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G.R. No.

199232 The Civil Service Commission National Capital Region is directed to monitor the strict implementation of this
ROBERTO EMMANUEL T. FELICIANO, Petitioner Decision and submit a report thereon to the Commission.
vs. Similarly, through its decision of January 18, 2011,14 the CSC ruled that the termination of Gonzalez was not
DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL DEFENSE, represented by SEC. VOLTAIRE T. GAZMIN, Respondent valid, and directed his reinstatement, viz.:
RESOLUTION WHEREFORE, the illegal termination of Horacio S. Gonzalez, former Director III, Department of National
BERSAMIN, J.: Defense (DND), is hereby declared NOT VALID.1âwphi1 Accordingly, the Commission directs DND
Secretary Voltaire T. Gazmin to reinstate Gonzalez to his previous position as Director III with payment of
This appeal seeks to undo the termination of the petitioners' service by the Department of National back salaries and other benefits from the time he was illegally terminated until his actual reinstatement in
Defense (DND) on the basis that they did not enjoy security of tenure for not having completed the four the service.
stages of qualification for the Career Executive Service Eligibility (CESE).
The Civil Service Commission National Capital Region (CSC-NCR) is directed to monitor the strict
The Case implementation of this Decision and submit a report thereon to the Commission.
Being assailed are the decisions separately promulgated by the Court of Appeals (CA). In G.R. No. 199232, Ruling of the CA
the petitioner prays for the review and reversal of the decision promulgated on October 12, 2011 by
Fourteenth Division of the CA in CA-G.R. SP No. 119738.1 In G.R. No. 201577, the petitioner assails the On appeal, the CA Fourteenth Division declared the termination of Feliciano as valid because he lacked
decision promulgated on October 3, 2011 by the Special Eleventh Division of the CA in CA-G.R. SP No. the required CSEE to secure his CES position at the DND at the time the assailed memorandum was issued;
119739.2 Under the decisions, the rulings of the Civil Service Commission (CSC) setting aside the termination that he could not avail himself of the benefits granted by Career Executive Service Board (CESB) Resolution
of the petitioners from their respective positions as Assistant Secretary and Director III of the DND for having No. 637 if he had not completed the four-staged process for the CSEE; that he could not evade the
lacked the required CESE that would have given them security of tenure were reversed. requirements that he was subjected to in order to acquire the CESE; that only a full-fledged CESO was
entitled to security of tenure because the mere fact that his position belonged to the Career Executive
Antecedents Service did not automatically confer security of tenure on him as the occupant if he did not possess all the
At the time material to this adjudication, petitioner Roberto Emmanuel T. Feliciano possessed a CSEE 3 and qualifications; and that his termination should be upheld.15
served as Assistant Secretary of the DND;4 and petitioner Horacio S. Gonzalez, who also had a CSEE5 held The CA Fourteenth Division held that the CSC had no jurisdiction over the case of Feliciano because the
the position of Chief of the Administrative Service Office of the DND.6 CESB was the governing body for the Career Executive Service pursuant to Presidential Decree No.
On June 30, 2010, Executive Secretary Paquito N. Ochoa issued Memorandum Circular No. 1,7 providing as 116 issued by President Arroyo.17
follows: On its part, the CA Special Eleventh Division pronounced that the CSC did not err in taking cognizance of
All non-career executive service officials (non-CESO) occupying career executive service (CES) positions in the case of Gonzalez considering that the CSC, by express provision of Executive Order No. 292, had the
all agencies of the Executive Branch shall remain in office and continue to perform their duties and power to hear and decide administrative cases instituted before or brought to it directly or on appeal and
discharge their responsibilities until July 31, 2010 or until their resignations have been accepted and/or their to render opinions and rulings on all personnel and other Civil Service matters; and that as the sole central
respective replacements have been appointed or designated, whichever comes first. personnel agency of the Government vested with adjudicatory powers, the CSC had the power and
Pursuant to Memorandum Circular No. 1, DND Sec. Voltaire T. Gazmin issued Department Order No. 154 to function to render opinions and rulings on all personnel and other Civil Service matters.18
terminate 11 officials of the DND, including Gonzalez, on account of their lack of the CSEE; and to re- However, CA Special Eleventh Division reversed the CSC relative to Gonzales, observing that although he
designate Feliciano as Assistant Secretary for Strategic Assessment of the DND.8 Subsequently, on July 13, had already been conferred the CSEE by the CSC and could be recommended by the CESB for
2010, Feliciano received Department Order No. 163 terminating his designation and services as Assistant appointment to the CESO ranks by the President, the fact that he still had to accomplish or complete the
Secretary for Strategic Assessment.9 remaining two stages (i.e., the assessment center and the performance validation stage) to qualify him for
Aggrieved, the petitioners filed their respective appeals by letters-complaint in the CSC on the ground of appointment to the CESO rank despite his being already the holder of the CSEE militated against his
illegal termination.10 argument of entitlement to security of tenure. Accordingly, the termination of Gonzalez was valid.
The DND, through Sec. Gazmin, countered the letters-complaint of the petitioners by citing Memorandum The petitioners separately appealed by petitions for review on certiorari.
Circular No. 1, as amended by Memorandum Circular No. 2,11 to the effect that all non-CESO officials Issue
occupying CES positions in all agencies of the Executive Branch would remain in office until their respective The issues are, one, whether or not the CSC had jurisdiction over the appeals of the petitioners; and, two,
replacements were appointed and qualified, whichever came first; and that the petitioners, not being whether or not the CA gravely erred in finding the petitioners' termination valid.
CESOs for having failed to complete all the necessary requisites, did not enjoy security of tenure.12
Ruling of the Court
The appeals are bereft of merit.
1.
Ruling of the CSC
The CSC has jurisdiction over the cases of the petitioners
On January 18, 2011, the CSC rendered its decision in favor of Feliciano,13 to wit:
The CSC is one of the three independent Constitutional Commissions invested with adjudicative powers to
WHEREFORE, the illegal termination of Roberto Emmanuel T. Feliciano, former Assistant Secretary, render final arbitration on disputes and personnel actions involving matters relating to the Civil Service.
Department of National Defense, is hereby declared NOT VALID. Accordingly, the Commission directs Section 3 of Article IX-B specifies the mandate of the CSC as an independent constitutional commission, to
Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Voltaire T. Gazmin to reinstate Feliciano to his previous wit:
position as Assistant Secretary with payment of back salaries and other benefits from the time he was
illegally terminated until his actual reinstatement in the service. Section 3. The Civil Service Commission, as the central personnel agency of the Government, shall establish
a career service and adopt measures to promote morale, efficiency, integrity, responsiveness,
progressiveness, and courtesy in the civil service. It shall strengthen the merit and rewards system, integrate Since the CESB is an attached agency of the CSC, the former's decisions are expressly subject to the CSC's
all human resources development programs for all levels and ranks, and institutionalize a management review on appeal.
climate conducive to public accountability. It shall submit to the President and the Congress an annual In fine, although the CESB is expressly empowered to promulgate rules, standards and procedures on the
report on its personnel programs. (Bold emphases supplied) selection, classification, compensation and career development of the members of the CES,22 the power
Executive Order No 292 (The Administrative Code of 1987)19 enumerates the following powers and and function to hear and decide administrative cases on all personnel and civil service matters remained
functions of the CSC, the ones relevant to the pending case of the petitioners being the following: to be duty and function of the CSC as the central personnel agency of the Government. The mere fact
1) Render opinion and rulings on all personnel and other Civil Service matters which shall be binding on all that the positions involved in these cases were CES positions does not divest the CSC of its constitutional
head of departments, offices, and agencies which may be brought to the Supreme Court on certiorari; power to hear and decide the cases.
and 2.
2) Hear and decide administrative cases instituted by or brought before it directly or on appeal, including Termination of petitioners was valid
contested appointments, and review decisions and actions of its offices and agencies attached to it. Nonetheless, we conclude that the termination of the petitioners upon the stated ground was valid.
Officials and employees who fail to comply with such decisions, orders or rulings shall be liable for
contempt of the Commission. Its decisions, orders, or rulings shall be final and executory. Such decisions, The petitioners did not possess the required CSEE despite their insistence on having such eligibility. It is
orders or rulings may be brought to Supreme Court on certiorari by the aggrieved party within thirty (30) noteworthy that the positions of Assistant Secretary for Strategic Assessment and Chief of the Administrative
days from receipt of the copy thereof. (bold underscoring for emphasis) Service Office were classified as third level positions requiring the CSEE;23 consequently, the rules and
regulations of the CESB in acquiring the eligibility should be observed and complied with.
On the other hand, the CESB was established pursuant to the Integrated Reorganization Plan (IRP) to serve
as the governing body of the CES. It was tasked to perform the following functions, namely: (a) to CESB Resolution No. 791-09 (Revised Integrated Rules on the Grant of Career Executive Service
promulgate rules, standards and procedures for the selection, classification, compensation and career Eligibility)24 required that for an individual to attain his CSEE he must undergo and hurdle the four-staged
development of members of the CES; (b) to set up the organization and operation of the CES in CESE examination process, namely: (1) the CES written examination; (2) the assessment center; (3) the
accordance with the guidelines provided in the plan; (c) to prepare a program of training and career performance validation; and (4) the board interview. Only upon the completion of the four stages of the
development for members of the CES; (d) to investigate and adjudicate administrative complaints against examination process could he deserve the CSEE. Needless to emphasize, the CSEE was necessary to
members of the CES.20 qualify and hold the CES positions.

In Career Executive Service Board v. Civil Service Commission,21 the Court has explained that the powers The petitioners contend that although they did not have the CSEE they were still eligible and qualified to
granted to the CESB, being specific and limited, must be narrowly interpreted as exceptions to the hold their respective third level positions at the DND.
comprehensive authority granted to the CSC by the Constitution and relevant statutes, viz.: The contention is unwarranted.
It is a basic principle in statutory construction that statutes must be interpreted in harmony with the While Gonzalez possessed the CSEE, and assuming that Feliciano also possessed the CSEE, they still failed to
Constitution and other laws. In this case, the specific powers of the CESB over members of the CES must be justify their non-compliance with CESB Resolution No. 811 (Amendatory Guidelines on the Appointment to
interpreted in a manner that takes into account the comprehensive mandate of the CSC under the Career Executive Service (CES) Ranks of Career Service Executive Eligibles (CSEEs)), 25 which the CESB had
Constitution and other statutes. issued in order to harmonize the existence of the rules and regulations previously issued by the CSC and
The present case involves the classification of positions belonging to the CES and the qualifications for the CESB, and in order to give to the eligibles the opportunity for equal treatment with respect to their
these posts. These are matters clearly within the scope of the powers granted to the CESB under the qualifications.
Administrative Code and the Integrated Reorganization Plan. However, this fact alone does not push the Under CESB Resolution No. 811, the petitioners, as the means to have their CSEE, had to take and
matter beyond the reach of the CSC. complete the last two stages of the examination process, namely: the assessment center and the
As previously discussed, the CSC, as the central personnel agency of the government, is given the performance validation. Upon the completion of the last two stages, they would be granted the CSEE and
comprehensive mandate to administer the civil service under Article IX-B, Section 3 of the 1987 qualify for the CES positions.
Constitution; and Section 12, Items (4), (5), and (14) of the Administrative Code. It has also been expressly The petitioners did not yet completely comply with CESB Resolution No. 811 because they did not
granted the power to promulgate policies, standards, and guidelines for the civil service; and to render complete the processes to obtain their CSEE. Without the CSEE, they were not entitled to security of tenure.
opinions and rulings on all personnel and other civil service matters. In the CES, the attainment of security of tenure presupposes a permanent appointment. In that regard, .
xxx xxx xxx and as opined in General v. Roco,26 two requisites must concur in order that an employee in the CES could
attain security of tenure, namely: (1) the CSEE; and (2) the appointment to the appropriate CES rank.27
It must likewise be emphasized that the CSC has been granted the authority to review the decisions of
agencies attached to it under Section 12 (11), Chapter 3, Subtitle A, Title I, Book V of the Administrative The petitioners were undisputedly not yet holders of CSEE. The effect is that their appointments remained
Code: temporary, a status that denied them security of tenure.28 According to Amores v. Civil Service
Commission:29
SECTION 12. Powers and Functions. - The Commission shall have the following powers and functions:
x x x An appointment is permanent where the appointee meets all the requirements for the position to
xxx xxx xxx which he is being appointed, including the appropriate eligibility prescribed, and it is temporary where the
(11) Hear and decide administrative cases instituted by or brought before it directly or on appeal, appointee meets all the requirements for the position except only the appropriate civil service eligibility.
including contested appointments, and review decisions and actions of its offices and of the agencies xxxx
attached to it. Officials and employees who fail to comply with such decisions, orders, or rulings shall be
liable for contempt of the Commission. Its decisions, orders, or rulings shall be final and executory. Such x x x verily, it is clear that the possession of the required CES eligibility is that which will make an
decisions, orders, or rulings may be brought to the Supreme Court on certiorari by the aggrieved party appointment in the career executive service a permanent one....
within thirty (30) days from receipt of a copy thereof; Indeed, the law permits, on many occasions, the appointment of non-CES eligibles to CES positions in the
government in the absence of appropriate eligibles and when there is necessity in the interest of public
service to fill vacancies in the government. But in all such cases, the appointment is at best merely preference and were instead terminated without valid cause and against their will. On various dates,
temporary as it is said to be conditioned on the subsequent obtention of the required CES eligibility x x x private respondents filed their respective letters of appeal respecting their termination with petitioner.
Clearly, the petitioners' termination from their respective positions at the DND was effective and valid. However, no action was taken on the appeals made; hence, private respondents brought the matter to
public respondent's Regional Office No. IX (Regional Office, for brevity). In the meantime, the province
WHEREFORE, the Court AFFIRMS the decision promulgated in CA-G.R. S.P. No. 119739 on October 3, 2011, submitted its Report on Personnel Actions (ROP A) for January 1, 2002 to the Regional Office No. IX for
and the decision promulgated in CA-G.R. SP No. 119738 on October 12, 2011 in so far as the validity of the attestation. x x x6
petitioners' termination was concerned; and ORDERS the petitioners to pay the respective costs of suit.
Ruling of the CSC Regional Office IX
SO ORDERED.
Upon review of the ROP A submitted by the provincial government, the CSCRO, in a Letter dated June 3,
2002, found that the subject appointments violated Republic Act No. (RA) 66567 for allegedly failing to
G.R. No. 180845 grant preference in appointment to employees previously occupying permanent positions in the
GOV. AURORA E. CERILLES, Petitioner old plantilla. As a result, the CSCRO invalidated a total of ninety-six (96) appointments made by Gov.
vs. Cerilles after the reorganization.8
CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION, ANITA JANGAD-CHUA, MA. EDEN S. TAGAYUNA, MERIAM The CSCRO likewise took cognizance of the appeals directly lodged before it by Respondents, allegedly
CAMPOMANES,* BERNADETTE P. QUIRANTE, MA. DELORA P. FLORES AND EDGAR PARAN, Respondents due to Gov. Cerilles' failure to act thereon. Thus, on June 24, 2002, the CSCRO issued an Omnibus Order
DECISION directing the reinstatement of Respondents to their former positions.9 Dismayed, Gov. Cerilles sought
reconsideration with the CSCRO through a Letter dated July 13, 2002.10 Therein, Gov. Cerilles claimed that
CAGUIOA, J.:
it was not within the prerogative of the CSCRO to revoke an appointment as the same was within her
Before the Court is an appeal by certiorari1 (Petition) under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court (Rules) assailing exclusive discretion.11
the Decision2 dated June 8, 2007 (CA Decision) and Resolution3 dated November 28, 2007 of the Court of
Thereafter, the CSC informed Gov. Cerilles that her Letter dated July 13, 2002 was treated as an appeal
Appeals - Twenty First Division (CA) in CA-G.R. SP No. 86627. The CA affirmed public respondent Civil
and was forwarded to it by the CSCRO.12 Thus, in an Order dated October 22, 2002, Gov. Cerilles was
Service Commission (CSC)'s Resolution No. 0312394 dated December 10, 2003, which upheld the CSC
required to comply with the requirements for perfecting an appeal pursuant to CSC Resolution No. 02-319
Regional Office No. IX (CSCRO)'s invalidation of ninety-six (96) appointments made by petitioner Governor
dated February 28, 2002.13
Aurora E. Cerilles (Gov. Cerilles) while sitting as Provincial Governor of Zamboanga del Sur.
Ruling of the CSC
The subject appointments were made in connection with the reorganization of the provincial government
of Zamboanga del Sur, which reduced the number of plantilla positions in the staffing pattern.5 Herein In its Resolution No. 030028 dated January 13, 2003, the CSC dismissed the appeal of Gov. Cerilles for her
private respondents Anita Jangad-Chua, Ma. Eden S. Tagayuna, Meriam Campomanes, Bernadette P. failure to comply with its Order dated October 22, 2002.14 Aggrieved, Gov. Cerilles filed a motion for
Quirante, Ma. Delora P. Flores, and Edgar Paran (collectively, "Respondents") were among those reconsideration of the said Resolution.
permanent employees terminated in relation to the subject appointments. In its Resolution No. 031239 dated December 10, 2003, the CSC granted the motion for reconsideration and
The Facts forthwith reinstated the appeal.15 However, in the same resolution, the CSC dismissed the appeal just the
same and upheld the CSCRO's invalidation of the subject appointments.16
The CA summarized the material antecedents as follows:
Gov. Cerilles then filed a motion for reconsideration of Resolution No. 031239, which was eventually denied
On November 7, 2000, Republic Act No. 8973 entitled "An Act creating the Province of Zamboanga
by the CSC in its Resolution No. 04099517 dated September 7, 2004.18
Sibugay from the Province of Zamboanga del Sur and for other purposes" was passed. As a consequence
thereof, the Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) of the province of Zamboanga del Sur (province, for brevity) Unfazed, Gov. Cerilles elevated the matter to the CA through a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 on the
was reduced by thirty-six percent (36%). Because of such reduction, petitioner [Gov. Cerilles], sought the following grounds, inter alia: (i) that the CSC is without original jurisdiction over protests made by an
opinion of public respondent [CSC] on the possibility of reducing the workforce of the provincial aggrieved officer or employee during government reorganization, pursuant to RA 6656, and (ii) that the
government. CSC committed grave abuse of discretion in affirming the invalidation of the subject appointments.19
In response, public respondent issued on August 8, 2001 Opinion No. 07 series of 2001, the pertinent portions Ruling of the CA
of which are as follows: In the CA Decision, the CA observed that Gov. Cerilles resorted to the wrong mode of review, the proper
"Please be advised also that in the event reorganization is carried out in that province, the same must be remedy being an appeal under Rule 43 of the Rules, which governs appeals from judgments, final orders,
authorized by appropriate Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) resolution, so that necessary funds may be or resolutions of the CSC.20 Nevertheless, the CA proceeded to resolve the petition and upheld the
correspondingly released, among other purposes, to aid the provincial government in the implementation CSCRO's jurisdiction to entertain the appeals of Respondents. Notably, however, no discussion was made
thereof. on the CSC's power to invalidate the subject appointments.
Should you have further queries on the matter, please feel free to coordinate with our Civil Service A Motion for Reconsideration21 dated August 3, 2007 was filed by Gov. Cerilles, which was denied by the
Commission Regional Office (CSCRO) No. IX, Cabantangan, Zamboanga City." CA in its Resolution dated November 28, 2007.
Subsequently on August 21, 2001, the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Zamboanga del Sur passed Resolution Hence, this Petition.
No. 2Kl-27 approving the new staffing pattern of the provincial government consisting only of 727 positions On May 5, 2008, Respondents jointly filed their Comment dated May 3, 2008.22 Likewise, on August 15, 2008,
and Resolution No. 2Kl-038 which authorized petitioner to undertake the reorganization of the provincial the CSC filed its Comment dated August 14, 2008.23 On December 9, 2008, Gov. Cerilles accordingly filed
government and to implement the new staffing pattern. her Reply.24
Pursuant to said authority, petitioner appointed employees to the new positions in the provincial Issuance of the Temporary
government. The private respondents were among those who were occupying permanent positions in the Restraining Order (TRO)
old plantilla and have allegedly been in the service for a long time but were not given placement
In the interim, Respondents filed a Motion for Execution dated January 31, 2008 with the CSC,25 seeking the SECTION 1. Scope. - This Rule shall apply to appeals from judgments or final orders of the Court of Tax
immediate execution of its Resolution No. 031239 pending appeal, citing Section 47(4),26 Chapter 6, Appeals and from awards, judgments, final orders or resolutions of or authorized by any quasi-judicial
Subtitle A, Title I, Book V of the Administrative Code of 1987.27 In its Resolution No. 08071228 dated April 21, agency in the exercise of its quasi-judicial functions. Among these agencies are the Civil Service
2008, the CSC granted Respondents' motion as follows: Commission, Central Board of Assessment Appeals, Securities and Exchange Commission, Office of the
WHEREFORE, the Motion for Execution of Judgment filed by Anita N. Jangad-Chua, et al. is hereby President, x x x.
GRANTED. Accordingly, the Provincial Government of Zamboanga del Sur is hereby directed to reinstate xxxx
Anita N. Jangad-Chua, Ma. Eden Saldariega-Tagayuna, Meriam A. Campomanes, Bernarda P. Quirante, SEC. 5. How appeal taken. - Appeal shall be taken by filing a verified petition for review in seven (7) legible
Ma. Delora D. Flores and Edgar A. Paran to their respective former positions with payment of back salaries copies with the Court of Appeals, with proof of service of a copy thereof on the adverse party and on the
and other benefits due them without further delay.29 court or agency a quo. The original copy of the petition intended for the Court of Appeals shall be
Alarmed, Gov. Cerilles filed a Motion for Issuance of a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) dated February indicated as such by the petitioner. (Emphasis and underscoring supplied)
24, 2009 with the Court.30 In support thereof, Gov. Cerilles claimed that the execution of Resolution No. It bears reiterating that the extraordinary remedy of certiorari is a prerogative writ and never issues as a
031239 would be detrimental to the operations of the provincial government of Zamboanga del Sur and matter of right.39 Given its extraordinary nature, the party availing thereof must strictly observe the rules laid
would render inutile a favorable ruling from the Court.31 down and non-observance thereof may not be brushed aside as mere technicality.40 Hence, where an
In a Resolution32 dated March 17, 2009, the Court granted the motion of Gov. Cerilles and issued a TRO appeal is available, certiorari will not prosper, even if the ground therefor is grave abuse of discretion.41
directing CSC to cease and desist from executing the following issuances: (i) Resolution No. 031239 dated Applying the foregoing, the Court thus finds Gov. Cerilles' failure to abide by the elementary requirements
December 10, 2003, (ii) Resolution No. 040995 dated September 7, 2004, (iii) CSC Resolution No. 080712 of the Rules inexcusable. That she repeatedly invoked "grave abuse of discretion" on the part of the CSC
dated April 21, 2008, and (iv) Resolution No. 09010233 dated January 20, 2009. was of no moment; the records failed to demonstrate how an appeal to the CA via Rule 43 was not a
Issues plain, speedy, and adequate remedy as would allow a relaxation of the rules of procedure.
The Petition questions the CA Decision on the following grounds: Non-obse-rvance of procedure under
(i) Whether Gov. Cerilles correctly availed of the remedy of certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules when she Sections 7 and 8 of RA 665 6
filed her petition before the CA questioning the invalidation of the subject appointments, there being no Gov. Cerilles also faults the CA for upholding the CSCRO's jurisdiction over the appeals directly lodged
appeal, nor any plain, speedy and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law;34 before it by Respondents.42 Gov. Cerilles anchors her claim on Sections 7 and 8 of RA 6656, which provide
(ii) Whether the CA misapplied Section 9 of Presidential Decree No. 807 (Powers and Functions of the CSC the appeal procedure for aggrieved applicants to new positions resulting from a reorganization:
to Approve and Disapprove Appointments) in ruling that an aggrieved applicant for a position due to SEC. 7. A list of the personnel appointed to the authorized positions in the approved staffing pattern shall
reorganization does not need to seek recourse first before the appointing authority (i.e., Gov. Cerilles as be made known to all the officers and employees of the department or agency. Any of such officers and
Provincial Governor of Zamboanga del Sur);35 employees aggrieved by the appointments made may file an appeal with the appointing authority who
(iii) Whether the CA deliberately misapplied Section 7 of RA 6656 in favor of Respondents in order to evade shall make a decision within thirty (30) days from the filing thereof.
discussion on the validity of the subject appointments;36 and SEC. 8. An officer or employee who is still not satisfied with the decision of the appointing authority may
(iv) Whether the CA misinterpreted the jurisdiction of CSCROs, as contained in Section 6[B1] of CSC further appeal within ten (10) days from receipt thereof to the Civil Service Commission which shall render
Memorandum Circular No. 19-99.37 a decision thereon within thirty (30) days and whose decision shall be final and executory. (Emphasis and
underscoring supplied)
On the basis of the cited provision, Gov. Cerilles claims that it was erroneous for the CSCRO to have taken
cognizance of the appeals of Respondents as the same should have first been filed before her as the
The Court's Ruling appointing authority.43 Specifically, Gov. Cerilles posits that the foregoing provisions conferred "original
The Petition is denied. jurisdiction" to the appointing authority over appeals of aggrieved officers and employees and only
Preliminary issue: propriety of filing "appellate jurisdiction" to the CSCRO.44 Thus, she claims that Respondents' failure to observe the proper
a Rule 65 petition for certiorari with procedure deprived the CSCRO of jurisdiction over their appeals.
the CA The Court disagrees.
In her Petition, Gov. Cerilles questions the CA Decision insofar as it considered her petition for certiorari an The records indicate that Respondents did in fact file letters of appeal with Gov. Cerilles on various dates
improper remedy - the proper remedy being a petition for review under Rule 43 of the Rules. Gov. Cerilles after their separation.45 Said appeals, however, were not acted upon despite the lapse of time, which
claims that Resolution No. 031239 and Resolution No. 040995 were non-appealable as the CSC rendered prompted Respondents to instead seek relief before the CSCRO.46 While Gov. Cerilles disputes this
them in its "non-disciplinary" jurisdiction; thus, she insists that the correct remedy was a petition fact,47 the Court, being a trier of law and not of facts, must necessarily rely on the factual findings of the
for certiorari under Rule 65. CA.48 In Rule 45 petitions, the Court cannot re-weigh evidence already duly considered by the lower
The Court is not impressed. courts. In this regard, it was held by the CA:
The Rules and prevailing jurisprudence are settled on this matter. It is well-established that as a condition for Even assuming that petitioner correctly relied on Sections 7 and 8 of R.A. 6656, We still find that private
the filing of a petition for certiorari, there must be no appeal, nor any plain, speedy, and adequate respondents fully complied with the requirements of the said provisions.
remedy available in the ordinary course of law.38 In this case, the CA correctly observed that a Rule 43 Contrary to petitioner's claim, private respondents indeed filed letters of appeal on various dates after their
petition for review was then an available mode of appeal from the above CSC resolutions. Rule 43, which termination. Said appeals however, were unacted despite the lapse of time given the appointing authority
specifically applies to resolutions issued by the CSC, is clear: to resolve the same which prompted private respondents to seek redress before public respondent's
Regional Office. We, thus, cannot give credence to petitioner's claim that no appeal was filed before her
as the appointing authority. As what petitioner would have private respondents do, the latter indeed went No new employees shall be taken in until all permanent officers and employees have been appointed,
through the motions of first attempting to ventilate their protest before the appointing authority. However, including temporary and casual employees who possess the necessary qualification requirements, among
since the appointing authority failed to take any action on the appeal, private respondents elevated the which is the appropriate civil service eligibility, for permanent appointment to positions in the approved
same to the Regional Office and correctly did so. x x x49 staffing pattern, in case there are still positions to be filled, unless such positions are policy-determining,
While no decision on the appeals was ever rendered by Gov. Cerilles, it would be unjust to require primarily confidential or highly technical in nature. (Emphasis supplied)
Respondents to first await an issuance before elevating the matter to the CSC, given Gov. Cerilles' delay in The following may be derived from the cited provisions - First, an officer or employee may be validly
resolving the same. In such case, an appointing authority could easily eliminate all opportunities of appeal removed from service pursuant to a bona fide reorganization; in such case, there is no violation of security
by the aggrieved employees by mere inaction. It is well-settled that procedural rules must not be applied of tenure and the aggrieved employee has no cause of action against the appointing authority. Second,
with unreasonable rigidity if substantial rights stand to be marginalized; here, no less than Respondents' if, on the other hand, the reorganization is done in bad faith, as when the enumerated circumstances in
means of livelihood are at stake. Section 2 are present, the aggrieved employee, having been removed without valid cause, may demand
Proceeding therefrom, the Court cannot therefore ascribe any fault to the CSCRO in resolving the appeals for his reinstatement or reappointment. Third, officers and employees holding permanent appointments in
of Respondents due to Gov. Cerilles' refusal to act, especially since the CSC is, in any case, vested with the old staffing pattern shall be given preference for appointment to the new positions in the approved
jurisdiction to review the decision of the appointing authority.50 staffing pattern, which shall be comparable to their former position or in case there are not enough
comparable positions, to positions next lower in rank. Lastly, no new employees shall be taken in until all
The foregoing issues resolved, the Court now confronts the principal issue in this case: whether the CSC, in permanent officers and employees have been appointed unless such positions are policy-determining,
affirming the CSCRO, erred in invalidating the appointments made by Gov. Cerilles. Otherwise stated, can primarily confidential, or highly technical in nature.
the CSC revoke an appointment for violating the provisions of RA 6656?
Bearing the foregoing in mind, the Court now discusses the matter of appointment.
RA 6656 vis-a-vis the Power of
Appointment, by its very nature, is a highly discretionary act. As an exercise of political discretion, the
Appointment appointing authority is afforded a wide latitude in the selection of personnel in his department or agency
RA 6656 was enacted to implement the State's policy of protecting the security of tenure of officers and and seldom questioned, the same being a matter of wisdom and personal preference.52 In certain
employees in the civil service during the reorganization of government agencies.51 The pertinent provisions occasions, however, the selection of the appointing authority is subject to review by respondent CSC as
of RA 6656 provide, thus: the central personnel agency of the Government. In this regard, while there appears to be a conflict
SEC. 2. No officer or employee in the career service shall be removed except for a valid cause and after between the two interests, i.e., the discretion of the appointing authority and the reviewing authority of the
due notice and hearing. A valid cause for removal exists when, pursuant to a bonafide reorganization, a CSC, this issue is hardly a novel one.
position has been abolished or rendered redundant or there is a need to merge, divide, or consolidate In countless occasions, the Court has ruled that the only function of the CSC is merely to ascertain whether
positions in order to meet the exigencies of the service, or other lawful causes allowed by the Civil Service the appointee possesses the minimum requirements under the law; if it is so, then the CSC has no choice
Law. The existence of any or some of the following circumstances may be considered as evidence of bad but to attest to such appointment.53 The Court recalls its ruling in Lapinid v. Civil Service
faith in the removals made as a result of reorganization, giving rise to a claim for reinstatement or Commission,54 citing Luego v. Civil Service Commission, 55 wherein the CSC was faulted for revoking an
reappointment by an aggrieved party: appointment on the ground that another candidate scored a higher grade based on comparative
(a) Where there is a significant increase in the number of positions in the new staffing pattern of evaluation sheets:
the department or agency concerned; We declare once again, and let us hope for the last time, that the Civil Service Commission has no power
(b) Where an office is abolished and another performing substantially the same functions is of appointment except over its own personnel. Neither does it have the authority to review the
created; appointments made by other offices except only to ascertain if the appointee possesses the required
qualifications. The determination of who among aspirants with the minimum statutory qualifications should
(c) Where incumbents are replaced by those less qualified in terms of status of appointment,
be preferred belongs to the appointing authority and not the Civil Service Commission. It cannot disallow
performance and merit;
an appointment because it believes another person is better qualified and much less can it direct the
(d) Where there is a reclassification of offices in the department or agency concerned and the appointment of its own choice.
reclassified offices perform substantially the same functions as the original offices;
xxxx
(e) Where the removal violates the order of separation provided in Section 3 hereof.
Commenting on the limits of the powers of the public respondent, Luego declared:
SEC. 3. In the separation of personnel pursuant to reorganization, the following order of removal shall be
It is understandable if one is likely to be misled by the language of Section 9(h) of Article V of the Civil
followed:
Service Decree because it says the Commission has the power to "approve" and "disapprove"
(a) Casual employees with less than five (5) years of government service; appointments. Thus, it is provided therein that the Commission shall have inter alia the power to:
(b) Casual employees with five (5) years or more of government service; "9(h) Approve all appointments, whether original or promotional, to positions in the civil service, except
(c) Employees holding temporary appointments; and those presidential appointees, members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, police forces, firemen, and
jailguards, and disapprove those where the appointees do not possess appropriate eligibility or required
(d) Employees holding permanent appointments: Provided, That those in the same category as
qualifications." (Italics supplied)
enumerated above, who are least qualified in terms of performance and merit shall be laid off
first, length of service notwithstanding. However, a full reading of the provision, especially of the underscored parts, will make it clear that all the
Commission is actually allowed to do is check whether or not the appointee possesses the appropriate civil
SEC. 4. Officers and employees holding permanent appointments shall be given preference for
service eligibility or the required qualifications. If he does, his appointment is approved; if not, it is
appointment to the new positions in the approved staffing pattern comparable to their former positions or
disapproved. No other criterion is permitted by law to be employed by the Commission when it acts on - or
in case there are not enough comparable positions, to positions next lower in rank.
as the Decree says, "approves" or "disapproves" - an appointment made by the proper authorities.
The Court believes it has stated the foregoing doctrine clearly enough, and often enough, for the Civil x x x Good faith, we ruled in Dario vs. Mison is a basic ingredient for the validity of any government
Service Commission not to understand them. The bench does; the bar does; and we see no reason why reorganization. It is the golden thread that holds together the fabric of the reorganization. Without it, the
the Civil Service Commission does not. If it will not, then that is an entirely different matter and shall be cloth would disintegrate.
treated accordingly. "Reorganization is a recognized valid ground for separation of civil service employees, subject only to the
We note with stem disapproval that the Civil Service Commission has once again directed the condition that it be done in good faith. No less than the Constitution itself in Section 16 of the Transitory
appointment of its own choice in the case at bar. We must therefore make the following injunctions which Provisions, together with Sections 33 and 34 of Executive Order No. 81 and Section 9 of Republic Act No.
the Commission must note well and follow strictly.56 (Italics in the original) 6656, support this conclusion with the declaration that all those not so appointed in the implementation of
The foregoing doctrine remains good law.57 However, in light of the circumstances unique to a said reorganization shall be deemed separated from the service with the concomitant recognition of their
government reorganization, such pronouncements must be reconciled with the provisions of RA 6656. entitlement to appropriate separation benefits and/or retirement plans of the reorganized government
agency." x x x
To be sure, this is not the first time that the Court has grappled with this issue. As early as Gayatao v. Civil
Service Commission,58 which is analogous to this case, the Court already ruled that in instances of A reorganization in good faith is one designed to trim the fat off the bureaucracy and institute economy
reorganization, there is no encroachment on the discretion of the appointing authority when the CSC and greater efficiency in its operation. It is not a mere tool of the spoils system to change the face of the
revokes an appointment on the ground that the removal of the employee was done in bad faith. In such bureaucracy and destroy the livelihood of hordes of career employees in the civil service so that the new-
instance, the CSC is not actually directing the appointment of another but simply ordering the powers-that-be may put their own people in control of the machinery of government.62 (Citation omitted)
reinstatement of the illegally removed employee: Again, citing Dario v. Mison,63 the Court in Larin v. Executive Secretary64 (Larin) held:
The focal issue raised for resolution in this petition is whether respondent commission committed grave As a general rule, a reorganization is carried out in "good faith" if it is for the purpose of economy or to
abuse of discretion in revoking the appointment of petitioner and ordering the appointment of private make bureaucracy more efficient. In that event no dismissal or separation actually occurs because the
respondent in her place. position itself ceases to exist. And in that case the security of tenure would not be a Chinese wall. Be that
Petitioner takes the position that public respondent has no authority to revoke her appointment on the as it may, if the abolition which is nothing else but a separation or removal, is done for political reason or
ground that another person is more qualified, for that would constitute an encroachment on the discretion purposely to defeat security of tenure, or otherwise not in good faith, no valid abolition takes place and
vested solely in the appointing authority. In support of said contention, petitioner cites the case of Central whatever abolition is done is void ab initio. There is an invalid abolition as where there is merely a change
Bank of the Philippines, et al. vs. Civil Service Commission, et al. x x x. of nomenclature of positions or where claims of economy are belied by the existence of ample funds.65
xxxx Good faith is always presumed. Thus, to successfully impugn the validity of a reorganization - and
correspondingly demand for reinstatement or reappointment - the aggrieved officer or employee has the
The doctrine laid down in the cited case finds no determinant application in the case at bar. A reading of burden to prove the existence of bad faith.66 In Cotiangco v. The Province of Biliran,67 which involved the
the questioned resolution of respondent commission readily shows that the revocation of the appointment reorganization of the Province of Biliran, the Court upheld the validity of the reorganization due to the
of petitioner was based primarily on its finding that the said appointment was null and void by reason of failure of the aggrieved employees to adduce evidence showing bad faith, as provided in Section 2 of RA
the fact that it resulted in the demotion of private respondent without lawful cause in violation of the 6656.
latter's security of tenure. The advertence of the CSC to the fact that private respondent is better support
to its stand that the removal of private respondent was unlawful and tainted with bad faith and that his On the other hand, in the case of Pan v. Pena,68 (Pan) the Court found that the reorganization of the
reinstatement to his former position is imperative and justified. Municipality of Goa was tainted with bad faith based on its appreciation of circumstances indicative of an
intent to circumvent the security of tenure of the employees. The Court therein upheld the invalidation of
xxxx the subject appointments notwithstanding the claim that there was a reduction of plantilla positions in the
Clearly, therefore, in the said resolution the CSC is not actually directing the appointment of private new staffing pattern:
respondent but simply ordering his reinstatement to the contested position being the first appointee In the case at bar, petitioner claims that there has been a drastic reduction of plantilla positions in the new
thereto. Further, private respondent was already holding said position when he was unlawfully demoted. staffing pattern in order to address the LGU's gaping budgetary deficit. Thus, he states that in the municipal
The CSC, after finding that the demotion was patently illegal, is merely restoring private respondent to his treasurer's office and waterworks operations unit where respondents were previously assigned, only 11 new
former position, just as it must restore other employees similarly affected to their positions before the positions were created out of the previous 35 which had been abolished; and that the new staffing pattern
reorganization. had 98 positions only, as compared with the old which had 129.
It is within the power of public respondent to order the reinstatement of government employees who have The CSC, however, highlighted the recreation of six (6) casual positions for clerk II and utility worker I, which
been unlawfully dismissed. The CSC, as the central personnel agency, has the obligation to implement and positions were previously held by respondents Marivic, Cantor, Asor and Enciso. Petitioner inexplicably
safeguard the constitutional provisions on security of tenure and due process. In the present case, the never disputed this finding nor proffered any proof that the new positions do not perform the same or
issuance by the CSC of the questioned resolutions, for the reasons clearly explained therein, is substantially the same functions as those of the abolished. And nowhere in the records does it appear that
undubitably (sic) in the performance of its constitutional task of protecting and strengthening the civil these recreated positions were first offered to respondents.
service.59 (Emphasis and underscoring supplied)
xxxx
The reorganization of the Province of
Zamboanga del Sur was tainted with While the CSC never found the new appointees to be unqualified, and never disapproved nor recalled
bad faith their appointments as they presumably met all the minimum requirements therefor, there is nothing
contradictory in the CSC's course of action as it is limited only to the non-discretionary authority of
Following the discussion above, the resolution of the Petition simply hinges on whether the reorganization of determining whether the personnel appointed meet all the required conditions laid down by law.
the Province of Zamboanga Del Sur was done in good faith. The Court rules in the negative.
Congruently, the CSC can very well order petitioner to reinstate respondents to their former positions (as
In Blaquera v. Civil Service Commission,60 citing Dario v. Mison,61 the Court had the occasion to define these were never actually abolished) or to appoint them to comparable positions in the new staffing
good faith in the context of reorganization: pattern.
In fine, the reorganization of the government of the Municipality of Goa was not entirely undertaken in the Further, in the case of Pan, the Court once again found that the appointment of new employees despite
interest of efficiency and austerity but appears to have been marred by other considerations in order to the availability of permanent officers and employees indicated that there was no bona fide reorganization
circumvent the constitutional security of tenure of civil service employees like respondents.69 by the appointing authority:
Applying the foregoing to the facts of this case, the Court finds that Respondents were able to prove bad The appointment of casuals to these recreated positions violates R.A. 6656, as Section 4 thereof instructs
faith in the reorganization of the Province of Zamboanga del Sur. The Court explains. that:
At the outset, it must be stressed that the existence or non-existence of bad faith is a factual inquiry.70 Its Sec. 4. Officers and employees holding permanent appointments shall be given preference for
determination necessarily requires a scrutiny of the evidence adduced in each individual case and only appointment to the new positions in the approved staffing pattern comparable to their former positions or
then can the circumstance of bad faith be inferred.71 In this respect, the Petition is infirm for raising a in case there are not enough comparable positions, to positions next lower in rank.
question of fact, which is outside the scope of the Court's discretionary power of review in Rule 45 No new employees shall be taken until all permanent officers and employees have been appointed,
petitions.72 While questions of fact have been entertained by the Court in justifiable circumstances, the including temporary and casual employees who possess the necessary qualification requirement, among
Petition is bereft of any allegation to show that the case is within the allowable exceptions. which is the appropriate civil service eligibility, for permanent appointment to positions in the approved
Be that as it may, after a judicious scrutiny of the records and the submissions of the parties, the Court finds staffing pattern, in case there are still positions to be filled, unless such positions are policy-determining,
no cogent reason to vacate the CA Decision, as well as the relevant rulings of the CSC and CSCRO. primarily confidential or highly technical in nature. x x x
First, the sheer number of appointments found to be violative of RA 6656 is astounding. As initially observed In the case of respondent Peña, petitioner claims that the position of waterworks supervisor had been
by the CSCRO, no less than ninety-six (96) of the appointments made by Gov. Cerilles violated the rule on abolished during the reorganization. Yet, petitioner appointed an officer-in-charge in 1999 for its
preference and non-hiring of new employees embodied in Sections 4 and 5 of the said law. While the waterworks operations even after a supposed new staffing pattern had been effected in 1998. Notably,
relative scale of invalidated appointments does not conclusively rule out good faith, there is, at the very this position of waterworks supervisor does not appear in the new staffing pattern of the LGU. Apparently,
least, a strong indication that the reorganization was motivated not solely by the interest of economy and the Municipality of Goa never intended to do away with such position wholly and permanently as it
efficiency, but as a systematic means to circumvent the security of tenure of the ninety-six (96) employees appointed another person to act as officer-in-charge vested with similar functions.75 (Emphasis and
affected. underscoring in the original)
Second, Respondents were replaced by either new employees or those holding lower positions in the old Moreover, the Court notes that the positions of Respondents were not even abolished.76 However, instead
staffing pattern - circumstances that may be properly appreciated as evidence of bad faith pursuant to of giving life to the clear mandate of RA 6656 on preference, Gov. Cerilles terminated Respondents from
Section 2 and Section 4 of RA 6656. Significantly, Gov. Cerilles plainly admitted that new employees were the service and forthwith appointed other employees in their stead. Neither did Gov. Cerilles, at the very
indeed hired after the reorganization.73 least, demote them to lesser positions if indeed there was a reduction in the number of positions
On this matter, the Court's ruling in Larin is instructive. In that case, a new employee was appointed to the corresponding to Respondents' previous positions. This is clear indication of bad faith, as the Court similarly
position of Assistant Commissioner of the Bureau of Internal Revenue, notwithstanding the fact that there found in Dytiapco v. Civil Service Commission77 :
were other officers holding permanent positions that were available for appointment. Thus, for violating Petitioner's dismissal was not for a valid cause, thereby violating his right to security of tenure. The reason
Section 4 of RA 6656, the Court ordered the reinstatement of the petitioner, who was the previous given for his termination, that there is a "limited number of positions in the approved new staffing pattern"
occupant of the position of Assistant Commissioner prior to the reorganization: necessitating his separation on January 31, 1988, is simply not true. There is no evidence that his position as
A reading of some of the provisions of the questioned E.O. No. 132 clearly leads us to an inescapable senior newscaster has been abolished, rendered redundant or merged and/or divided or consolidated
conclusion that there are circumstances considered as evidences of bad faith in the reorganization of the with other positions. According to petitioner, respondent Bureau of Broadcast had accepted applicants to
BIR. the position he vacated. He was conveniently eased out of the service which he served with distinction for
thirteen (13) years to accommodate the proteges of the "new power brokers".
xxxx
xxxx
x x x it is perceivable that the non-reappointment of the petitioner as Assistant Commissioner violates
Section 4 of R.A. 6656.1avvphi1 Under said provision, officers holding permanent appointments are given WHEREFORE, the petition for certiorari is given due course and the Resolutions of the CSC of June 28, 1989
preference for appointment to the new positions in the approved staffing pattern comparable to their and November 27, 1989 are hereby annulled and set aside. Respondents Press Secretary and Director of
former positions or in case there are not enough comparable positions to positions next lower in rank. It is the Bureau of Broadcasts are hereby ordered to reinstate petitioner Edgardo Dytiapco to the position he
undeniable that petitioner is a career executive officer who is holding a permanent position. Hence, he was holding immediately before his dismissal without loss of seniority with full pay for the period of his
should have been given preference for appointment in the position of Assistant Commissioner. As claimed separation. Petitioner is likewise ordered to return to respondent Bureau of Broadcast the separation pay
by petitioner, Antonio Pangilinan who was one of those appointed as Assistant Commissioner, "is an and terminal leave benefits he received in the amount of ₱26,779.72 and ₱19,028.86 respectively. No
outsider of sorts to the bureau, not having been an incumbent officer of the bureau at the time of the costs.78 (Emphasis supplied)
reorganization." We should not lose sight of the second paragraph of Section 4 of R.A. No. 6656 which In view of the foregoing, the Court quotes with approval the following findings of the CSCRO in its Decision
explicitly states that no new employees shall be taken in until all permanent officers shall have been dated June 3, 2002:
appointed for permanent position. "Moreover, in our post audit of the Report on Personnel Actions (ROPA) of the province relative to the
IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, the petition is granted, and petitioner is hereby reinstated to his position as implementation of its reorganization we invalidated one hundred (JOO) appointments79 mainly for
Assistant Commissioner without loss of seniority rights and shall be entitled to full backwages from the time violation of RA 6656 and because of other CSC Law and Rules. This leads us to the inevitable conclusion
of his separation from service until actual reinstatement unless, in the meanwhile, he would have reached that the reorganization in the province was not done in good faith. This Office quite understands the
the compulsory retirement age of sixty-five years in which case, he shall be deemed to have retired at necessity of the province to retrench employees holding redundant positions as it can no longer sustain
such age and entitled thereafter to the corresponding retirement benefits.74 (Emphasis and underscoring the payment of their salaries. But we cannot understand the need to terminate qualified incumbents of
supplied) retained positions and replace them with either new employees or those previously holding lower positions.
We do not question the power of the province as an autonomous local government unit (LGU) to
reorganize nor the discretion of the appointing authority to appoint. However, such power is not absolute
and does not give the LGU the blanket authority to remove permanent employees under the pretext of
reorganization (CSC Resolution No. 94-4582 dated August 18, 1994, Dionisio F. Rhodora, et. al.).
Reorganization as a guise for illegal removal of career civil service employees is violative of the latter's
constitutional right to security of tenure (Yulo vs. CSC 219 SCRA 470). Reorganization must be done in good
faith (Dytiapco vs. CSC, 211 SCRA 88)."
xxxx
"First, the appellants are all qualified for their respective positions. Second, they are all permanent
employees. Third, their positions have not been abolished. And fourth, they were either replaced by those
holding lower positions prior to reorganization or worse by new employees. In fine, a valid cause for
removal does not exist in any of their cases."80 (Emphasis supplied; italics in the original)
The foregoing findings, as affirmed by the CSC, are entitled to great weight, being factual in nature. It is
settled doctrine that the Court accords respect, if not finality, to factual findings of administrative agencies
because of their special knowledge and expertise over matters falling under their jurisdiction.81 No
compelling reason is extant in the records to have this Court rule otherwise.
All told, the Court finds that the totality of the circumstances gathered from the records reasonably lead to
the conclusion that the reorganization of the Province of Zamboanga del Sur was tainted with bad faith.
For this reason, following the ruling in Larin, Respondents are entitled to no less than reinstatement to their
former positions without loss of seniority rights and shall be entitled to full backwages from the time of their
separation until actual reinstatement; or, in the alternative, in case they have already compulsorily retired
during the pendency of this case, they shall be awarded the corresponding retirement benefits during the
period for which they have been retired.
A final note. The Court is not unmindful of the plight of the incumbents who were appointed after the
reorganization in place of Respondents. However, as a result of the illegal termination of Respondents,
there was technically no vacancy to which the incumbents could have been appointed. As succinctly
held in Gayatao v. Civil Service Commission82 :
The argument of petitioner that the questioned resolution of respondent CSC will have the effect of her
dismissal without cause from government service, since she is already an appointee to the position which
private respondent claims, is devoid of legal support and logical basis.
In the first place, petitioner cannot claim any right to the contested position. No vacancy having legally
been created by the illegal dismissal, no appointment may be validly made to that position and the new
appointee has no right whatsoever to that office. She should be returned to where she came from or be
given another equivalent item. No person, no matter how qualified and eligible for a certain position, may
be appointed to an office which is not yet vacant. The incumbent must have been lawfully removed or his
appointment validly terminated, since an appointment to an office which is not vacant is null and void ab
initio.83 (Emphasis supplied)
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Petition is DENIED and the temporary restraining order issued on
March 17, 2009 is deemed LIFTED. Resolution No. 031239 dated December 10, 2003 issued by respondent
Civil Service Commission is hereby ordered executed without delay.
SO ORDERED.
G.R. No. 196890 consultation with the CESB Executive Director, her service as CESB Director III is terminated effective July 31,
CAREER EXECUTIVE SERVICE BOARD, represented by CHAIRPERSON BERNARDO P. ABESAMIS, EXECUTIVE 2010 is hereby declared NULL and VOID. Accordingly, Lodevico is reinstated to her former position as
DIRECTOR MA. ANTHONETTE VELASCO-ALLONES, and DEPUTY EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR ARTURO M. LA Director III and shall be paid her back salaries and other benefits corresponding to the period of her illegal
CHICA, Petitioners termination.13
vs. CESB filed an Omnibus Motion for Clarification and/or Reconsideration,14 assailing the jurisdiction of CSC to
CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION, represented by CHAIRMAN FRANCISCO T. DUQUE III and BLESILDA V. issue the assailed decision.
LODEVICO, Respondents In a Resolution15 dated April 7, 2011, the CSC denied the motion for reconsideration. The fallo thereof
DECISION states:
TIJAM, J.: WHEREFORE, the motion for reconsideration of the [CESB] is hereby DENIED. Accordingly, the [CSC]
Before Us is apetition1
for certiorari and prohibition under Rule 65, seeking to declare null and void the Decision No. 11-0047 dated January 31, 2011, STANDS.16
Decision dated January 31, 2011 of the Civil Service Commission (CSC) in CSC Decision2 No. 11-0047, which Hence, this petition.
declared null and void the Memorandum issued by Chairman Bernardo Abesamis (Chairman Abesamis) of In their Comment, Lodevico and CSC mainly argue that the latter acted within the bounds of its authority
the Career Executive Service Board (CESB). in issuing the assailed decision as it has jurisdiction over her appeal. Also, they contend that the petitioners
The Facts resorted to a wrong mode of appeal. Hence, the petition should be dismissed.
Private respondent Blesilda Lodevico (Lodevico) was appointed by then President Gloria Macapagal- Issue
Arroyo on May 14, 2008 as Director III, Recruitment and Career Development Service, CESB.3 Lodevico Is the dismissal of Lodevico as Director III, Recruitment and Career Development Services from the CESB,
possesses a Career Service Executive Eligibility since November 29, 2001, as evidenced by the Certificate proper?
of Eligibility issued by the CSC.4
Ruling of the Court
On June 30, 2010, the Office of the President (OP) issued Memorandum Circular No. 1 (MC 1), which
declared all non-Career Executive Service positions vacant as of June 30, 2010 and extended the services Procedurally, respondents question the impropriety of filing a petition for certiorari and prohibition under
of contractual employees whose contracts expire on June 30, 2010.5 Rule 65 as the proper mode of appeal is via petition for review under Rule 43.

On July 16, 2010, the OP promulgated the Implementing Guidelines of MC 1, which states that all non- It is well-settled that the extraordinary remedies of certiorari and prohibition are resorted to only where (a)
Career Executive Service Officers (non-CESO) in all agencies of the Executive Branch shall remain in office a tribunal, a board or an officer exercising judicial or quasi-judicial functions has acted without or in excess
and continue to perform their duties until July 31, 2010 or until their resignations have been accepted of jurisdiction, or with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction; and (b) there is
and/or their replacements have been appointed or designated, whichever comes first.6 no appeal or any plain, speedy, and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law.17

Acting pursuant to MC 1 and its implementing guidelines, Chairman Abesamis of the CESB issued a In this case, it is clear that the second requirement is absent as petition for review under Section 118 of Rule
Memorandum7 which informed Lodevico that she shall only remain in office and continue to perform her 43 ·is available to petitioners. However, there are exceptions to the aforementioned rule, namely: "(a)
duties and responsibilities until July 31, 2010.8 when public welfare and the advancement of public policy dictate; (b) when the broader interests of
justice so require; (c) when the writs issued are null; and (d) when the questioned order amounts to an
Meanwhile, Memorandum Circular No. 2 (MC 2), which extended the term stated under MC 1 to October oppressive exercise of judicial authority."19
31, 2010, was issued on July 29, 2010. The same circular provides that all non-CESO occupying Career
Executive Service (CES) positions in all agencies of the Executive Branch shall remain in office and continue In the case of Leyte IV Electric Cooperative, Inc. v. Leyeco IV Employees Union-ALU,20 We relaxed the
to perform their duties and discharge their responsibilities until October 31, 2010 or until their resignations application of the rules of procedure to meet the ends of justice. In Leyte IV, the petitioners filed a petition
have been accepted and/or until their respective replacements have been appointed or designated, for certiorari under Rule 65 instead of filing a petition for review under Rule 43, but We gave due course to
whichever comes first, unless they are re-appointed in the meantime. However, any official whose service the petition to accommodate the broader interest of justice.
has been terminated or whose resignation has been accepted on/or before July 31, 2010, but whose In allowing the liberal application of procedural rules, We emphasized in the case of Obut v. Court of
replacement has not yet been appointed or designated shall be deemed separated from service as of Appeals, et al.,21 that placing the administration of justice in a straightjacket, i.e., following technical rules
the date of termination or acceptance of resignation.9 on procedure would result into a poor kind of justice. We added that a too-rigid application of the
Lodevico filed her appeal on the Memorandum issued by Chairperson Abesamis before the CSC. pertinent provisions of the Rules of Court will not be given premium where it would obstruct rather than
serve the broader interests of justice in the light of the prevailing circumstances of the case under
On September 21, 2010, CESB received a Notice from CSC, requiring it to file a comment.10 On October 1, consideration.22 Moreover, in the case of CMTC International Marketing Corp. v. Bhagis International
2010, CESB filed its Comment,11 assailing the jurisdiction of CSC to hear and decide the appeal. Trading Corp., 23 We denied the application of the technical rules to yield to substantive justice. In said
On January 31, 2011, the CSC rendered the assailed Decision12 which granted the appeal of Lodevico and case, We ruled that the rules of procedure should give way to strong considerations of substantive justice.
declared null and void the termination of her services. The CSC ruled that CESB Chairman Abesamis has no Thus, a rigid application of the rules of procedure will not be entertained if it will obstruct rather than serve
power to terminate the services of Lodevico. As the latter was a presidential appointee, only the President the broader interests of justice in the light of the prevailing circumstances of the case under
has the authority to do so. Hence, the Memorandum issued by Chairman Abesamis is null and void. Also, consideration.24 Likewise, in the case of Uy v. Chua, 25 We interpreted that "[t]he Rules of Court were
the CSC pointed out that the services of a non-CESO occupying CES position in all agencies of the conceived and promulgated to set forth guidelines in the dispensation of justice but not to bind and chain
Executive Branch have been extended until October 31, 2010 pursuant to MC 2. The dispositive portion the hand that dispenses it, for otherwise, courts will be mere slaves to or robots of technical rules, shorn of
reads: judicial discretion. "26
WHEREFORE, the appeal of [Lodevico], Director III, [CESB] is GRANTED. The Memorandum dated July 29, Considering the foregoing and the circumstances obtaining in this case, We allow the application of
2010 of CESB [Chairman Abesamis], informing Lodevico that, pursuant to the provisions of [MC 1] and its liberality of the rules of procedure to give due course to the petition filed by petitioners as the broader
Implementing Guidelines, and after a consensus arrived at by the members of the CES Governing Board in interest of justice so requires.
Substantively, petitioners assert that CSC has no jurisdiction to resolve the appeal of Lodevico. Only a CES Eligible assigned to a CES position may be appointed by the President to a CES Rank. The Entry
Article IX-B of the 1987 Constitution charged the CSC, as the central personnel agency of the Government, Rank in the CES shall be CESO Rank VI regardless of the position to which a CES Eligible is assigned.
with the administration of the civil service.27 Book V, Title I, Subtitle A, Chapter 3, Section 12 of the In sum, for an employee to attain a permanent status in his employment, he must first be a CES eligible.
Administrative Code of 1987 provides for the powers and functions of the CSC, which, among others, Such eligibility can be acquired by passing the requisite civil service examinations and obtaining passing
include its power to decide and pass upon all civil service matters. On the other hand, CESB was grade to the same.36 "At present, the CES eligibility examination process has four stages, namely: (1) Written
specifically established to serve as the governing body of the CBS and mandated to promulgate rules, Examination; (2) Assessment Center; (3) Performance Validation; and (4) Board Interview."37 After
standards and procedures on the selection, classification, compensation and career development of completing and passing the examination process, said employee is entitled to conferment of a CES
members of the CES.28 "From its inception, the CESB was intended to be an autonomous entity, albeit eligibility and the inclusion of his name in the roster of CES eligibles. Such conferment of eligibility is done by
administratively attached to respondent Commission."29 As an attached agency, the decisions of the CESB the CESB through a formal Board Resolution after an evaluation is done of the employee's performance in
are expressly subject to the CSC's review on appeal.30 the four stages of the CES eligibility examinations.38
As to petitioners' second contention, they aver that Lodevico's removal from service is justified in that her Conferment of a CES eligibility does not complete one's membership in the CES nor does it confer security
appointment as Director III, equivalent to Assistant Bureau Director, is not a permanent one. Hence, her of tenure. It is also necessary that an individual who was conferred CES eligibility be appointed to a CES
removal from service by the CESB, following the orders of MC Nos. 1 and 2 issued by the President was valid rank. Such appointment is made by the President upon the recommendation of the CESB. Only after such
and she was not entitled to security of tenure. process will the employees appointment in the service be considered as a permanent one, entitling him to
It must be noted that the President, thru the issuance of MC 1, effectively discharged all non-CESOs security of tenure.39
occupying CES positions in all agencies until July 31, 2010. MC 2 extended the term of their service until In the CES ranking structure, there are recognized six ranks - the highest rank is that of a CESO I while the
October 31, 2010. However, MC2 mentioned that those who have been terminated pursuant to the earlier lowest is that of CESO VI.40
Memorandum but whose replacement has not yet been appointed shall be deemed separated from As clearly set forth in the foregoing provisions, two requisites must concur in order that an employee in the
service as of the date of termination. career executive service may attain security of tenure, to wit:
Going into the issue, it is necessary to determine the nature of Lodevico's position. a) CES eligibility; and
The Civil Service Law classifies the positions in the civil service into career and non-career, to wit: b) Appointment to the appropriate CES rank.41
The career service is characterized by (1) entrance based on merit and fitness to be determined as far as Here, Lodevico was appointed as Director III as evidenced by a Letter42 dated May 14, 2008. The position
practicable by competitive examinations, or based on highly technical qualifications; (2) opportunity for of Director III, equivalent to Assistant Bureau Director, is considered as a Career Executive Service position,
advancement to higher career positions; and (3) security of tenure; while a non-career position is belonging to the third-level. Lodevico met the first requisite as she is a CES eligible, evidenced by a
characterized by (1) entrance on bases other than those of the usual tests of merit and fitness utilized for Certificate of Eligibility.43 However, the second requisite is wanting because there was no evidence which
the career service; and (2) tenure which is limited to a period specified by law, or which is coterminous with proves that Lodevico was appointed to a CES rank.
that of the appointing authority or subject to his pleasure, or limited to the duration of a particular project
for which purpose employment was extended.31 (Citations omitted and emphasis ours) Guilty of repetition, being CES eligible alone does not qualify her appointment as a permanent one, for
there is a necessity for her appointment to an appropriate CES rank to attain security of tenure.
There are also three levels of positions in the career service, namely: (a) the first level shall include clerical,
trades, crafts and custodial service positions which involve non-professional or sub-professional work in a That being said, We consider Lodevico's appointment as mere temporary. Such being the case, her
nonsupervisory or supervisory capacity requiring less than four years of collegiate studies; (b) the second services may be terminated with or without cause as she merely serves at the pleasure of the appointing
level shall include professional, technical, and scientific positions which involve professional, technical or authority. "[T]he temporary appointee accepts the position with the condition that he shall surrender the
scientific work in a non-supervisory or supervisory capacity requiring at least four years of college work up office when called upon to do so by the appointing authority."44 Consequently, her removal from service
to Division Chief level; and (c) the third level shall cover positions in the Career Executive Service.32 based on MC Nos. 1 and 2, which discharged all non-CESO occupying CES positions in all agencies, was
proper.
Under the third level, such positions in the Career Executive Service are further classified into
Undersecretary, Assistant Secretary, Bureau Director, Assistant Bureau Director, Regional Director, Assistant Thus, petitioners are correct in stating that mere appointment of Lodevico as Director III and her CES
Regional Director, Chief of Department Service and other officers of equivalent rank as may be identified eligibility do not automatically mean that her appointment becomes a permanent one. It is necessary that
by the Career Executive Service Board, all of whom are appointed by the President.33 she be appointed in an appropriate CES rank to convert her temporary appointment into a permanent
one.
As to employment status and security of tenure, appointment in the career service shall be either
permanent or temporary.34 Lack of civil service eligibility makes an appointment a temporary one and WHEREFORE, premises considered, the petition is GRANTED. The Decision dated January 31, 2011 and
without a fixed and definite term and dependent entirely upon the pleasure of the appointing power.35 On Resolution dated April 7, 2011 of the Civil Service Commission in CSC Decision No. 11-0047 are REVERSED
the other hand, the acquisition of security of tenure is governed by the rules and regulations promulgated and SET ASIDE.
by the CESB. SO ORDERED.
Sections 2 and 3, Article I, Circular No. 2 Series of 2003 issued by the CESB provide:
Section 2. Membership in the CES. Upon inclusion of his/her name in the Roster of CES Eligibles after the
conferment of CES Eligiblity and compliance with the other requirements prescribed by the Board, a CES
Eligible assigned to any CES position and appointed by the President to a CES Rank becomes a member of
the CES.
Section 3. Original Appointment to CES Rank. Appointment to appropriate classes, based on ranks in the
CES, shall be made by the President from a list of CES Eligibles recommended by the Board.
G.R. No. 225075, June 19, 2019
13th Month Pay - 39,000.00
ARNULFO M. FERNANDEZ, PETITIONER, v. KALOOKAN SLAUGHTERHOUSE INCORPORATED*/ERNESTO
CUNANAN, RESPONDENTS.
Night Shift Differential - 1,462.50
DECISION
CAGUIOA, J.:
Attorney's Fees - 39,246.25
Before the Court is a Petition for Review on Certiorari1 (Petition) under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court assailing
the Decision2 dated March 29, 2016 and Resolution3 dated May 30, 2016 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in All other claims are denied.
CA-G.R. SP No. 141852. The CA denied the petition for certiorari assailing the Decision4 dated April 30,
2015 and Resolution5 dated June 22, 2015 of the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) in NLRC SO ORDERED.17
LAC No. 03-000666-15, which reversed the Labor Arbiter's (LA) Decision6 dated January
27, 2015 finding that petitioner Arnulfo M. Fernandez (petitioner) was illegally dismissed. The LA found that the requisites of an employer-employee relationship were established as follows:
petitioner was hired by Kalookan Slaughterhouse through Tablit and petitioner was paid his daily wage for
Facts his butchering services.18 Further, Kalookan Slaughterhouse had authority to discipline petitioner as regards
his work activities through Kalookan Slaughterhouse's personnel named Noelberto De Guzman
According to petitioner, he was hired in 1994 as a butcher by Kalookan Slaughterhouse, Inc. (Kalookan (De Guzman).19 Kalookan Slaughterhouse also exercised control over the conduct of petitioner in the
Slaughterhouse), a single proprietorship owned by respondent Emesto Cunanan (Cunanan).7 He claimed performance of his work and implemented policies regulating his rendition of services. In fact, De Guzman
that he worked from Monday to Sunday, from 6:30P.M. to 7:30A.M., with a daily wage of P700.00, which admitted to the strict policies imposed by Kalookan Slaughterhouse such as the requirement of I.D.s,
was later reduced to P500.00.8 He further claimed that he met an accident while driving Kalookan uniforms, and even where butchering knives are inserted. According to De Guzman, petitioner violated all
Slaughterhouse's truck in December 2013 and that deductions were made from his wages.9 He questioned of these.20 The policies implemented showed that petitioner could not render butchering services following
these deductions in July 2014, and thereafter he was treated unreasonably.10 Petitioner further claimed his own ways and means. The LA also found that petitioner presented his I.D. issued by
that on July 21, 2014, he suffered from a headache and did not report for work.11 Kalookan Slaughterhouse, which proved that he was an employee of Kalookan Slaughterhouse.21

The next day, however, he was shocked when he only received P200.00 due to his previous undertime and The LA also ruled that Kalookan Slaughterhouse failed to prove its claim that petitioner was not its
was informed that he could no longer report for work due to his old age.12 employee. The LA ruled that Kalookan Slaughterhouse failed to prove that Tablit, who was its employee,
was an independent or job contractor. As its Operations Supervisor, Tablit was deemed to have acted in
Kalookan Slaughterhouse, on the other hand, asserted that petitioner is an independent butcher working the interest of Kalookan Slaughterhouse. And since Tablit engaged petitioner, petitioner is deemed an
under its Operation Supervisor, Cirilo Tablit (Tablit).13 He received payment based on the number of hogs employee of Kalookan Slaughterhouse.22
he butchered and was only required to be in the slaughterhouse when customers brought hogs to be
slaughtered.14 Kalookan Slaughterhouse alleged that it imposed policies on the entry to the premises, The LA thus found that petitioner was illegally dismissed when he was told on July 22, 2014 that he could no
which applied to employees, dealers, independent butchers, hog and meat dealers and longer work due to his old age. For the LA, this was not a just or valid cause to terminate petitioner's
trainees.15 According to Kalookan Slaughterhouse, petitioner violated the policies and he misconstrued employment and it was an arbitrary and whimsical act of Kalookan Slaughterhouse.23 Given the
the disallowance to enter the slaughterhouse as an act of dismissal.16 foregoing, petitioner was entitled to backwages and separation pay. Petitioner was also entitled to service
incentive leave pay, 13th month pay, and night shift differential pay as Kalookan Slaughterhouse failed to
LA Decision prove that petitioner was paid the foregoing.24

On August 5, 2014, petitioner filed the complaint for illegal dismissal before the LA. After the exchange of NLRC Decision
pleadings, the LA ruled that petitioner was illegally dismissed. The dispositive portion of the LA Decision
states: Aggrieved, Kalookan Slaughterhouse appealed to the NLRC, which reversed the LA. The dispositive portion
WHEREFORE, premises considered, judgment is hereby rendered declaring the complainant to have been of the NLRC Decision states:
illegally dismissed by the respondents as a regular employee. Conformably, respondent Kalookan WHEREFORE, premised on all the foregoing considerations, the Decision appealed from is
Slaughter House and its owner, respondent Ernesto N. Cunanan, are hereby ordered, jointly and severally, hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE and a new one is entered DISMISSING the above-entitled case for lack of
to pay the complainant backwages computed from [the] time of dismissal until finality of this Decision and employer-employee relationship.
separation pay, which equivalent (sic) to one (1) month salary per year of service, counted from time of
engagement until finality of this Decision. SO ORDERED.25
The NLRC ruled that although there was a semblance of employer-employee relationship as the work of
As of this date, complainant's backwages and separation pay are tentatively computed at P84,500.00 and a butcher is necessary and desirable in the usual trade and business of a slaughterhouse, the facts and
P260,000.00, respectively. circumstances in this case showed that there was no employer-employee relationship.26 The NLRC ruled
that it was normal and usual practice in slaughterhouses to engage the services of butchers on a
Respondents Kalookan Slaughter House and Ernesto N. Cunanan are further ordered, jointly and severally, contractual or per piece basis.27 Petitioner was an independent contractor and not an employee of
to pay the complainant the following: Kalookan Slaughterhouse because there was no regular payroll showing his name and the legal
deductions made from his salary. There were also no pay slips, and the money he received from Tablit
Service Incentive Leave Pay - p 7,500.00 showed that he was an independent butcher and not an employee of Kalookan Slaughterhouse.28] The
NLRC found that the Sinumpaang Salaysay of Tablit tends to show that there was no employer-employee
relationship between petitioner and Kalookan Slaughterhouse.29 The NLRC also ruled that Petitioner was an employee of
petitioner failed to prove any dismissal as he was only barred from entering the premises for his failure to Kalookan Slaughterhouse.
follow the slaughterhouse's policies,30 but nonetheless ruled that there was just cause to
dismiss petitioner as he was found sleeping on duty.31 Petitioner submitted the following:

CA Decision (a) log sheets for three days in September 2012 where it was shown that he reported for work;39

Petitioner questioned the NLRC Decision to the CA through a petition for certiorari. The CA, however,
denied the petition. The dispositive portion of the CA Decision states:
WHEREFORE, the petition is denied for lack of merit.
(b) three gate passes and one identification card all of which state that he was abutcher;40 and
SO ORDERED.32
The CA ruled that petitioner's claim of the existence of an employer employee relationship is not supported
by substantial evidence as he failed to submit salary vouchers, pay slips, daily work schedule and even a
certificate of withholding tax on compensation income.33 The CA found that the gate passes and log (c) a trip ticket showing that on December 30, 2007, petitioner was part of a group who went to
sheets that petitioner submitted were not sufficient as the gate passes specifically state that they do not Bataan. The trip ticket had a notation that petitioner was a captain of the trip and the truck with
qualify the holder as an employee of Kalookan Slaughterhouse and the log sheets were only for services Plate Number CJH 377 was driven by a certain Peter.41
from September 24 and 28, 2012.34

The CA also ruled that petitioner failed to disprove the Sinumpaang Salaysay of Tablit that petitioner was On the other hand, Kalookan Slaughterhouse presented the following pieces of evidence:
one of the butchers that Tablit personally hired and paid when there were too many hogs to be butchered
at the slaughterhouse.35 (a) Sinumpaang Salaysay42 of Tablit alleging that he has been an employee of Kalookan
Slaughterhouse for more or less 20 years, he was given authority by Cunanan to hire people as
hog butchers when the need arose but he himself would be responsible for paying them, and
Petitioner moved for reconsideration but the CA denied this. Hence, this Petition. that one of those hog butchers was petitioner, he did not exercise control over the means and
Issues methods of the butchers and he only monitored if they finished their work, and that Kalookan
Slaughterhouse strictly implemented the "No ID, No Entry" Policy, "No Uniform, No Entry" Policy,
"No Gate Pass, No Entry" Policy, and that those under the influence of alcohol were prohibited
The issues raised in the Petition are as follows:
from entering the premises;
I

WHETHER THE [CA] COMMITTED A REVERSIBLE ERROR IN AFFIRMING THE NLRC DECISION AND RESOLUTION
WHICH FAILED TO RECOGNIZE THAT THERE WAS AN EMPLOYER EMPLOYEE
RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE PETITIONER AND THE RESPONDENTS. (b) Photographs of petitioner sleeping in the premises of Kalookan Slaughterhouse;43
II

WHETHER THE [CA] COMMITTED A REVERSIBLE ERROR IN AFFIRMING THE NLRC DECISION AND RESOLUTION
WHICH FAILED TO RECOGNIZE THAT THERE WAS AN ILLEGAL DISMISSAL IN THE INSTANT CASE.36 (c) Photographs of policies implemented by Kalookan Slaughterhouse as listed by Tablit;44 and,

The Court's Ruling

The Petition is granted. (d) Sinumpaang Salaysay45 of De Guzman where he alleged that he is a caretaker of Kalookan
Slaughterhouse and he knew of petitioner as one of the butchers hired by Tablit; he would often
The conflicting factual findings of the LA vis-a-vis the NLRC and the CA warrant a review of the factual reprimand petitioner for failing to follow Kalookan Slaughterhouse's policies such as when
t1ndings of the labor tribunals and the CA. As the Court ruled in Cariño v. Maine Marine Phils., Inc.:37 petitioner failed to wear his ID, wear his uniform, and properly store his knives used for butchering.
As a rule, "[i]n appeals by certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court, the task of the Court is generally to Petitioner would also sometimes come to work with dirty clothes, and there was one time he
review only errors of law since it is not a trier of facts, a rule which definitely applies to labor cases." As the caught petitioner sleeping. He also alleged that petitioner is Tablit's employee, and that he
Court ruled in Scanmar Maritime Services, Inc. v. Conag: "But while would only see petitioner when there were many hogs to, be butchered, thus petitioner would
the NLRC and the LA are imbued with expertise and authority to resolve factual issues, the Court not report for work every day.
has in exceptional cases delved into them where there is insufficient evidence to support their findings, or
too much is deduced from the bare facts submitted by the parties, or the LA and the NLRC came up with
conflicting findings x x x."38 It is settled that "[t]o determine the existence of an employer-employee relationship, four elements
generally need to be considered, namely: (1) the selection and engagement of the employee; (2) the Slaughterhouse engaged petitioner. These are sufficient to prove that petitioner was engaged by
payment of wages; (3) the power of dismissal; and (4) the power to control the employee's conduct. Kalookan Slaughterhouse.50
These elements or indicators comprise the so-called 'four-fold' test of employment relationship."46
Kalookan Slaughterhouse, however, attempts to show that even if petitioner worked in the slaughterhouse,
From the foregoing, it is undisputed that petitioner rendered butchering he was Tablit's employee. Tablit claims to be an employee of the slaughterhouse for more or less 20 years
services at Kalookan Slaughterhouse. The LA found that petitioner was engaged by and that he has engaged petitioner as one of his butchers. Kalookan Slaughterhouse further
Kalookan Slaughterhouse itself since petitioner submitted log sheets and gate passes. The NLRC and the alleged that petitioner's salaries were paid by Tablit. Kalookan Slaughterhouse, however, failed to prove
CA, however, ruled that petitioner was only engaged by Tablit, Kalookan Slaughterhouse's Operation this. In fact, Tablit was not shown to possess substantial capital and investment to have an independent
Supervisor, and he was Tablit's own employee. This was supported by Tablit's Sinumpaang Salaysay. business, be petitioner's employer and pay his salaries. Other than Tablit's Sinumpaang Salaysay, no
document was presented to show that he paid petitioner's salaries.

The Court finds that the NLRC and the CA committed a grave error and agrees with the LA. Further, by denying that petitioner was its employee but alleging that he rendered services as Tablit's
employee, Kalookan Slaughterhouse effectively admitted the substantial fact that petitioner has been
Similar to the facts of this case, the Court in Masonic Contractor, Inc. rendering butchering services for 20 years from the filing of the complaint on August 5, 2014. As the Court
v. Madjos47 (Masonic Contractor) ruled that the fact that the company provided identification cards held in Pamplona Plantation Company v. Acosta:51
and uniforms and the vague affidavit of the purported employer x x x Petitioner is estopped from denying that respondents worked for it. In the first place, it never raised this
were sufficient evidence to prove the existence of employer-employee relationship. Thus: defense in the proceedings before the Labor Arbiter. Notably, the defense it raised pertained to the nature
Petitioners' defense that they merely contracted the services of respondents through Malibiran fails to of respondents' employment, i.e., whether they are seasonal employees,
persuade us. The facts of this case show that respondents have been under the employ of MCI as early as contractors, or worked under the pakyaw system. Thus, in its Position Paper, petitioner alleged that
1991. They were hired not to perform a specific job or undertaking. Instead, they were employed as all- some of the respondents are coconut filers and copra hookers or sakadors; some are seasonal employees
around laborers doing varied and intermittent jobs, who worked as scoopers or lugiteros; some are contractors; and some worked under the pakyaw system.
such as those of drivers, sweepers, gardeners, and even undertakers or tagalibing, until they were In support of these allegations, petitioner even presented the company's payroll, which will allegedly prove
arbitrarily terminated by MCI in 2004. Their wages were paid directly by MCI, as evidenced by the latter's its allegations.
payroll summary, belying its self-serving and unsupported contention that it paid directly to Malibiran for
respondents' services. Respondents had identification cards or gate passes issued not by Malibiran, but by By setting forth these defenses, petitioner, in effect, admitted that respondents worked for it, albeit in
MCI, and were required to wear uniforms bearing MCI's emblem or logo when they reported for work. different capacities. Such allegations are
negative pregnants - denials pregnant with the admission of the substantial facts in the
It is common practice for companies to provide identification cards to individuals not only as a security pleading responded to which are not squarely denied, and amounts to an acknowledgement
measure, but more importantly to identify the bearers thereof as bona fide employees of the firm or that respondents were indeed employed by petitioner.52
institution that issued them. The provision of company-issued identification cards and uniforms to
respondents, aside from their inclusion in MCI's summary payroll, indubitably constitutes substantial Even worse for Kalookan Slaughterhouse, while Tablit claimed to be petitioner's employer, he also
evidence sufficient to support only one conclusion: that respondents were indeed employees of MCI. admitted that he did not exercise any control over the means and methods of petitioner in rendering
butchering services. If he was indeed petitioner's employer, he should have control over petitioner's means
Moreover, as correctly observed by the CA, petitioners failed to show that it was Malibiran who exercised and methods for doing his job.
control over the means and methods of the work assigned to respondents. Interestingly, Malibiran's
affidavit is silent on the aspect of control over respondents' means and methods of work. Rather than It, however, appears on record that De Guzman, who is also an employee of
categorically stating that she was the one who directly employed respondents to render work for MCI, Kalookan Slaughterhouse, was the one who exercised control over petitioner's means and methods as
Malibiran merely implies that, like respondents, she was just a co-worker. Malibiran's statement that the he reprimanded petitioner for his failure to properly store his butchering knives, coming to Kalookan
work for MCI was merely in the nature of accommodation to help respondents earn a living, in effect, Slaughterhouse with dirty clothes, reporting for work drunk, and not having an I.D. before going to the
impliedly admits the fact that she did not have the capacity to engage in the independent job- slaughterhouse.
contracting business, and that, therefore, she was not respondents' employer.48
Here, the totality of petitioner's evidence and the admissions of Kalookan Slaughterhouse convinces All the foregoing show that Kalookan Slaughterhouse, through Tablit, was the one who engaged
the Court that petitioner was indeed an employee of Kalookan Slaughterhouse. Petitioner was able to petitioner, paid for his salaries, and in effect had the power to dismiss him. Further,
present an LD., gate passes, log sheets, and a trip ticket. Kalookan Slaughterhouse even admitted Kalookan Slaughterhouse exercised control over petitioner's conduct through De Guzman. To the mind of
through De Guzman that uniforms were given to all personnel, including petitioner. the Court, Kalookan Slaughterhouse was petitioner's employer and it exercised its rights as an employer
through Tablit and De Guzman, who were its employees.
The CA, however, disregarded the gate passes, as it claimed that the gate pass had a note that such did
not qualify the holder as an employee.49 Petitioner was illegally dismissed and
entitled to his money claims.
This is an error as this only applied to one of the gate passes and the other gate passes did not have this
notation. Petitioner claims that on July 22, 2014 he was callously informed that he could no longer report for work
because of his old age.53 Kalookan Slaughterhouse, however, claims that petitioner was not
Further, petitioner was able to submit an I.D. in addition to the gate passes. The trip ticket and the log dismissed but was only barred from entering as he failed to comply with the "No I.D., No Entry" Policy and
sheets also showed that Kalookan the "No Uniform, No Entry" Policy.54
The LA ruled that petitioner's allegation of dismissal was unrebutted as De Guzman only attested to several
instances where petitioner was reprimanded for his failure to comply with the slaughterhouse's policy.55 For
the LA, De Guzman did not state that on July 22, 2014 he had barred petitioner from entering for his failure
to comply with the policies.56

The NLRC believed Kalookan Slaughterhouse that petitioner was not allowed to enter since he failed to
comply with the slaughterhouse's policy.57 The CA did not discuss the issue of dismissal as it ruled that
petitioner was not an employee of Kalookan Slaughterhouse.58 The Court finds that the LA was correct in
ruling that petitioner was illegally dismissed.

Indeed, Kalookan Slaughterhouse failed to specifically deny that on July 22, 2014, petitioner was
informed that he could no longer report for work. De Guzman only alleged that he merely barred
petitioner from entering the slaughterhouse in several instances because of his failure to wear his I.D. and
uniform but he failed to state that this was done on July 22, 2014. De Guzman's silence on this
matter is deemed as an admission by Kalookan Slaughterhouse that petitioner was indeed dismissed on
July 22, 2014. As the Court held in Masonic Contractors:
x x x By their silence, petitioners are deemed to have admitted the same. Section 11 of Rule 8 of the Rules
of Court, which supplements the NLRC Rules, provides that an allegation not specifically denied is deemed
admitted. x x x59
Having been illegally· dismissed, the LA was correct m awarding backwages and separation pay.

The LA's award of service incentive leave pay, night shift differential pay, and 13th month pay is also proper
as Kalookan Slaughterhouse failed to prove that it had paid petitioner such benefits under the
law.60 Such award should be limited to three years prior to the filing of the complaint in August 5, 2014 in
accordance with Article 306 of the Labor Code.61

Finally, Kalookan Slaughterhouse is likewise liable for legal interest at the rate of six percent (6o/o) per
annum from the finality of this Decision until full satisfaction.

The Court, however, notes that petitioner's counsel manifested that it was informed of petitioner's death
but that his heirs failed to provide a death certificate. Petitioner's counsel also sought to request a death
certificate from the Philippine Statistics Authority, which in turn, issued a certificate that it had no record of
death of any person under the name of petitioner.62

Generally, the computation of backwages and separation pay is computed until the finality of the
decision that awarded them. However, given the foregoing, the LA and petitioner's counsel are directed
to confirm petitioner's death, and if confirmed, the LA is directed to compute petitioner's backwages and
separation pay only until his death.63

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Petition is GRANTED. The Decision dated March 29,2016 and
Resolution dated May 30, 2016 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 141852 are REVERSED and SET
ASIDE. The January 27, 2015 Decision of the Labor Arbiter in NLRC NCR Case No. 08-09779-14
is REINSTATED, and the Labor Arbiter is DIRECTED to recompute the backwages and separation pay
following the above guidelines.

Kalookan Slaughterhouse Incorporated is likewise liable for legal interest of six percent (6%) per annum on
the award of backwages and separation pay computed from the finality of this Decision until full
satisfaction.

SO ORDERED.