it. 9 The
The trial court declared that it could not rule on the propriety or validity of the foreclosure sale and, as such, purchaser, who has a right to possession that extends after the expiration of the redemption period, becomes
presumed that the extrajudicial foreclosure sale was done in a regular manner. It only resolved the issue of the absolute owner of the property when no redemption is made. 10 Thus, the posting of a bond is no longer
SBDBs entitlement to a writ of possession. Invoking the rule that the purchaser in a foreclosure sale of needed.11
mortgaged property is entitled to a writ of possession and that it is ministerial on the court to issue such writ
upon ex-parte petition by the purchaser, the court a quo granted SBDBs petition.
WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby DISMISSED.

Aggrieved, petitioners filed a notice of appeal and elevated the case to the Court of Appeals. SBDB filed a
Costs against petitioners.
motion for writ of execution/writ of possession pending appeal which the appellate court granted in its
August 25, 2000 resolution. Petitioners moved for its reconsideration but the same was denied. Hence, this
petition. SO ORDERED.

Petitioners claim that the Court of Appeals erred or gravely abused its discretion in issuing the writ of
execution/possession pending appeal on two grounds: (a) the extrajudicial foreclosure sale was void and (b)
no justifiable basis was shown and no bond was posted.

The petition has no merit.


G.R. No. 139382 December 6, 2000 Petitioners seek the reversal of the decision of the Court of Appeals on the following grounds

THE SECRETARY OF JUSTICE SERAFIN R. CUEVAS, EXECUTIVE SECRETARY RONALDO B. ZAMORA, and I. THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN RULING THAT RESPONDENT JOSEFINA G. BACAL, A CAREER
ATTY. CARINA J. DEMAISIP, petitioners, EXECUTIVE SERVICE OFFICER, HAS A VALID AND VESTED RIGHT TO THE POSITION OF CHIEF PUBLIC
vs. ATTORNEY AND, AS SUCH, CANNOT BE REASSIGNED OR TRANSFERRED TO THE POSITION OF REGIONAL
ATTY. JOSEFINA G. BACAL, respondent. DIRECTOR, PUBLIC ATTORNEYS OFFICE, DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE.

DECISION II. THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN RULING THAT RESPONDENT BACAL, WHO HOLDS A CES RANK LEVEL
III, WAS REASSIGNED OR TRANSFERRED TO A POSITION WHICH DOES NOT CORRESPOND TO HER PRESENT
RANK LEVEL INASMUCH AS THE POSITION OF BUREAU REGIONAL DIRECTOR CARRIES A CES RANK LEVEL
MENDOZA, J.:
V ONLY. CONTRARY TO THE CONCLUSIONS OF THE COURT OF APPEALS, SAID POSITION OF REGIONAL
DIRECTOR, PUBLIC ATTORNEYS OFFICE, THE POSITION TO WHICH RESPONDENT BACAL WAS REASSIGNED
This case involves the appointment and transfer of career executive service officers (CESOs). More specifically, OR TRANSFERRED, CARRIES A CES RANK LEVEL III WHICH CORRESPONDS TO HER CES RANK III LEVEL. AS
it concerns the "appointment" of respondent Josefina G. Bacal, who holds the rank of CESO III, to the position AN OFFICER WITH A RANK III LEVEL, RESPONDENT BACAL IS NOT THEREFORE ELIGIBLE FOR THE
of Chief Public Attorney in the Public Attorneys Office, which has a CES Rank Level I, and her subsequent POSITION OF CHIEF PUBLIC ATTORNEY WHICH CARRIES A CES RANK LEVEL I.
transfer, made without her consent, to the Office of the Regional Director of the PAO.
III. UPON HER REASSIGNMENT OR TRANSFER TO THE POSITION OF REGIONAL DIRECTOR, RESPONDENT
In its decision 1 rendered on March 25, 1999, the Court of Appeals declared respondent Josefina G. Bacal BACAL DID NOT LOSE HER CES RANK III AND HER RIGHT TO RECEIVE THE SALARY CORRES-PONDING TO
entitled to the position of Chief Public Attorney in the Public Attorneys Office. Petitioners moved for a HER PRESENT RANK.
reconsideration, but their motion was denied by the appeals court in its resolution dated July 22, 1999. Hence
this petition for review on certiorari. Petitioners contend that the transfer of respondent to the Office of the
IV. RESPONDENT BACAL FAILED TO SHOW THAT SHE HAS A CLEAR RIGHT TO THE POSITION OF CHIEF
Regional Director of the PAO is appropriate considering her rank as CESO III.
PUBLIC ATTORNEY.

The background of this case is as follows:


V. RESPONDENT BACAL FAILED TO FULLY EXHAUST THE ADMINISTRATIVE REMEDIES AVAILABLE TO HER
BEFORE FILING THE PETITION FOR QUO WARRANTO WITH THE COURT OF APPEALS. 3
Respondent Josefina G. Bacal passed the Career Executive Service Examinations in 1989. On July 28, 1994, she
was conferred CES eligibility and appointed Regional Director of the Public Attorneys Office. On January 5,
I. Exhaustion of Administrative Remedies
1995, she was appointed by then President Fidel V. Ramos to the rank of CESO III. On November 5, 1997, she
was designated by the Secretary of Justice as Acting Chief Public Attorney. On February 5, 1998, her
appointment was confirmed by President Ramos so that, on February 20, 1998, she took her oath and We first consider petitioners contention that respondents quo warranto suit should have been dismissed for
assumed office. failure of respondent to exhaust administrative remedies by appealing to the Office of the President.

On July 1, 1998, petitioner Carina J. Demaisip was appointed "chief public defender" by President Joseph The contention has no merit. If, as has been held, no appeal need be taken to the Office of the President from
Estrada. Apparently because the position was held by respondent, another appointment paper was issued by the decision of a department head because the latter is in theory the alter ego of the former, 4 there is greater
the President on July 6, 1998 designating petitioner Demaisip as "chief public defender (formerly chief public reason for not requiring prior resort to the Office of the President in this case since the administrative
attorney), PUBLIC DEFENDER'S OFFICE, DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE vice ATTY. JOSEFINA G. BACAL, effective decision sought to be reviewed is that of the President himself. Indeed, we have granted review in other cases
July 1, 1998."2 On the other hand, respondent was appointed "Regional Director, Public Defenders Office" by involving the removal of the Administrator of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration 5 and the
the President. Executive Director of the Land Transportation Office 6 without requiring the petitioners to exhaust
administrative remedies considering that the administrative actions in question were those of the President.
On July 7, 1998, petitioner Demaisip took her oath of office. President Estrada then issued a memorandum,
dated July 10, 1998, to the personnel of the "Public Defenders Office" announcing the appointment of In any event, the doctrine of exhaustion of administrative remedies does not apply when the question raised
petitioner Demaisip as "CHIEF PUBLIC DEFENDER." Petitioner Secretary of Justice was notified of the is purely legal.7 In this case, the question is whether respondents transfer to the position of Regional Director
appointments of petitioner Demaisip and respondent Bacal on July 15, 1998. of the Public Attorneys Office, which was made without her consent, amounts to a removal without cause.
This brings us to the main issue in this appeal.
On July 17, 1998, respondent filed a petition for quo warranto questioning her replacement as Chief Public
Attorney. The petition, which was filed directly with this Court, was dismissed without prejudice to its refiling II. Merits of the Case
in the Court of Appeals. Accordingly, respondent brought her case in the Court of Appeals which, on March 25,
1999, ruled in her favor, finding her to be lawfully entitled to the Office of Chief Public Attorney.
In holding that respondents transfer amounted to a removal without cause, the Court of Appeals said:
. . . Her appointment as Regional Director was in effect a removal in the guise of transfer, to repeat, without position with a higher salary grade than that corresponding to his/her rank, he/she will be allowed the salary
her consent. Having been validly appointed Chief Public Defender by the President on February 8, 1998, of the CES position.
would naturally entitle her to security of tenure since on the basis of the appointment, she was appointed, not
merely assigned, to a particular station. Her involuntary transfer, through appointment, to that of a mere
As respondent does not have the rank appropriate for the position of Chief Public Attorney, her appointment
Regional Director, did not either conform to the rules on the constitutional protection of security of tenure.
to that position cannot be considered permanent, and she can claim no security of tenure in respect of that
Above all, her supposed appointment as a Regional Director is not only temporary but is on the other hand
position. As held in Achacoso v. Macaraig:9
permanent wherein she lost her position as Chief Public Attorney, or her connection with the previous
position being severed.
It is settled that a permanent appointment can be issued only "to a person who meets all the requirements for
the position to which he is being appointed, including the appropriate eligibility prescribed." Achacoso did
....
not. At best, therefore, his appointment could be regarded only as temporary. And being so, it could be
withdrawn at will by the appointing authority and "at a moments notice," conformably to established
In the case of the petitioner, there is certainly a diminution in duties and responsibilities when she was jurisprudence. . . .
downgraded through the July 6, 1998 appointment, involuntarily made, from that of Chief Public Attorney to a
mere Regional Director. To repeat, the rank equivalent to a Bureau Director is Rank III while that of a mere
The mere fact that a position belongs to the Career Service does not automatically confer security of tenure on
Bureau Regional Director is Rank V. Diminution in duties and responsibilities, certainly becomes apparent and
its occupant even if he does not possess the required qualifications. Such right will have to depend on the
then in the matter of salary, the basic salary of a Chief Public Attorney together with all the perks, would
nature of his appointment, which in turn depends on his eligibility or lack of it. A person who does not have
amount to P575,199.00. In the case of a Regional Director, his basic salary together with all the perks, would
the requisite qualifications for the position cannot be appointed to it in the first place or, only as an exception
only amount to P341,479.96. Admittedly, when a CESO is assigned or made to occupy a position with a lower
to the rule, may be appointed to it merely in an acting capacity in the absence of appropriate eligibles. The
salary grade, he shall supposedly continue to be paid his salary that attaches to his CES rank. It cannot, on the
appointment extended to him cannot be regarded as permanent even if it may be so designated. . . .
other hand, be denied that the moment a non-CESO is appointed to a CES position, he shall receive, at the
same time, the salary of his CES position. There is merit in the petitioners argument that allowing the
Regional Director to receive continuously the salary rate of Chief Public Attorney in effect would amount to an It is contended, however, that respondent is qualified for the position of Chief Public Attorney because this
illegal consequence since the disbursement of public funds, as budgeted, provides funding for only one Chief position has a CES Rank Level III, while that of Regional Director, Public Attorneys Office, has a CES Rank
Public Attorney. The dilemma arises when both the petitioner and respondent Demaisip would be claiming Level V. This is not so. The position of Chief Public Attorney has a CES Rank Level I and a Salary Grade 30,
the salary of a Chief Public Attorney. There is no pretension either in the Brief of the public respondents that while that of Regional Director of the PAO has a CES Rank Level III and a Salary Grade 28. This is shown by the
there has been a supplemental budget for the petitioner, now downgraded to a mere Regional Director, to be following:10
receiving continuously the salary scale of a Chief Public Attorney.
1. Certification, dated April 6, 1999, issued by the Secretary of the Department of Budget and Management
.... (DBM), which states that "the position of the head of Public Attorneys Office (PAO) is classified as Chief Public
Attorney at Salary Grade 30" (Annex A of Annex M, Petition).
Changing a CESO, Rank III, with a non-CESO eligible nor a CESO defies the recruitment, selection and
appointment process of the Career Executive Service. As a matter of fact, as a rule (1997 Revised Edition, 2. Certification, dated April 15, 1999, issued by Elmor D. Juridico, then Executive Director of the CES Board,
Handbook, Career Executive Service), the appointment to most positions in the CES is supposed to be made by which states that "the Rank equivalent to the position of Chief Public Attorney and Regional Public Attorney
the President only from the list of CES eligibles, but recommended by the CES Board. Admittedly, an are CESO Rank I and CESO Rank III respectively" (Annex B of Annex M, Petition); and
incumbent of a CES position may qualify for appointment to a CES rank, only upon the confirming of a CES
Eligibility and compliance with the other requirements being prescribed by the Board (Ibid. p. 5). Precisely,
3. Certification, dated July 8, 1998, previously issued to respondent Bacal by then Executive Director Juridico
the CES was created pursuant to PD No. 1 (adopting the Integrated Reorganizational Plan, dated September
of the CES Board, stating that the position of Chief Public Attorney has a CES rank equivalent of Rank I. (vide
24, 1972), if only to form a continuing pool of well-selected and development-oriented career administrators
Annex C of Annex M, Petition). The certification reads:
who shall provide competent and faithful service (Ibid. p. 2). We cannot see this from that of the petitioner
then being replaced by a non-CESO.8
This is to certify that Atty. JOSEFINA G. BACAL, Chief Public Attorney, Public Attorneys Office was conferred
CES Eligibility on July 28, 1994 per Board Resolution No. 94-4620 and was appointed Career Executive
The appealed decision will not bear analysis.
Service Officer (CESO) Rank III by then President Fidel V. Ramos on January 5, 1995. She is yet to fulfill the
requirements for an adjustment of her CES rank (from CES Rank III to Rank I) to a level equivalent to her
First. What should be emphasized in this case is that respondent Josefina G. Bacal is a CESO III and that the present position.
position of Regional Director of the PAO, to which she was transferred, corresponds to her CES Rank Level III
and Salary Grade 28. This was her position before her "appointment" on February 5, 1998 to the position of
This certification is issued upon the request of Atty. Bacal for whatever purpose it may serve best.
Chief Public Attorney of the PAO, which requires a CES Rank Level I for appointment thereto. Respondent
Bacal therefore has no ground to complain. She may have been considered for promotion to Rank I to make
her appointment as Chief Public Attorney permanent. The fact, however, is that this did not materialize as Second. The Court of Appeals held that respondent Bacal had acquired security of tenure as Chief Public
petitioner Carina J. Demaisip was appointed in her place. If respondent was paid a salary equivalent to Salary Attorney by the mere fact of her appointment to that position. This is likewise the point of the dissent of
Grade 30 while she was holding that office, it was only because, under the law, if a CESO is assigned to a Justice Gonzaga-Reyes who contends that a CES eligibility is all that a person needs in order to acquire
security of tenure in any position embraced in the Career Executive service; that a CESO rank is only
necessary to differentiate a CESOs general managerial duties/responsibilities, personal qualifications, and The appropriate CESO rank to which a CES eligible may be appointed depends on two major qualification
demonstrated competence; and that no other CES examination is required for appointment to a higher rank. criteria, namely: (1) level of managerial responsibility; and, (2) performance.

Appointments, assignments, reassignments, and transfers in the Career Executive Service are based on rank. Performance is determined by the officials performance rating obtained in the annual CESPES. On the other
On this point, the Integrated Reorganization Plan cannot be any clearer. It provides: 11 hand, managerial responsibility is based on the level of the general duties and responsibilities which an
eligible is performing, as follows:
c. Appointment. Appointment to appropriate classes in the Career Executive Service shall be made by the
President from a list of career executive eligibles recommended by the Board. Such appointments shall be Levels of Duties and
made on the basis of rank; provided that appointments to the higher ranks which qualify the incumbents to Rank Equivalent
Responsibilities
assignments as undersecretary and heads of bureaus and offices and equivalent positions shall be with the
confirmation of the Commission on Appointments. The President may, however, in exceptional cases, appoint if level of managerial responsibilities are comparable to that of
any person who is not a Career Executive Service eligible; provided that such appointee shall subsequently I
an Undersecretary
take the required Career Executive Service examination and that he shall not be promoted to a higher class
until he qualifies in such examination. if comparable to that of an Assistant Secretary II

if comparable to that of a Bureau Director or a Department


At the initial implementation of this Plan, an incumbent who holds a permanent appointment to a position III
Regional Director
embraced in the Career Executive Service shall continue to hold his position, but may not advance to a higher
class of position in the Career Executive Service unless or until he qualifies for membership in the Career if comparable to that of an Assistant Bureau Director,
Executive Service. Department Assistant Regional Director or Department Service IV
Chief
.... if comparable to that of a Bureau Regional Director V

e. Assignments, Reassignments and Transfers. Depending upon their ranks, members of the Service shall be if comparable to that of a Bureau Assistant Regional Director VI
assigned to occupy positions of Undersecretary, Assistant Secretary, Bureau Director, Assistant Bureau
Director, Regional Director, Assistant Regional Director, Chief of Department Service and other officers of
equivalent rank as may be identified by the Board on the basis of the members functional expertise. . . . As a general rule, a CES eligible will be recommended for appointment to the rank equivalent of the level of
his managerial responsibility if his performance rating is Satisfactory or higher. If the performance rating
is Outstanding, he will be recommended one rank higher than his level of managerial responsibility.
The rules and regulations promulgated by the CES Board 12 to implement the Integrated Reorganization Plan
are equally clear in providing that
Security of tenure in the career executive service is thus acquired with respect to rank and not to position. The
guarantee of security of tenure to members of the CES does not extend to the particular positions to which
Career Executive Service Eligibility they may be appointed a concept which is applicable only to first and second-level employees in the civil
service but to the rank to which they are appointed by the President. Accordingly, respondent did not
Passing the CES examination entitles the examinee to a conferment of a CES eligibility and the inclusion of his acquire security of tenure by the mere fact that she was appointed to the higher position of Chief Public
name in the roster of CES eligibles. Conferment of CES eligibility is done by the Board through a formal Board Attorney since she was not subsequently appointed to the rank of CESO I based on her performance in that
Resolution after an evaluation of the examinees performance in the four stages of the CES eligibility position as required by the rules of the CES Board.
examinations.
Indeed, to contend, as does the dissent of Justice Gonzaga-Reyes, that a CES eligibility was all that was
.... required to make her appointment to the position of Chief Public Attorney permanent would give rise to an
anomalous situation. Following such theory, even if respondent is not appointed CESO I because her
performance as Chief Public Attorney does not warrant her appointment to such higher rank, she cannot be
Appointment to CES Rank transferred to any other office to which her rank (CESO III) qualifies her. This theory of the dissent, i.e., that a
CES eligibility gives the appointee security of tenure - not the ruling in this case that it is appointment to the
Upon conferment of a CES eligibility and compliance with the other requirements prescribed by the Board, an appropriate rank that confers security of tenure - is what will undermine the Career Executive Service.
incumbent of a CES position may qualify for appointment to a CES rank. Appointment to a CES rank is made
by the President upon the recommendation of the Board. This process completes the officials membership in Third. Within the Career Executive Service, personnel can be shifted from one office or position to another
the CES and most importantly, confers on him security of tenure in the CES. without violation of their right to security of tenure because their status and salaries are based on their ranks
and not on their jobs. To understand this, it is necessary to consider the reason for the creation of the Career
There are six (6) ranks in the CES ranking structure. The highest rank is that of a Career Executive Service Executive Service.
Officer I (CESO I), while the lowest is that of CESO VI.
R.A. No. 5435,13 as amended by R.A. Nos. 6076, 6172, and 6175, created a commission charged with the Should he be assigned or made to occupy a CES position with a lower salary grade, he shall continue to be
specific function of reorganizing the government "to promote simplicity, economy, and efficiency" in its paid the salary attached to his CES rank.15
operations. The result was the preparation of the Integrated Reorganization Plan which was adopted and
declared part of the law of the land by P.D. No. 1 on September 24, 1972. A major feature of the Integrated
Petitioners are, therefore, right in arguing that respondent, "as a CESO, can be reassigned from one CES
Reorganization Plan was the creation of the Career Executive Service whose justification was explained by the
position to another and from one department, bureau or office to another. Further, respondent, as a CESO, can
Commission on Reorganization, thus:
even be assigned or made to occupy a CES position with a lower salary grade. In the instant case, respondent,
who holds a CES Rank III, was correctly and properly appointed by the appointing authority to the position of
The present Civil Service system is not geared to meet the executive manpower needs of the government. The Regional Director, a position which has a corresponding CES Rank Level III." 16
filling of higher administrative positions is often based on considerations other than merit and demonstrated
competence. The area of promotion is currently confined to the person or persons "next-in-rank" in the
Indeed, even in the other branches of the civil service, the rule is that, unless an employee is appointed to a
agency. Moreover, personnel classification and compensation are uniformly based on concepts and
particular office or station, he can claim no security of tenure in respect of any office. This rule has been
procedures which are suited to positions in the lower levels but not to managerial posts in the higher levels .
applied to such appointments as Director III or Director IV or Attorney IV or V in the Civil Service Commission
To fill this crucial gap, it is recommended that a Career Executive Service be established. This group of senior
since the appointments are not to specified offices but to particular ranks; 17 Election Registrars;18 Election
administrators shall be carefully selected on the basis of high qualifications and competence. Skilled in both
Officers, also in the Commission on Elections; 19 and Revenue District Officers in the Bureau of Internal
techniques and processes of management, these career executives will act as catalysts for administrative
Revenue.20 Reiterating the principle in Sta. Maria v. Lopez,21 this Court said:
efficiency and as agents of administrative innovation.

. . . [T]he rule that outlaws unconsented transfers as anathema to security of tenure applies only to an officer
The status and salary of the career executives will be based on their rank, and not on the job that they occupy
who is appointed - not merely assigned - to a particular station. Such a rule does not proscribe a transfer
at any given time . . . . In this sense, the rank status of the Career Executive Service is similar to that of the
carried out under a specific statute that empowers the head of an agency to periodically reassign the
commissioned officers in the Armed Forces or members of the Foreign Service. Unlike these latter
employees and officers in order to improve the service of the agency. The use of approved techniques or
organizations, however, entrance to the Career Executive Service will not be generally at an early age in a
methods in personnel management to harness the abilities of employees to promote optimum public service
relatively junior level but at a senior management level.
cannot be objected to. . . .

....
For the foregoing reasons, we hold that respondents appointment to the position of Chief Public Attorney was
merely temporary and that, consequently, her subsequent transfer to the position of Regional Director of the
The rank classification in the Service will allow for mobility or flexibility of assignments such that the same office, which corresponds to her CESO rank, cannot be considered a demotion, much less a violation of
government could utilize the services or special talents of these career executives wherever they are most the security of tenure guarantee of the Constitution.
needed or will likely create the greatest impact. This feature is especially relevant in a developing country
which cannot afford to have its scarce executive manpower pegged to particular positions.
Fourth. On the other hand, Justice Puno makes much of the fact that petitioner Carina J. Demaisip is not a CES
eligible. Suffice it to say the law allows in exceptional cases the appointment of non-CES eligibles provided
Mobility and flexibility in the assignment of personnel, the better to cope with the exigencies of public service, that the appointees subsequently pass the CES Examinations. Thus Part III, Chap. I, Art. IV, par. 5(c) of the
is thus the distinguishing feature of the Career Executive Service. To attain this objective, the Integrated Integrated Reorganization Plan provides that the President may, in exceptional cases, appoint any person who
Reorganization Plan provides:14 is not a Career Executive Service eligible; provided that such appointee shall subsequently take the required
Career Executive Service examination and that he shall not be promoted to a higher class until he qualified in
such examination.
e. Assignments, Reassignments and Transferees. . . .

For the same reason that the temporary appointment of respondent Josefina G. Bacal as Chief Public Attorney
Any provision of law to the contrary notwithstanding, members of the Career Executive Service may be
is valid under this provision of the law despite the fact that she does not hold the rank of CESO I, so is the
reassigned or transferred from one position to another and from one department, bureau or office to
appointment to the same position of petitioner Carina J. Demaisip. The question in this case is not the validity
another; provided that such reassignment or transfer is made in the interest of public service and involves no
of the appointment to such position but whether the appointee acquires security of tenure even if he does not
reduction in rank or salary; provided, further, that no member shall be reassigned or transferred oftener than
possess the requisite rank. There is no claim that petitioner Demaisip has a right to remain in the position of
every two years; and provided, furthermore, that if the officer concerned believes that his reassignment or
Chief Public Attorney permanently.1a wphi1
transfer is not justified, he may appeal his case to the President.

On the other hand, as respondent herself does not have the requisite qualification for the position of Chief
The implementing rules and regulations of the CES Board provide:
Public Attorney, she cannot raise the lack of qualification of petitioner. As held in Carillo v. Court of
Appeals,22 "in a quo warranto proceeding the person suing must show that he has a clear right to the office
Salary of Career Executive Service Officers. A CESO is compensated according to his CES rank and not on the allegedly held unlawfully by another. Absent that right, the lack of qualification or eligibility of the supposed
basis of the CES position he occupies. However, if a CESO is assigned to a CES position with a higher salary usurper is immaterial."23Indeed, this has been the "exacting rule" 24 since it was first announced, 95 years ago,
grade than that of his CES rank, he is allowed to receive the salary of the CES position. in Acosta v. Flor.25 As at present embodied in Rule 66, 5 of the Rules of Civil Procedure, the rule is that "a
person claiming to be entitled to a public office or position usurped or unlawfully held or exercised by
another may bring an action therefor in his own name."
WHEREFORE, the decision of the Court of Appeals is REVERSED and the petition for quo warranto filed by
respondent is DISMISSED. SO ORDERED.