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Public Officers and Election Law 2011-72254 (Section W 12-1:30)

Prof. Bertrand Theodor Santos Marijo Angela Conejero

D. DISCIPLINARY ACTION BY THE CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION (CSC)

§6.129. Disciplinary jurisdiction under the Civil Service Law.


The CSC has both original and appellate jurisdiction over administrative complaints filed by
private citizens against non-presidential government officials or employees, and appellate
jurisdiction over cases of other disciplining authorities involving suspension of or fine worth 30
days, demotion or dismissal.
In general, heads of sub-units of government branches have jurisdiction to investigate and decide
disciplinary actions against their subordinates.
§6.130. Grounds for dismissal, generally.
The three general grounds for disciplinary action are
i. Malfeasance: performance of an act which ought not to be performed
ii. Misfeasance: improper performance of an act which might lawfully be done
iii. Nonfeasance: omission of an act which ought to be performed
The two general categories of the grounds for suspension or dismissal are
i. Grounds related to the discharge of the functions of the office concerned (e.g. neglect of
duty, oppression, corruption or other forms of maladministration)
ii. Grounds not related to the office which amount to a crime involving moral turpitude or
disqualification for which there has been conviction by final judgment
Misconduct is defined as intentionally wrong or improper conduct, and gross means flagrant or
shameful. Grave misconduct involves either manifest corruption, clear intent to violate the law, or
flagrant disregard of established rule.
§6.131. Statute regarding removal or suspension strictly construed.
Laws enumerating grounds for disciplinary action are penal in nature and must be strictly
construed; no other grounds can be invoked and no other powers can be exercised.
§6.132. Specific grounds for removal or suspension.
The three categories of the grounds for suspension or dismissal under the Civil Service Law are
i. Grave offenses, which involve penalties of either suspension for 6 months and 1 day to 1
year, or outright dismissal (25): dishonesty, gross neglect of duty, gross misconduct, being
notoriously undesirable, conviction of a crime involving moral turpitude, falsification,
disability, engaging in partisan politics as a non-political officer, accepting gifts, obtaining
loans from office clients, bribery, disloyalty, nepotism, oppression, disgraceful and
immoral conduct, inefficiency and incompetence, frequent tardiness and absences, refusal
to perform duty, gross insubordination, prejudicial conduct, conflict of interest, owning
unauthorized business, practicing profession privately, disclosure of confidential
information, misusing Code of Conduct statements
ii. Less grave offenses, which involve penalties of suspension for 1 month and 1 day to 6
months for the first offense, and dismissal for the second offense (10): simple neglect of
duty, simple misconduct, gross discourtesy, gross violation of civil service rules,
insubordination, habitual drunkenness, conflict of interest in recommendation, unfair
discrimination, failure to file SALN, failure to resign from private business or divest
shareholdings
iii. Light offenses, which involve penalties of reprimand for the first offense, suspension for 1
to 30 days for the second offense, and dismissal for the third offense (15): discourtesy,
improper solicitation, violation of office rules, prohibited gambling, refusal to work
overtime, borrowing from subordinates, lending at usurious rates, not paying debts, not
paying taxes, pursuing unauthorized business, lobbying, sale of non-charitable tickets,
failure to act within 15 days on letters and request, failure to process documents within
reasonable time, failure to attend to those availing services

Rulings on grounds for discipline:


 Habitual absence means unauthorized absence exceeding the 2.5 days monthly leave credit
under the Leave Law for 3 months in a semester or in a year consecutively.
 Habitual tardiness means lateness for 10 times a month for 2 months in a semester or in a
year consecutively in case of ill health which can be verified by heads of departments for
approval of leave and by government physicians for spot checks.
 Illicit relation is considered disgraceful and immoral conduct, a grave offense which can
be mitigated to a less grave offense given the circumstances.
 Section 8 of RA 3019 provides that accumulation of unexplained wealth shall be a ground
for dismissal or removal of the liable public official.
 Moonlighting committed by a sheriff is malfeasance in office warrants suspension.
 Abandonment of post despite two return to work notices warrants summary dismissal.
 The light offense of willful failure to pay just debts involves claims adjudicated by courts.
Payment of such debts cannot be enforced by the CSC which is limited to disciplinary
action as it is not a collection agency.
 Inexcusable negligence involves failure to observe the degree of diligence, prudence and
circumspection required by law in rendition of public service.
 Nepotism means favoritism through appointment of a relative within the third degree of
consanguinity or affinity of any of the following: appointing authority, recommending
authority, chief or the bureau or office, and person exercising immediate supervision over
the appointee
o The appointing/recommending authority must issue certificate of non-relation
o The five exemptions to the rules on nepotism are
 persons employed in a confidential capacity
 teachers
 members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines
 individuals who after appointment marry a co-worker
 appointees to GOCCs organized under the Corporation Law
 Agencies must send notices to known addresses of employees absent without leave for 30
days, ordering them to report within 5 days from receipt or be dropped from the rolls.
§6.133. Commencement of administrative proceedings.
Administrative proceedings start upon the filing of a sworn complaint in writing against the public
official or employee by any person except the disciplining authority (Section 46(c), 1987 Adm.
Code), who cannot be litigant and appellate judge at the same time.
The procedure for administrative cases (Section 18, 1987 Adm. Code) is
 Complaint: filed by Secretary or head of office/LGU/agency or any person with submission of
sworn statements and other documentary evidence without prejudice to additional necessary
evidence unavailable at filing which may be subject of cross, re-direct and re-cross
examination.
 Decision by the disciplining authority: dismissal if no prima facie case exists, or notification
of the respondent regarding the complaint and its attachments; the respondent has 72 hours to
elect a formal investigation and answer the charges, a satisfactory answer meriting dismissal.
 Formal investigation: as elected or as required when the complaint and answer necessitate it
without regard to technical judicial rules, conducted by the disciplining authority or his
authorized representative, held not earlier than 5 days nor later than 10 days from receipt of
answer by the disciplining authority, and terminated within 30 days from the filing of charges
unless extended; either party may avail of counsel and require attendance of witnesses and
production of documentary evidence through subpoena or subpoena duces tecum.
 Decision by the disciplining authority: within 30 days from termination of investigation or
from submission of the investigator’s report (report 15 days from end of investigation).
§6.134. Procedural due process.
Article IX(B)(3) of the Constitution provides that no officer or employee of the civil service shall
be suspended or dismissed except for cause provided by law.
The minimum requirements of due process are
i. The employee or officer is informed of and furnished with the charges against him
ii. He gets a reasonable opportunity to present his defenses and evidence
Due process in administrative proceedings include
 The right to actual or constructive notice of adverse proceedings
o An employee charged with simple misconduct cannot be convicted of grave
misconduct which would violate his right to be informed of charges against him
 A real opportunity to be heard alone or with counsel, and to present witnesses and evidence
o A formal or trial-type hearing is not always necessary
o Fair and reasonable opportunity to file position papers and appeals negates claim of
denial of due process
 A tribunal vested with competent jurisdiction and with a reasonable guarantee of impartiality
o Where law specifies composition of an investigative committee which is not followed,
the committee does not have jurisdiction and the dismissal is void
 A finding by said tribunal supported by substantial evidence which was made known to the
parties
o Filing of motion for reconsideration cures defect from denial of procedural due process
§6.135. Effect of complainant’s desistance or withdrawal of complaint.
Desistance or withdrawal does not bar the taking of disciplinary action against the respondent if
warranted, since the public interest is served when wrongdoing is properly dealt with in the
government service.
§6.136. Effect of filing or dismissal of criminal complaint.
Criminal, civil and administrative cases can in general be filed simultaneously. The filing of a
criminal complaint does not preclude an administrative one and vice versa, as insufficiency of
evidence proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt in the former case may not mean insufficiency
of the substantial evidence required for administrative proceedings, although it may be preferable
to defer final action in administrative cases pending a criminal case with the same facts to avoid
influencing the trial court.
§6.137. Preventive suspension.
Section 51 of the 1987 Adm. Code provide that the disciplining authority may impose preventive
suspension pending investigation for charges of subordinates involving dishonesty, oppression or
grave misconduct, or neglect of duty, or reasons to believe guilt of charges warranting removal.
The two types of suspension are
i. Preventive suspension during investigation, which is limited to 90 days
ii. Preventive suspension pending appeal, which is a penalty; if the conviction is affirmed, the
suspension becomes part of the penalty of suspension or removal, while if there is
exoneration, the respondent is reinstated with full pay for the period of the suspension
Preventive suspension can be ordered without hearing as it is not a penalty but a step of the
investigation, such suspension lasting a maximum of 90 days if the administrative case is not then
decided. When the delay in disposition of the case is due to the respondent’s fault, negligence or
petition, the period involved is excluded from the 90 days, such as in these cases:
 Respondent’s absence at hearings and requests for postponement
 Issuance of preliminary injunction forbidding action on administrative case
 Filing of motion to dismiss the administrative case
§6.138. Burden of proof and quantum of evidence.
The burden of proof is upon the complainant to show a prima facie case, which would then shift
the onus to the respondent to explain his side. In cases of dismissal, the employer proves validity.
The quantum of evidence required for guilt in administrative proceedings is substantial evidence,
meaning relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion.
§6.139. When administrative case becomes moot.
The respondent’s resignation and acceptance thereof renders administrative cases moot/academic.
§6.140. Decision.
Final and appealable decisions of the disciplining authority include those of exoneration, or those
which impose reprimand, or suspension for or a fine worth 30 days. All other decisions with higher
penalties are appealable to the department head and thereafter to the CSC.
The guidelines considered in imposing penalties are
 Transfer or demotion in rank or salary from 2-3 grades or suspension for 1 year as minimum
 Forced resignation without prejudice to reinstatement to one with prejudice as medium
 Dismissal, which carries other penalties (CSC MC no. 30 s. 1989), such as
o Cancellation of eligibility
o Forfeiture of leave credits and retirement benefits
o Disqualification for reemployment in the government service
Mitigating circumstances, to be invoked by the respondent (CSC MC no. 6 s. 1991), include
 Physical illness
 Good faith
 Analogous circumstances
§6.141. Appeals.
There is no appeal in two instances (Section 37 and 39 of P.D. 807), namely
i. Where the penalty is suspension of 30 days or less, fine of 1 month’s salary or less, or
reprimand
ii. Where the decision is of exoneration
The aggrieved party with the right to appeal is the government officer or employee against whom
the case is filed and decision rendered, not the complainant. He has 15 days from receipt of the
decision to appeal or file motion for reconsideration (Section 49, E.O. 292).
Appeal from the CSC may be through a Rule 43 petition for review to the Court of Appeals, and
the CSC if reversed may file appeal from the CA to the Supreme Court.
§6.142. Reliefs granted to illegally suspended or dismissed employee.
A public officer unlawfully suspended or dismissed is entitled to reinstatement and full backwages
unless he attained retirement age, entitling him to full retirement benefits in lieu of reinstatement.
In the event a decision of suspension or removal is reversed, the officer will be paid the salary for
the period covering his separation up to his reinstatement and the new incumbent shall give way
as he was appointed to a non-existent vacancy.
An employee illegally removed is entitled to reinstatement with backwages, or if reinstatement is
not possible, a grant of backwages equivalent to not more than 5 years.
§6.143. Commission has power to issue writ of execution.
The CSC, in exercising quasi-judicial functions, may order execution of its decisions that are final
as a logical incident of its adjudicatory power.
§6.144. Mandamus to compel retirement.
Mandamus lies to enforce ministerial duties, such as to compel the refusing appointing authority
to comply with the ruling of administrative agencies for reinstatement and payment of backsalaries
of an illegally dismissed officer.
§6.145. Pardon does not restore officer to his position.
Absolute pardon, which wipes out all penalties and legal disabilities, does not entitle the officer to
automatic reinstatement. If upon application he is reinstatement, he is not entitled to backwages or
the privilege of having continuous government service.
The President may grant executive clemency in administrative cases, and commute or remove
administrative penalties or disabilities.
§6.146. Petition for review.
A public officer aggrieved by a CSC decision may file a motion for reconsideration or a Rule 43
petition for review with the Court of Appeals within 15 days from receipt thereof. Only one motion
for reconsideration is allowed.
The CSC may appeal an adverse Court of Appeals decision to the Supreme Court by petition for
review as it becomes the aggrieved party, not the exonerated respondent nor the witness-
complainant (CSC v. Dacoycoy).