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G.R. No.

191877 June 18, 2013 Uniform Rules of Administrative Cases in the Civil
PAGCOR vs. ARIEL R. MARQUEZ, Service. It found Marquez’s Sinumpaang Salaysay credible
x-----------------------x and ruled that there was no dishonesty on his part, much
G.R. No. 192287 less a conspiracy with Verdillo and Cheng to defraud
IRENEO M. VERDILLO vs. PAGCOR PAGCOR. The CA observed that the fact that as stated in
VILLARAMA, JR., J.: his sworn statement, Marquez called Verdillo’s attention
to his erroneous call only on the second time that
FACTS: Ariel R. Marquez and Ireneo M. Vedillo were both Verdillo made an erroneous call, cannot be interpreted
employed as dealers in the game of Craps at the that he was dishonest or engaged in a conspiracy. Rather,
Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) it shows that he was negligent in the performance of his
at the Casino Filipino Heritage. duties.

They were administratively charged with conspiring with Meanwhile, Verdillo filed with the CA a separate petition
Cheng in defrauding PAGCOR of an undetermined amount for review. He argued that PAGCOR’s Decision was not
of money and were required to submit a written supported by the evidence on record. He also averred
explanation. Marquez admitted that he was aware of that he was denied due process of law.
several erroneous calls made by Verdillo on the dice
throws, but he still paid out winnings to Cheng. The CA, however, denied Verdillo’s petition. CA found
Meanwhile, Verdillo also submitted a written that Verdillo did not judiciously perform all the acts
explanation, denying the accusations against him. They expected of him as a dealer-stickman and all acts
were invited by the Branch Management Panel (BMP) to a necessary to protect PAGCOR’s interest. The CA found
hearing to explain their side of the controversy. that there exists substantial evidence to support the
conclusion that Verdillo is guilty of the offense of
BMP found both Marquez and Verdillo liable for violation of office rules and regulations and conduct
fraudulent transactions and recommended their dismissal prejudicial to the best interest of the service. The CA
from service. Panel resolved to dismiss Dealers Ireneo also concluded that the circumstances present in the
Verdillo and Ariel Marquez for the offense of case supply more than reasonable grounds to believe that
"FRAUDULENT TRANSACTIONS AT CRAPS TO THE Verdillo conspired with Marquez and Cheng to defraud
DISADVANTAGE OF THE HOUSE." PAGCOR.

The BMP’s recommendation was adopted by the PAGCOR filed before this Court a petition for review on
Adjudication Committee and its findings were then certiorari arguing that the CA erred in finding that the
forwarded to PAGCOR’s Board of Directors for final notice of charges against Marquez was not in accordance
approval. Senior Managing Head of the Human Resource with the Uniform Rules on Administrative Cases. It
and Development Department later sent a Memorandum contends that the designation of the offense in an
to Marquez and Verdillo informing them that the Board administrative case is not controlling and one may be
had approved the Adjudication Committee’s found guilty of another offense if it is based on the same
recommendation to dismiss them from the service due to facts subject of the original designation.
"Dishonesty, Grave violation of company rules and
regulations, Conduct prejudicial to the best interest of ISSUE: Whether PAGCOR failed to comply with the
the company, and Loss of trust and confidence" for requirement of administrative due process since Marquez
conspiring with a co-dealer and a customer in defrauding was not duly apprised of the proper charges which led to
the house on numerous occasions. his dismissal.

CSC dismissed respondents’ appeal for lack of merit. RULING: Section 16, Rule II of the Uniform Rules on
Respondent-appellants are guilty of the administrative Administrative Cases in the Civil Service provides as
offenses of Serious Dishonesty, Violation of Office Rules follows:
and Regulations and Conduct Prejudicial to the Best
Interest of the Service and imposes the penalty of Section 16. Formal Charge. – After a finding of a prima
dismissal from the service with all its accessory penalties facie case, the disciplining authority shall formally
of forfeiture of retirement benefits, perpetual charge the person complained of. The formal charge shall
disqualification from re-employment in government contain a specification of charge(s), a brief statement of
service, bar from taking civil service examinations in the material or relevant facts, accompanied by certified true
future and cancellation of civil service eligibilities. copies of the documentary evidence, if any, sworn
statements covering the testimony of witnesses, a
Not satisfied, Marquez filed a petition for review with the directive to answer the charge(s) in writing under oath in
CA arguing that he was not accorded his right to due not less than seventy-two (72) hours from receipt
process and that there was no substantial evidence to thereof, an advice for the respondent to indicate in his
support a finding of his guilt in the administrative charge. answer whether or he elects a formal investigation of the
charge(s), and a notice that he is entitled to be assisted
CA rendered a decision in his favour. The CA held that by a counsel of his choice.
there is no administrative charge of conspiracy under the
Dadubo v. CSC: charge against the respondent in an
administrative case need not be drafted with the
precision of an information in a criminal prosecution. It is
sufficient that he is apprised of the substance of the
charge against him; what is controlling is the allegation
of the acts complained of, not the designation of the
offense. It must be stressed that what the law requires is
to simply inform the civil servant of the nature and cause
of accusation against him in a clear and concise manner
for the purpose of giving him the right to confront the
allegations against him.

In the present case, the CSC found that a formal charge


was issued identifying the administrative offenses
committed by Marquez. A memorandum was issued
charging Marquez of conspiring with Verdillo and Cheng in
defrauding PAGCOR during void gaming transactions at
Table No. 30 on several occasions. He was then required
to explain in writing within 72 hours from receipt of the
Memorandum. Records also show that he participated in
the investigation by executing a Sinumpaang Salaysay.
Thereafter, the BMP of Casino Filipino Heritage
conducted a formal investigation and invited him to
attend the meeting to explain his side. Clearly, Marquez
was sufficiently informed of the basis of the charge
against him and was able to defend himself. He was given
every opportunity to present his side of the case.

The failure to designate the offense specifically and with


precision is of no moment in this administrative case. The
essence of due process in administrative proceedings is
that a party be afforded a reasonable opportunity to be
heard and to submit any evidence he may have in support
of his defense. The law simply requires that the civil
servant is informed of the nature and cause of accusation
against him in a clear and concise manner to give the
person a chance to answer the allegations intelligently.
Evidently, PAGCOR substantially complied with the
requirements of due process for administrative cases.
The CSC found sufficient evidence to support a finding of
dishonesty, grave violation of company rules and
regulations, conduct prejudicial to the best interest of
the company and loss of trust and confidence.

Administrative proceedings are governed by the


"substantial evidence rule." A finding of guilt in an
administrative case would have to be sustained for as
long as it is supported by substantial evidence that the
respondent has committed the acts stated in the
complaint or formal charge. As defined, substantial
evidence is such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind
may accept as adequate to support a conclusion. We find
that Marquez and Verdillo failed to present any cogent
reason for the Court to deviate from the rule that factual
findings of administrative agencies are generally held to
be binding and final so long as they are supported by
substantial evidence in the record of the case.

All told, we find that there was substantial evidence for


the charges against Marquez and Verdillo, warranting
their dismissal from service.