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Cathrina Victoria C.

Jagunap

CONSTITUTIONAL LAW

Case No. 34

Briccio A. Apollo GR NO. 181881

Chairperson Karina Constantino- David

This is a case on the PETITION FOR REVIEW ON CERTIORARI, which seeks to reverse a decision
dated October 11. 2007 and Resolution dated February 29, 2008.

FACTS:

A letter, labelled “ CONFIDENTIAL” was addressed to Chairperson Karina Constantino of the


Civil Service Commission (CSC). Said letter contained statement by a certain Alan San Pascual,
alleging that one lawyer from the CSC Regional Office No. IV was “ helping many who have
pending cases with the agency and found such act as unfair and a violation of the law”.

Chairperson David then formed a team of personnel, experts in IT, and thru a Memorandum
Order, directed them to “ back up all files in all computers in the Legal Division and Public
Assistance and Liason Division (PALD). The team then proceeded to conduct the directive at
5:30 in the afternoon, witnessed by CSC Regional Office No. IV Director IV Castillo and Director
III Unite, along with some employees and staff. By 6;00 in the afternoon, Director Unite texted
the herein Petitioner, who was then on leave about the situation at the agency and urged him
to return to the workplace, but Petitioner decided to hire a lawyer instead. Thereafter, the
team gathered 17 diskettes, containing 40- 42 documents, that were found to PLEADINGS OR
LETTERS IN CONNECTION WITH PENDING ADMINISTRATIVE CASES IN THE CSC AND OTHER
TRIBUNALS.

Chairwoman David issued a show- case order requiring the Petitioner to submit explanation or
counter affidavit within 5 days from notice. Said order was supported by observations found on
the subject documents.

Pollo denied to have personal relevance to the observations and called the recovered
documents as “FRUITS OF A POISONOUS TREE”.

RESOLUTION BY THE CSC:

February 26, 2007: The CSC issued Resolution No. 070382, finding Prima Facie Case against
Pollo, charging him with DISHONESTY, GRAVE MISCONDUCT, PREJUDICIAL TO THE BEST
INTEREST OF THE SERVICE and in VIOLATION OF RA 6713. Therefore, Petitioner was directed to
answer under oath within 5 days, and indicaye whether he elects Formal Investigation.

Petitioner was placed on a 90- day Preventive Suspension.


POLLOS ACTION ON CSCs RESOLUTION:

Petitioner then filed for an Omnibus Motion and assailed that the charge was without basis , as
it proceeded from an ILLEGAL SEARCH. He also contended that the case should be deferred in
view of the Prejudicial Question raised in the Criminal Complaint he filed against Director
Buensalida, who he claims instigated the case. He also prayed for the lifting of the Preventive
Suspension.

March 19, 2007, CSC denied the motion and treated the it as the Petitioners Answer.

March 14, 2007, Petitioner filed an Urgent Petition assailing that the show- cause order and
Resolution No. 070382 was issued with GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION, AMOUNTING TO EXCESS
OR TOTAL ABSENCE OF JURISDICTION, and on April 7, 2007, he received a Notice from the CSC
to conduct a Formal Investigation on Aoril 30, 2007. On April 25, 2007, the Petitioner filed with
the Court of Appeals an Urgent Motion for the issuance of TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDER
(TRO) and PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION.

The CSC once again rescheduled the pre- hearing conference from April 30, 2007 to May 17,
2007, with a warning that should the Petitioner or his counsel fail to attend, the commission
shal proceed with the Formal Investigation Ex Parte. However, the Petitioner contended that
the investigation should be moved as per his pending petition with the CA. this was denied by
the CSC and moved the conference to May 18, 2007.

On June 12, 2007, the CSC resolved that the absence okf the Petitioner from the conference
deems the waiving of his right to formal investigation, which proceeded Ex Parte.

June 24, 2007, the csc issued Resolution No. 071420 which DISMISSES THE PETITIONER FROM
THE SERVICE

October 11, 2007, the CA dismissed Pollos petition as it did not find GRAVE ABUSE OF
DISCRETION on the part of the CSC, hence appeal has been filed, claiming AN INVASION TO
ONES PRIVACY BY OBTAINING FILES FROM HIS OFFICE COMPUTER.

ISSUE:

(in relevance to the Constitution)

WHETHER OR NOT THE CSC INVADED THE CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT TO PRIVACY OF THE
HEREIN PETITIONER.
RULING:

No.

Article III, Section II of the Constitution provides:

‘ THE RIGHT OF THE PEOPLE TO BE SECURED IN THEIR HOUSES, PAPERS, AND EFFECTS
AGAINST UNREASONABLE SEARCHES ANSEIZURES OF WHATEVER NATURE AND FOR ANY
PURPOSE SHALL BE INVIOLABE, AND NO SEARCH WARRANT OR WARRANT OF ARREST SHALL
ISSUE EXCEPT UPON PROBABLE CAUSE TO BE DETERMINED PERSONALLY BY THE JUDGE
AFTER EXAMINATION UNDER OATH O R AFFIRMATION OF THE COMPLAINT AND THE
WITNESSES HE MAY PRODUCE, AND PARTICULARLY DESCRIBING THE PLACE TO BE SEARCHED
AND PERSON OR THINGS TO BE SEIZED”

This guarantee is not a prohibition of all searches and seizures but only “UNREASONABLE”
searches and seizures.

In the case at bar, the court ruled that public employers, as that of the CSC, must be given a
wider latitude to enter employees workplace. Although they are not Criminal Investigators,
they have a direct and overriding interest to ensure that the work of the agency is conducted in
a proper and efficient manner.