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G.R. No. 111091 August 21, 1995 ENGINEER CLARO J. PRECLARO, vs.

SANDIGANBAYAN and PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES FACTS: The Industrial Technology Development Institute (ITDI), a component of the DOST employed Petitioner under a written contract of services as Project Manager to supervise the construction of the ITDI-CMD (JICA) Building. Petitioner was to be paid a monthly salary drawn from counter-part funds duly financed by foreign-assisted projects and government funds. DOST contracted the services of the Jaime Sta. Maria Construction Company with Engr. Alexander Resoso, as the company's project engineer. Alexander Resoso, was in the process of evaluating a Change Order for some electricals when petitioner approached him at the project site and made some overtures that expenses in the Change Order will be deductive (meaning, charged to the contractor by deducting from the contract price), instead of additive (meaning, charged to the owner). Petitioner intimated that he can forget about the deductive provided he gets P200,000.00, a chunk of the contractor's profit estimated to be around P460,000.00. Petitioner was charged before the Sandiganbayan with a violation of Sec. 3(b) of R.A. No. 3019 as amended, otherwise known as the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act for having either directly requested and/or demanded for himself or for another, the sum of (P200,000.00), claimed as part of the expected profit of (P460,000.00) in connection with the construction of that government building wherein the accused had to intervene under the law in his capacity as Project Manager/Consultant of said construction said offense having been committed in relation to the performance of his official duties. The Second Division of the Sandiganbayan rendered judgment finding petitioner guilty beyond reasonable doubt. ISSUE: WHETHER OR NOT THE SANDIGANBAYAN ERRED IN TAKING COGNIZANCE OF THE CASE, INSTEAD OF DISMISSING IT FOR LACK OF JURISDICTION, PETITIONER NOT BEING A PUBLIC OFFICER; RULING: We find the petition unmeritorious. Petitioner asserts that he is not a public officer because he was neither elected nor appointed to a public office but is merely a private individual hired by the ITDI on contractual basis for a particular project and for a specified period . He was not issued any appointment paper neither was he required to use the bundy clock to record his hours of work nor did he take an oath of office. Petitioner miscontrues the definition of "public officer" in R.A. No. 3019 which "includes elective and appointive officials and employees, permanent or temporary, whether in the classified or unclassified or exemption service receiving compensation, even nominal, from the government. . . ." The word "includes" used in defining a public officer in Sec. 2(b) indicates that the definition is not restrictive. The terms "classified, unclassified or exemption service" were the old categories of positions in the civil service which have been reclassified into Career Service and Non-Career Service. Non-career service in particular is characterized by (1) entrance on bases other than those of the usual test of merit and fitness utilized for the career service ;and (2) tenure which is limited to a period specified by law, or which is coterminous with that of the appointing authority or subject to his pleasure, or which is limited to the duration of a particular project for which purpose employment was made. The Non-Career Service shall include : (4) Contractual personnel or those whose employment in the government is in accordance with a special contract to undertake a specific work or job, requiring special or technical skills not available in the employing agency, to be accomplished within a specific period, which in no case shall exceed one year, and performs or accomplishes the specific work or job, under his own responsibility with a minimum of direction and supervision from the hiring agency; and From the foregoing classification, it is quite evident that petitioner falls under the non-career service category of the Civil Service and thus is a public officer as defined by Sec. 2(b) of the Anti-Graft & Corrupt Practices Act.