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Laurel vs.

Desierto [GR 145368, April 12, 2002] Posted by Pius Morados on November 7, 2011 (Public Officers, Chair of National Centennial Commission) Facts: Petitioner is the Chair of the National Centennial Commission (NCC), tasked to take charge of the nationwide preparations for the National Celebration of the Philippine Centennial of the Declaration of Philippine Independence and the Inauguration of the Malolos Congress. Subsequently, a corporation named the Philippine Centennial Expo 98 Corporation (Expocorp) was created and Petitioner was elected Expocorp Chief Executive Officer. An investigation of the anomalies in the construction and operation of the centennial projects was effected and the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee filed with the Secretary of the Senate its Committee Final Report recommending for the prosecution by the Ombudsman/DOJ of Dr. Salvador Laurel, chair of NCC and of EXPOCORP for violating the rules on public bidding, in violation of the anti-graft law. The Evaluation and Preliminary Investigation Bureau issued a resolution finding probable cause to indict petitioner before the Sandiganbayan for conspiring to violate Section 3(e) of Republic Act No. 3019, in relation to Republic Act No. 1594. Petitioner assails the jurisdiction of the Ombudsman on the ground that he is not a public officer because he, both as chairman of the NCC and of the EXPOCORP was not a public officer. Issue: WON petitioner, as Chair of the NCC, was not a public officer. Held: No. A public office is the right, authority and duty, created and conferred by law, by which, for a given period, either fixed by law or enduring at the pleasure of the creating power, an individual is invested with some portion of the sovereign functions of the government, to be exercised by him for the benefit of the public. The individual so invested is a public officer (Mechem). The most important characteristic which distinguishes an office from an employment or contract is that the creation and conferring of an office involves a delegation to the individual of some of the sovereign functions of government, to be exercised by him for the benefit of the public; that some portion of the sovereignty of the country, either legislative, executive or judicial, attaches, for the time being, to be exercised for the public benefit. Unless the powers conferred are of this nature, the individual is not a public officer. Certainly, the law did not delegate upon the NCC functions that can be described as legislative or judicial. We hold that the NCC performs executive functions. The executive power is generally defined as the power to enforce and administer the laws. It is the power of carrying the laws into practical operation and enforcing their due observance. The executive function, therefore, concerns the implementation of the policies as set forth by law. The Constitution provides in Article XIV (Education, Science and Technology, Arts, Culture, and Sports) thereof: Sec. 15. Arts and letters shall enjoy the patronage of the State. The State shall conserve, promote, and popularize the nations historical and cultural heritage and resources, as well as artistic creations. In its preamble, A.O. No. 223 states the purposes for the creation of the Committee for the National Centennial Celebrations in 1998: Whereas, the birth of the Republic of the Philippines is to be celebrated in 1998, and the centennial presents an important vehicle for fostering nationhood and a strong sense of Filipino identity;

Whereas, the centennial can effectively showcase Filipino heritage and thereby strengthen Filipino values; Whereas, the success of the Centennial Celebrations may be insured only through long-range planning and continuous developmental programming; Whereas, the active participation of the private sector in all areas of special expertise and capability, particularly in communication and information dissemination, is necessary for long-range planning and continuous developmental programming; Whereas, there is a need to create a body which shall initiate and undertake the primary task of harnessing the multi-sectoral components from the business, cultural, and business sectors to serve as effective instruments from the launching and overseeing of this long-term project; Hence, the NCC performs sovereign functions. It is, therefore, a public office, and petitioner, as its Chair, is a public officer. ------------Figueroa, Flaviano v. People Assailed and sought to be set aside in this petition for review under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court is the Decision[1] dated October 11, 2002 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. CR No. 17235, affirming in toto an earlier decision of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Davao City, Branch 17, which found herein petitioners guilty of the crime of libel. The antecedent facts: On March 24, 1992, in the RTC of Davao City, the city prosecutor of Davao, at the instance of one Aproniano Rivera, filed an Information[2] for libel under Article 355 in relation to Article 360 of the Revised Penal Code against the herein petitioners, Tony N. Figueroa and Rogelio J. Flaviano. Docketed in the same court as Criminal Case No. 25,957-92 and raffled to Branch 17 thereof, the Information alleges as follows: That on or about April 9, 1991, in the City of Davao, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-mentioned accused, Tony VN. Figueroa, writer under the column entitled Footprints of the People's Daily Forum, conspiring, confederating and helping one another with his co-accused Rogelio J. Flaviano, Publisher-Editor of the same magazine, with malicious intent of impeaching the honesty, integrity, character as well as the reputation and the social standing of one Aproniano Rivera and with intent to cast dishonor, discredit and contempt upon said Aproniano Rivera, willfully, unlawfully and feloniously published in the People's Daily Forum, a news publication as follows: Bangkerohan public market these days is no different from the US Times Square. Bullies, thugs, hooligans and gyppers roam with impunity, some using organizational clout as a ploy to keep themselves from obvious exposure. Some leeches, like a certain Aproniano Rey Rivera, our sources say, are lording it over like the city's sprawling vegetable and meat complex has become an apportioned bailiwick. Rivera, apparently a non-Visayan pseudobully flaunting with his tag as president of a vendor's federation, has intimated a good number of lowly hawkers. This is a confirmed fact, our sources believe. And our independent eveasdroppers [sic] have come with a similar perception of a man who continues to lead a federation when, in the first place, he has no business being in Davao or in Bankerohan. Often, Mr. Re (King?) Rivera strolls the stretches which criss-cross the Bankerohan confines with the arrogance of a tribal chieftain; the only differences, however, are that: he uses no Gstrings, speaks in some strange Luzon lingo and twang, and has no solid leadership. Our reports have finely outlined the mechanics of

Rivera's tactics despite assertions the man is nothing but a paper tiger conveniently propped up by federation members loyal to his sometime indecent role as a sachem. This man, the sources add, is backed by powerful city government hooligans who, it was reported, have direct hand in the planned manipulation in the distribution of stalls to privileged applicants. Even if he has reportedly sold his interest in the public market, which should be reason enough for him to resign from his position, Rivera still carries the false aura of intimidating poor vendors and imposing his insensible remarks about what must be done about the governance of Bangkerohan. Sometimes its hard to compel a man with Rivera's mind about the nuances of honorable resignation. May iba d'yan na pakapalan na lang ng mukha! xxx xxx xxx

as minimum penalty, to two years four months and 31 days of prision correccional minimum as maximum penalty with accessory penalty as provided for by law. Moreover, pursuant to Art. 100 in relation to Art. 104 of the Revised Penal Code, governing civil indemnity, both accused are ordered to pay jointly and solidarily the amount of P50,000.00 as moral damages to complainant, Aproniano Rivera and the amount of P10,000.00 by way of attorney's fees with costs. Without any aggravating circumstances proved by the prosecution, in the commission of the offense charged exemplary damages against both accused, cannot be awarded. x x x SO ORDERED. From the trial courts judgment of conviction, petitioners went to the CA whereat their appellate recourse was docketed as CA-G.R. CR No. 17235. As stated at the threshold hereof, the CA, in the herein assailed Decision[4] dated October 11, 2002, affirmed that of the trial court, to wit: WHEREFORE, premises considered, the decision of the Regional Trial Court is hereby AFFIRMED in all respects. SO ORDERED. Undaunted, petitioners are now with this Court via this petition for review on their submissions that the CA erred 1. IN HOLDING THAT THE COLUMN ENTITLED FOOTPRINTS OF THE PEOPLES DAILY FORUM IS LIBELOUS OR DEFAMATORY TO PRIVATE COMPLAINANT APRONIANO RIVERA; IN HOLDING THAT PRIVATE COMPLAINANT IS NOT A PUBLIC OFFICER, HENCE THE PUBLISHED ARTICLE CANNOT BE CONSIDERED TO BE WITHIN THE PURVIEW OF PRIVILEGED COMMUNICATION;

Rivera, however, must be consoled in knowing he's not alone with his dirty antics. Romy Miclat, a president of a meat vendors group in Bankerohan, and his board member, Erning Garcia, have tacitly followed the way of the thugs, floating little fibs to gullible victims. Our moles have gathered the due are seeling [sic] the new public market stalls for P9,000 with the assurances that the buyer gets a display area ordinarily occupied by two applicants. A lot more have fallen prey to the scheme, and more the blindly swallowing all the books the two are peddling. This dilemma has been there for so long, but the city hall, RCDP, and the city council have continuously evaded the vicious cabal of men out to derail the raffling of the stalls to applicants. Some believe strongly this is odd, but they can only whimper at their helplessness against power-brokers who have taken over the dominance of Bangkerohan. One of the likely victims in this filthy machination are the sinapo vendors who have become explosively furious over the snafu they are facing because of the manipulation of stalls inside Bangkerohan. Insiders continuo[u]sly tell of woeful tales about how they have been given runarounds by many so-called public servants, but they have maintained their composures quite curiously. They are talking, however, of anger which, our sources [s]ay, may end up with a bloody retaliation. This probability is looming more lucid every day the officials handling the Bangkerohan stall mess are condoning their plight. Even politicos are oddly silent about the whole controversy for some unknown reasons. It looks like the alleged schemes perpetrated by Rivera, Miclat and Garcia will remain unperturbed, no thanks to power-brokers. which newspaper was read by the people throughout Davao City, to the dishonor, discredit and contempt upon said Aproniano Rivera. Contrary to law. On arraignment, petitioners as accused, assisted by counsel, entered a common plea of Not Guilty. Thereafter, trial on the merits ensued. On June 8, 1993, the RTC rendered its decision[3] finding both petitioners guilty as charged and accordingly sentenced them, thus: WHEREFORE, finding the evidence of the prosecution sufficient to prove the guilt of both accused, Tony Figueroa and Rogelio Flaviano, columnist and publisher-editor, respectively of the People's Daily Forum, of the offense charged, beyond reasonable doubt; their evidence adduced is not sufficient to afford their exoneration, pursuant to Art. 355 in relation to Art. 360 of the Revised Penal Code, without any mitigating ot [sic] aggravating circumstances, proved in the commission of the offense charged, imposing the indeterminate sentence law, both accused are hereby sentenced to suffer an indeterminate penalty of imprisonment of five months and one day of arresto mayor maximum


3. IN UPHOLDING THE AWARD OF MORAL DAMAGES AND ATTORNEY'S FEES. The petition lacks merit. In praying for their acquittal, petitioners attempt to pass off the subject published article as one that portrays the condition of the Bankerohan Public Market in general. Citing Jimenez v. Reyes,[5] they challenge the finding of the two courts below on the libelous or defamatory nature of the same article which, to them, must be read and construed in its entirety. It is their posture that the article was not directed at the private character of complainant Aproniano Rivera but on the sorry state of affairs at the Bankerohan Public Market. Petitioners posture cannot save the day for them. Our own reading of the entire text of the published article convinces us of its libelous or defamatory character. While it is true that a publication's libelous nature depends on its scope, spirit and motive taken in their entirety, the article in question as a whole explicitly makes mention of private complainant Rivera all throughout. It cannot be said that the article was a mere general commentary on the alleged existing state of affairs at the aforementioned public market because Rivera was not only specifically pointed out several times therein but was even tagged with derogatory names. Indubitably, this name-calling was, as correctly found by the two courts below, directed at the very person of Rivera himself.

If, as argued, the published article was indeed merely intended to innocently present the current condition of the Bankerohan Public Market, there would then be no place in the article for the needless name-calling which it is wrought full of. It is beyond comprehension how calling Rivera a leech, a paper tiger, a non-Visayan pseudobully with the arrogance of a tribal chieftain save for his speaking in some strange Luzon lingo and twang and who has no business being in Davao or Bankerohan can ever be regarded or viewed as comments free of malice. As it is, the tag and description thus given Rivera have no place in a general account of the situation in the public market, and cannot, by any stretch of the imagination, be construed to be anything other than what they really are: defamatory and libelous in nature, and definitely directed at the private character of complainant Rivera. For indeed, no logical connection can possibly be made between Rivera's Luzon origin and the conditions of the Bankerohan Public Market. Doubtless, the words used in the article reek of venom towards the very person of Rivera. Article 353 of the Revised Penal Code defines libel as follows: Art. 353. Definition of libel. - A libel is a public and malicious imputation of a crime, or a vice or defect, real or imaginary, or any act, omission, condition, status, or circumstance tending to cause the dishonor, discredit, or contempt of a natural or juridical person, or to blacken the memory of one who is dead. Defamation, which includes libel and slander, means injuring a person's character, fame or reputation through false and malicious statements. It is that which tends to injure reputation or to diminish the esteem, respect, goodwill or confidence in the complainant or to excite derogatory feelings or opinions about him. It is the publication of anything which is injurious to the good name or reputation of another or tends to bring him into disrepute.[6] In the light of the numerable defamatory imputations made against complainant Rivera as a person, the article in dispute, even taken, as urged, in its totality, undeniably caused serious damage to his character and person and clearly injurious to his reputation. At any rate, in libel cases, the question is not what the writer of the libelous material means, but what the words used by him mean.[7] Here, the defamatory character of the words used by the petitioners is shown by the very recitals thereof in the questioned article. It is next contended by the petitioners that Rivera is a public officer. On this premise, they invoke in their favor the application of one of the exceptions to the legal presumption of the malicious nature of every defamatory imputation, as provided for under paragraph (2), Article 354 of the Revised Penal Code, to wit: Art. 354. Requirement for publicity. - Every defamatory imputation is presumed to be malicious, even if it be true, if no good intention and justifiable motive for making it is shown, except in the following cases: xxx xxx xxx

functions of the government, to be exercised by him for the benefit of the public. The individual so invested is a public officer. The most important characteristic which distinguishes an office from an employment or contract is that the creation and conferring of an office involve a delegation to the individual of some of the sovereign functions of government, to be exercised by him for the benefit of the public; that some portion of the sovereignty of the country, either legislative, executive or judicial, attaches, to be exercised for the public benefit. Unless the powers conferred are of this nature, the individual is not a public officer.[8] Clearly, Rivera cannot be considered a public officer. Being a member of the market committee did not vest upon him any sovereign function of the government, be it legislative, executive or judicial. As reasoned out by the CA, the operation of a public market is not a governmental function but merely an activity undertaken by the city in its private proprietary capacity. Furthermore, Rivera's membership in the market committee was in representation of the association of market vendors, a non-governmental organization belonging to the private sector. Indeed, even if we were to pretend that Rivera was a public officer, which he clearly is not, the subject article still would not pass muster as Article 354(2), supra, of the Revised Penal Code expressly requires that it be a fair and true report, made in good faith, without any comments or remarks. Even a mere cursory glance at the article reveals that it is far from being that. Finally, petitioners assail the award by the two courts below of moral damages and attorney's fees in favor of Rivera. The assault must fail. Article 2219(7) of the Civil Code is express in stating that moral damages may be recovered in case of libel, slander or any other form of defamation. From the very publication and circulation of the subject defamatory and libelous material itself, there can be no doubt as to the resulting wounded feelings and besmirched reputation sustained by complainant Rivera. The branding of defamatory names against him most certainly exposed him to public contempt and ridicule. As found by the trial court in its judgment of conviction: Complainant, when he read the subject publication, was embarrass on what was written against him, made more unpleasant on the occasion of the reunion of his son-in-law, who just arrived from the United States for the first time, was confronted of the above-defamatory publication. He was worried and depressed, about the comments against him, affecting his credibility and personality, as representative of many market organizations in Davao City. Having been exposed to embarrassment and ridicule occasioned by the publication of the subject article, Rivera is entitled to moral damages and attorney's fees. IN VIEW WHEREOF, the instant petition is DENIED and the assailed CA Decision dated October 11, 2002 is AFFIRMED. ------------------Azarcon vs. Sandiganbayan Issues: WON the SB gas jurisdiction over the subj matter of the controversy WON the pet can be considered a public officer by reason of his being designated by the VIR as depositary of distrained property Facts: Azarcon owned and operated an earth-moving business, hauling dirt and ore. His services contracted by Paper industries Corp of Phil PICOP Engaged services of sub-contractors like Ancla whose trucks were left at pets premises. In May 1983, Warrant of Distraint of Personal Prop was issued by the Main Office of the BIR addressed to the Reg Director Batausa commanding him to distraint the goods, chattels or effects of other personal property of Ancla, subcontractor of Azarcon and delinquent taxpayer. The warrant of garnishment was issued to Azarcon ordering him to surrenter, transmit, or remit to BIT the property in his possession. Warrant was received by Azarcon in June 1985

2. A fair and true report, made in good faith, without any comments or remarks, of any judicial, legislative, or other official proceedings which are not of confidential nature, or of any statement, report, or speech delivered in said proceedings, or of any other act performed by public officers in the exercise of their functions. Again, as correctly found by both the trial court and the CA, Rivera is not a public officer or employee but a private citizen. Hence, the published article cannot be considered as falling within the ambit of privileged communication within the context of the above-quoted provision of the Penal Code. A public office is the right, authority and duty, created and conferred by law, by which an individual is invested with some portion of the sovereign

Azarcon signed the Receipt for goods, articles and things seized under auth of the National Internal Revenue which stated that he promised to faithfully keep, preserve, to protect goods articles and things seized xxx and will produce and deliver all said goods, articles etc upon the order of any court in the Phill or upon demand of Commr of Internal Revenue or any agent of BIR. Azarcon wrote letter in 1985, November which stated that Azarcon ceased his operations and surreptitiously withdrew his equipment from custody. Incidentally pet reported taking of truck to security manager of PICOP and requested him to prevent truck being taken out of the PICOP concession. By the time the order was given, it was too late. In 1986, Calo, Revenue Doc Processor of Revenue Region sent a progress report about the surreptitious taking of the dump truck and that Ancla was renting out the truck to a certain contractor, Cueva, at PICOP, the same company which engaged pet earth moving services. She suggested that a warrant of garnishment be reissued against Mr. Cueva (PICOP) for whatever amount of rental is due from Ancla until he has paid his tax liabilities. Instead of doing so, Batausa filed a complaint against Pet. Prov Fiscal forwarded to Tanodbayan and then prelim invest was conducted. Ancla and Azarcon were charged before SB of malversation 217 in relation with 222. The charge states that since the private individual voluntarily offered himself as custodian of the truck and has become resp and accountable for said prop to satisfy the tax liability, the truck became public prop and the value thereof as public fun. Pet defense: 1. was not present during the prelim invest 2. not a public officer SB ruled that pet is guilty of malversation SC HELD: On jurisdiction: SB has no jurisdiction over the individual. Jurisdiction must appear clearly from the statue law or it will not held to exist. jurisdiction determined by the law at the time of the commencement of the action. Applicable prov. PD 1601 amended by 1861 but prior to their amendment by RA 7975. SB jurisdiction: a. Violations of 3019, anti-graft and corrupt practices b. other offenses by public officers and employees. C. In case private indiv are charged as co-principals, accomplices or accessories with public officers or employees, they shall be tried jointly with the public officers and employees. Therefore, jurisdiction of SB is hinged on WON Azarcon is a public officer by the meaning of law. On status of Azarcon: He is still a private individual. crime doesnt charge pet as co-principal, accomplice or accessory to a public officer. ART 203 states what a public officer is. He doesnt fall within the ambit of the definition. Even when the pet, in signing the receipt for the truck constructively distrained by the BIR, commenced to take part in an activity constituting public functions, he still may not be deemed a public officer. Not by popular election, not by appointment by direct provision of law or competent auth. SOL GEN: takes case of US vs. Rastollo which ruled that the power to designate a private person who has actual possession of a distrained prop as a depository of distrained prop is necessarily implied in the BIRs power to place the prop of a delinquent tax payer in distrained as provided of the NIRC CODE. SC disagrees. Different facts of the cases. Judicial deposit vs. BIR administrative act of effecting constructive destraint. While the BIR had auth to require pet to sign a receipt for the distrained truck, the NIRC did not grant it the power to appoint Pet a public officer. Although sec 206 of the NIRC authorizes the BIR to effect a constructive distraint by requiring any person to preserve distrained prop there is no provision in the NIRC constituting such person a public officer by reason of such requirement. The BIRs power authorizing a private indiv to act as depositary cannot be stretched to include the power to appoint him as a public officer. Consideration of ART. 222 private indiv as public officer. SC ruled that a private indiv who has in his charge any of the public funds or prop enumerated and commits any of the acts defined should likewise be penalized with the same penalty meted to erring public officers. Nowhere in the said provision is it expressed or implied that a private indiv be deemed a public officer. Azarcon and Ancla, his co-accused, are both private indivs. Judgment annulled and set aside. --------------

In a letter-complaint dated 11 January 1993, addressed to this Court, Respondent Atty. Inocencio E. Dumlao, then Branch Clerk of Court of the Regional Trial Court of Makati, Branch 134, was charged by the RTC Makati Movement against Graft & Corruption for allegedly engaging in usurious activities, immorality and violation of the Anti-Graft & Corrupt Practices Act (R.A. 3019, as amended). The complaint alleged that Respondent withheld the salary checks of all RTC Makati employees to compel them to borrow money from him at usurious rates, as evidenced by Trust Agreements. The amounts loaned are collected through his alleged paramour, Ms. Piedad Rufo (now Piedad R. Cruz), a clerk employed at the Cash Section of the Office of the Clerk of Court, RTC Makati. 1 Respondents was also charged with allegedly demanding money from party litigants and lawyers in exchange for favorable action on their cases. Attached to the letter-complaint are the following supporting documents: Petition dated 25 April 1988 signed by about 90 employees of the Makati RTC requesting that the remittances of the employees' checks, allowances and other benefits be done either by registered mail addressed to the respective Branch Clerks or OIC's or by personal representation by one personnel of each branch upon authority from the Branch Clerk of Court or OIC; Memorandum of then Makati, RTC Clerk of Court Maximo C. Contreras directing the release of treasury warrants to the payees only, otherwise the release should bear his approval; Complaint for Sum of Money filed on 4 October 1990 by respondent Inocencio E. Dumlao against a certain Nelson Olandesca based on a promissory note which was attached to the complaint as Annex "A"; Affidavit complaint dated 15 October 1991 of respondent Inocencio E. Dumlao for estafa (trust agreement) against Adora Balinguit filed with the fiscal's office of Makati . . .; Subpoena issued in IS No. 92-1162 dated 20 February 1992 for estafa (violation of trust agreement) where the complainant is respondent Dumlao against one Lorie Ann Martinez who was then a court employee of Makati RTC Branch 149. Attached to the subpoena are two (2) receipts signed by Martinez as trustee and Dumlao as trustor. 3 Based on the rule laid down in the case "Anonymous Complaint Against District Judge Gibson A. Araula, CFI of Southern Leyte, Branch X" 4 that: [a]lthough the court does not as a rule act on anonymous complaints, cases are excepted in which the charged could be fully borne by public records of indubitable integrity, thus needing no corroboration by evidence to be offered by complainant, whose identity and integrity could hardly be material where the matter involved is of public interest. the complaint was given due course and a Resolution dated 3 May 1993 was issued requiring Respondent to comment. Respondent vehemently denied all the charges and branded the allegations as mere conjectures, hearsay and rumors without legal or factual basis. He revealed that since December 1992, he has been engaged in a confidential mission to help the Court Administrator expose the widespread corruption in the Makati RTC and he surmised that this is the reason for the "anonymous poison letter" against him. 5 In its Reply dated 27 July 1993, complainant Movement denigrated Respondent's claim as prime crusader against graft and corruption and challenged Respondent's appointment as a confidential agent in view of the latter's removal from the Land Transportation Office, prior to his appointment as Branch Clerk of Court of RTC Makati, Branch 34, for being notoriously undesirable. 6 On 7 April 1994, the Office of the Chief Justice received another lettercomplaint against Respondent signed by Susan B. Quinto for:

RTC Makato Movement Against Graft and Corruption v. Dumlao

1) Corruption and dereliction of duty for exacting money from court litigants in the pretext that the amounts exacted are his commissioner's fees, yet, he does not prepare his reports: 2) For operating a lending agency with the use of the facilities of the court and for exacting from court employees usurious interest: 3) For criminal negligence in the performance of his duties as Branch Clerk of Court of RTC, Branch 234, Makati, Metro Manila. 7 In a Resolution dated 1 June 1994, the aforementioned cases were consolidated and referred to Executive Judge Salvador Abad Santos of the RTC, Makati, Metro Manila, for investigation, report and recommendation. In the course of the investigation conducted by Executive Judge Abad Santos, no one appeared in behalf of the RTC Movement Against Graft & Corruption. However, complainant Susan Quinto testified and adduced evidence to substantiate her complaint. In his report submitted on 23 August 1994, Executive Judge Abad Santos made the following findings which we quote in full below: xxx xxx xxx With regard with the first charge, the private complainant has shown through, among others, court records that respondent indeed charged commissioner's fees for the reception of evidence in at least 2 ex-parte cases. These cases are Makati Insurance Company, Inc. versus Hadji Anthony Lim (Civil Case No. 91-217) and Household Finance Corporation versus Sps. Oledena (Civil Case No. 92-3449). Both cases are pending before Branch 134, RTC, Makati. Both cases were dismissed by the present presiding Judge Paul Arcangel for failure to prosecute only to find out that plaintiffs in the two (2) cases had already presented their evidence ex-parte on 20 July 1992 and 17 June 1993 respectively before the then Clerk of Court who was respondent Dumlao. Notwithstanding the protestations of respondent to the effect that he was not the recipient of the amount although he admitted he "billed" the parties and the subsequent recantation of one of the lawyers, the court still believes him to be liable since in the first place he admitted having demanded certain amounts from the parties. Again during his testimony he made an admission that he collected commissions of from P300.00 to P500.00 for the ex-parte reception of evidence. (TSN, 28 July 1994, pp. 6-7.) Nowhere in the Rules is the Clerk of Court allowed to charge and collect commissioner's fees for the reception of evidence ex-parte. On the contrary, on Page 32 paragraph 1 of the Manual for Clerks of Court, it is stated that "No Clerk of Court shall demand and/or receive commissioner's fees for reception of evidence ex-parte." This offense is aggravated by respondent's failure to prepare the commissioner's reports notwithstanding his having been paid at the ex-parte reception. Moreover, there is the unrefuted allegation of a certain Atty. Eugenio Macababayao that respondent asked P1,000.00 from him when he requested that his LRC Case No. M-2489 be set for hearing. It appears that the said case was filed on 11 February 1992. After the lapse of one or two months, when he went to respondent to request that the case be calendared, respondent asked for P1,000.00. Because he refused to pay, the case was not set for hearing. It was only on 17 January 1994 after respondent was transferred to another Court that the case was included in the Court's calendar. Whether or not respondent demanded money is no longer as important. The fact is it took almost two (2) years before the case was set for hearing. Among others, it is the duty of the Clerk of Court to assist the Judge in the matters such as this. With regard to the second charge of engaging in usurious activities, the evidence of private complainant are so preponderant that it cannot but be concluded that respondent was into usurious activities on government time and resources. The testimony of Arthur Blancaflor, his runner then, was given with ease and spontaneity and so complete that its veracity cannot be doubted. His testimony details respondent's collection process. Blancaflor on payday gets the pay checks of respondent's debtors, brings them to the payees for the latter's endorsement, gives them to respondent for his second endorsement and deposits them to respondent's account with the Philippine National Bank. This testimony is corroborated by that of Atty. Cynthia

Marmita, Clerk of Court of Branch 136, RTC Makati who admitted having borrowed money from respondent "around 20 to 30 times" at 10% interest a month. (TSN, 15 July 1994, pp. 4-5.) Teresa Arzaga, a municipal employee detailed with Makati RTC also testified to the same effect except that the loans were coursed thru respondent's friend Piedad Rufo. (TSN, 12 July 1994, pp. 4-8.) Rosario Ambrosio also testified that she borrowed money from Piedad Rufo to the tune of around P50,000.00. This witness turned hostile when she denied having dealt with respondent with regard to her loan transactions although she admitted having heard of the same. (TSN, 12 July 1994, p. 8.) But what really convinced the court of respondent's lending activities are the documentary evidence attached to the complaint as annexes and introduced in evidence at the hearing. These are Exh. K, the information filed against RTC Makati employee Lorie Ann Martinez at the instance of respondent Dumlao for violation of Trust Agreement (Estafa): Exh. L, the affidavitcomplaint of respondent Dumlao in the said estafa case where it is alleged that Lorie Ann Martinez "failed to deliver to the beneficiary, Ms. Piedad Ronquillo (Rufo) the sum of P6,000.00 on their delivery dates, i.e., June 15, and July 15, 1991, and likewise failed to return to complainant on or before June 18 and July 18, 1991, the said sum of P6,000.00 in violation of her obligation to do so, in accordance with the "Trust Agreement" referred to in the affidavit-complaint; Annex C of the complaint in Administrative Matter No. P-93-800, which is a copy of the complaint for sum of money filed by respondent Dumlao against one Nelson Olandesca based on a promissory note signed by the latter in favor of the former; and Annex D of the same complaint which is another affidavit-complaint for estafa again filed at the instance of respondent Dumlao vs. another RTC Makati court employee, Adora Balinguit, with the same "Trust Agreement" as exhs. L1 & L2 as basis. All these indubitably show that respondent was really engaged in lending activities especially in the light of respondent's failure to satisfactorily explain them. Finally, as to the charge of dereliction of duty as Branch Clerk of Court of RTC Makati Branch 134, all one has to do is to examine the Monthly Reports signed by respondent Dumlao and the inventory submitted by the present presiding judge of the said branch and it becomes apparent that while respondent Dumlao reported that their court had only 2 cases pending decision for the month of April, 1993; 4 for May 1993; and 2 for June 1993; yet the inventory submitted by Judge P. Arcangel as of 13 December 1993 shows about 120 cases were submitted for decision or with unresolved incidents some of which as early as 1983. Respondent's reliance on the report of the criminal and civil in-charge will not exculpate him from being negligent especially in the light of his own admission of "aberrations" and "shenanigans" going on in their branch. This should have all the more put him on his guard and he should have double checked the entries in the inventories given to him for his signature. 8 Based on the foregoing, Executive Judge Abad Santos recommended the dismissal of Respondent from service on grounds of grave misconduct and dishonesty prejudicial to the best interest of the service and acts unbecoming a court officer. After a thorough analysis of the records of the case, we find that the dismissal of Respondent is in order. We approve the recommendation of Executive Judge Abad Santos. Public service requires utmost integrity and strictest discipline. A public servant must exhibit at all times the highest sense of honesty and integrity. The administration of justice is a sacred task. By the very nature of their duties and responsibilities, all those involved in it must faithfully adhere to, hold inviolate, and invigorate the principle solemnly enshrined in the 1987 Constitution that a public office is a public trust; and all public officers and employees must at all times be accountable to the people, serve them with utmost responsibility, integrity, loyalty and efficiency. The conduct and behavior of everyone connected with an office charged with the dispensation of justice, from the presiding judge to the lowliest clerk, should be circumscribed with the heavy burden of responsibility. Their conduct, at all times, must not only be characterized by propriety and decorum but, above all else, must be above suspicion. Indeed, every employee of the judiciary should be an example of integrity, uprightness and honesty. 9 The nature and responsibilities of public officers enshrined in the 1987

Constitution and oft-repeated in our case law are not mere rhetorical words. Not to be taken as idealistic sentiments but as working standards and attainable goals that should be matched with actual deeds. In the case at bench, the particular public officer concerned is a Branch Clerk of a court of justice who is described as an essential officer in any judicial system, whose office is the hub of activities, both adjudicative and administrative 10 and who occupy a position of great importance and responsibility in the framework of judicial administration. 11 Clerks of Court are, thus, required to be individuals of competence, honesty and probity specifically mandated to safeguard the integrity of the court and its proceedings, to earn respect therefor, to maintain loyalty thereto and to the judge as the superior officer, to maintain the authenticity and correctness of court records and to uphold the confidence of the public in the administration of justice. 12 Did Respondent live up to his commitment?

15.1 That respondent has no personal knowledge of the existence of the Manual for Clerks of Court, published in 1991, prohibiting the collection of commissioner's fees. In fact, herein respondent must admit that he saw the Manual for the first time only on July 28, 1994, during the hearing of this case, when the Executive Judge showed it to him. 19 Respondent confirmed such ignorance during his cross-examination: Q Do you know for a fact that it's prohibited to collect commissioner's fees, under the rules? A Unless designated I think it is not authorized. Q Whether authorized or not you are not allowed to collect commissioner's fees, is it not? A I am not aware of that, Your Honor.

On the issue of Respondent's demanding and receiving so called "commissioner's fees," we find the charges against Respondent meritorious. The Manual for Clerks of Courts, which in essence is the "Bible for Clerks of Courts" 13 specifically provides that: No Branch Clerk of Court shall demand and/or receive commissioner's fees for reception of evidence ex-parte. 14 . . . The court shall allow the commissioner, other than an employee of the court, such reasonable compensation as the circumstances of the case warrant. . . . 15 (Emphasis supplied) Yet despite the express prohibition, a bill for the payment of P2,000.00 as commissioner's and stenographer's fees for the ex-parte presentation of plaintiff's evidence in the case of Makati Insurance Co., Inc. v. Hadji Anthony Lim (Civil Case No. 91-217) pending before Branch 134, RTC-Makati was issued and signed by Respondent on 20 July 1992. We find Respondent's explanation that he was not the commissioner appointed in the aforementioned case and that he did not receive any money 16 insufficient in view of his categorical admission on two (2) occasions that he signed the said bill. His convenient excuse that he could no longer recall who the assigned commissioner was, is simply incredible. Q So you now admit that the signature found in the bill for the payment of commissioner's fees in this case, marked as Exh. "B" is your signature? A Admitted. COURT: Now, you received the amount of P2,000.00 as commissioner's fees, as it appears in this document? ATTY. DUMLAO: I cannot. . . it appears to be there Your Honor, but I cannot recall that now. COURT: That is your signature? ATTY. DUMLAO: It appears to be my signature Your Honor. 18 Respondent's admission that he is unfamiliar with the Manual of the Clerks of Courts and is not even aware of its existence does not help him any. In his Supplemental Affidavit dated 29 July 1994, he categorically stated:

Q Your not aware that it's prohibited? A Yes, Your Honor, I am not aware that it is prohibited, because that has been the usual practiced of the Court. COURT: Proceed. ATTY. NICOLAS: Q As Branch Clerk of Court in Branch 134 and as present Acting Clerk of Court of RTC Valenzuela, do you have a copy of this manual? (Counsel referring to Manual for Clerks of Court.) A No, I don't have. COURT: How long have you been a Branch Clerk ? A Thirteen (13) I think, Your Honor. ATTY. NICOLAS: Q Even if you don't have a copy of this Manual, are you aware of it's existence? A No. Q You have not led your eyes on this Manual, you were not informed? A This is the first time I saw this. Q So, as Branch Clerk of Court and as present Clerk of Court, what do you use as your guidelines to perform your duties as Clerk of Court, in knowing what duties and responsibilities and how to go about such duties and responsibilities? A Well, it was the experienced that I have for the past thirteen (13) years and the work description of my appointment. 20 Respondent's ignorance of the existence and contents of the Manual for Clerks of Court clearly demonstrates how grossly remiss he has been in the performance of his duties as Branch Clerk of Court of Branch 134 RTCMakati.

He cannot rely on his thirteen (13) years of experience alone, vast though it may seem, because the law is constantly evolving. As a court officer, he should keep abreast of the various changes and amendments of the law. We view with skepticism the affidavit of Atty. Eugenio Macababayao, Jr., presented by Respondent, recanting his previous testimony that Respondent demanded P1,000.00 from his client in order that his case (LRC Case No. M2489) can be set for hearing 21 and his present claim that the aforementioned amount is not for Respondent's own benefit but for sheriff's expenses. In his affidavit of 7 September 1994, Atty. Macababayao admitted that Respondent neglected to fully explain the purpose of the aforementioned amount. He stated thus: 2.1. That when I follow up LRC Case No. M-2489 before Atty. Inocencio E. Dumlao to have the same set for hearing he told me to ask my client to prepare P1,000.00, and as explained to me afterwards, the purpose of the P1,000.00 was for the estimated sheriff's expenses. . . 22 (Emphasis supplied) 2.3. That the insinuation and interference that the P1,000.00 to be prepared by my client was for the personal benefit of Atty. Dumlao was only the presumption of my client, because at that time, the purpose of the amount was not thoroughly explained to me. 23 Respondent's failure to explain the purpose for which the money will be used at the time that he solicited the same reflects poorly on his conduct as Branch Clerk of Court and how he carries out the functions of his office. More importantly, it was only two (2) years after the aforementioned case was filed, was it finally set for hearing on January 17, 1994 by Judge Paul T. Arcangel, notably after Respondent left RTC-Makati, Branch 134, 24 and without Atty. Macababayao, Jr. asking or giving anything. 25 Respondent, with his years of experience, ought to know that "the Clerk of Court is the model for the court employees to act speedily and with dispatch on their assigned tasks to avoid the clogging of cases in courts and thereby assist in the administration of justice without undue delay." 26 Anent the second accusation that Respondent allegedly operated a lending business at the RTC of Makati using the facilities and resources of the court and charging the court/government personnel exorbitant or usurious interest, we concur with the findings of Executive Judge Abad Santos. Witness Arthur Blancaflor, an employee of Br. 134, RTC Makati doing clerical work, has exposed in detail, the modus operandi of Respondent's lending activities. Material portions of his testimony are hereunder quoted: ATTY. NICOLAS:

COURT: What checks? A Salary checks, sir. ATTY. NICOLAS: Q Whose salary checks are these? A The employees who borrowed money from Atty. Dumlao. Q What did you do with these checks? A I asked the said employees to endorse the checks and then I return them to Atty. Dumlao. Q Afterwhich what did Atty. Dumlao do with the checks? A Atty. Dumlao signed all the checks and then asked me to deposit them to the PNB, Makati. Q After you deposited at PNB, you don't do anything else? A I returned the bank book to Atty. Dumlao. Q Does Atty. Dumlao pay you anything for this errand? A No, ma'am. Q Why do you do this for him? A Because he is my superior. Q Where? A At Branch 134. Q So, as Branch 134 Casual doing clerical work, you're under the supervision of Atty. Dumlao? A Yes ma'am.

Q I will ask you one by one. What is your position in Branch 134 of RTC Makati? A Casual, Ma'am.

Q In doing this errand, you did not received any other compensation from him? A None, ma'am. 27

Q Doing what? xxx xxx xxx A Clerical work, ma'am. Q You mentioned in number 4 during your assignment in said Branch, you have personal knowledge of the lending activities of Atty. Dumlao? A Yes, ma'am. Q How much is the interest when he lends out money? A Ten percent per month, ma'am. Q What did you do for him regarding this lending activities of his? A He was giving me checks. The documentary exhibits presented by Complainant leave no doubt as to the existence of Respondent's lending operation, some of which even led to the filing (by Respondent) of criminal charges against borrowers who failed to pay their loans under the so-called trust agreements. 28 Such despicable acts cannot be tolerated by this Court. Respondent's reliance on CB Circular No. 905 implementing Monetary Board Resolution No. 225 which effectively suspended the provisions of the Usury Law is misplaced. Although Respondent may not be criminally or civilly liable, he is still administratively liable under the Civil Service Law where lending money at usurious rates of interests is specifically listed as grounds for disciplinary action. 29 Courts are not lending institutions. By engaging in lending activities,

Respondent has caused dishonor to courts of justice. On the final issue of dereliction of duty, we likewise concur with the findings of Executive Judge Abad Santos. One of the duties of a Branch Clerk of Court is to attend all court sessions. 30 In the instant case, however, Respondent has seriously neglected this duty to the prejudice of public interest. Witness Rolando Santos testified thus: Q Can you substantiate that allegation, why do you say that he's not performing his duties? A Well, my duty is inside the Court room; my duty is purely to interpret testimonies and to assist the Clerk of Court during the trial that is mandated by the Supreme Court, but during the course of the hearings it is seldom that I assist Atty. Dumlao, it is almost always me assisting the Judge during the trial. ATTY. NICOLAS: Q In these trials, you are present during the hearing? A Yes, ma'am. Q Was Atty. Dumlao present in these hearings? A Seldom. Q But, generally was he present? A No, ma'am. 31 In Raosa v. Garcia 32 we laid down the rule that: Respondent's duties and responsibilities as branch clerk of court require that his entire time be at the disposal of the court served by him . . . to assure that full-time officers of the courts render the full-time service required by their office so that there may be no undue delay in the administration of justice and in the disposition of cases as required by the Rules of Court. We find Respondent's failure to prepare proper or correct monthly reports of cases a serious breach of duty. One of the basic responsibilities of a Branch Clerk of Court is the preparation of the monthly report of cases to be submitted to this Court 33 and this time Respondent cannot feign ignorance. In his supplemental affidavit dated 29 July 1994, Respondent reproduced in full his duties as Branch Clerk of Court: Under the direction of the Presiding Judge, he exercises supervision and control over the personnel of a particular branch of the court; performs the duties and functions of a Clerk of Court within the Branch; keeps the record and seal of the Court; examines records of all cases filed and calendared; issues court processes; signs minutes of the Court; administers oath; issues certificates of appearance and clearances; assists the Judge in the preparation of correspondences and endorsements for the signature of the latter; acts as the Administrative Officer of the branch; prepares judicial and administrative reports and signs and submits daily time records of employees; requisitions equipments, supplies and materials and assumes custody of the same; acts as the Clerk of Court or Assistant Clerk of Court in their absence when so designated; and does related tasks. 34 (Emphasis supplied) And had he familiarized himself with the Manual for Clerks of Courts he would be acquainted with the specific procedure for carrying out this particular function. Reliance on the so-called Clerks-in-charge who prepare the actual reports, or particulary on their initials which allegedly indicate accuracy and veracity 35 is insufficient and is a lazy and sloppy manner of executing one's duties and responsibilities.

This practice cannot be considered as proper supervision since Respondent in the above-mentioned procedure practically does next to nothing, his only contribution or input is his signature. Branch clerks of court must realize that their administrative functions are just as vital to the prompt and proper administration of justice. They are charged with the efficient recording, filing and management of court records, besides having administrative supervision over court personnel. They play a key role in the complement of the court and cannot be permitted to slacken on their jobs under one pretext or another. 36 They must be assiduous in performing their official duties and in supervising and managing court dockets and records. 37 Based on the foregoing and in compliance with our duty to help purge the judiciary of undesirable public servants, 38 we find Respondent guilty of grave misconduct and gross ignorance of the duties pertaining to his office and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service. We cannot countenance any conduct, act or omission on the part of all those involved in the administration of justice which would violate the norm of public accountability and would diminish or even just tend to diminish the faith of the people in the judiciary. 39 WHEREFORE, Respondent ATTY. INOCENCIO E. DUMLAO is hereby DISMISSED from the service with forfeiture of all benefits, if any, and with prejudice to his reinstatement in government service, including governmentowned or controlled corporations. -----------------G.R. No. 88498 June 9, 1992 GENEROSO R. SEVILLA, petitioner, vs. THE HON. COURT OF APPEALS and NERITO L. SANTOS, respondents.

GRIO-AQUINO, J.: May an officer who was appointed to an office in an "acting" capacity, bring a quo warranto action against the permanent appointee to the position? The petitioner has been in the government service since 1949. His last appointment was last Assistant City Engineer of Palayan City which he discharged until he was designated Acting City Engineer of Cabanatuan City by President Ferdinand E. Marcos on May 2, 1981. He unhesitatingly assumed the latter position and discharged its functions and responsibilities until "People Power" and the EDSA Revolution intervened. The subsequent twists and turns in his professional career are recited in the decision dated May 31, 1989 of the Coourt of Appeals in CA- G.R. SP No. 14489 as follows: The advent of the 1986 Revolution and the 1987 Freedom Constitution spelled changes and upheavals particularly within the Career Civil Service. On August 18, 1986, the then Officer-in charge (OIC Mayor) of Cabanatuan City, Cesar Vergara, appointed defendant-appellant Santos as city engineer of Cabanatuan City, and on August 28, 1986, defendant-appellant Santos assumed the position of city engineer. On that very same day, a memorandum informing petitioner-appellee Sevilla of the appointment of defendant-appellant Santos was sent by then OIC Mayor. As petitionerappellee Sevilla was on leave at the time, the memorandum was received on his behalf by Anita de Guzman, the administrative officer of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Office of Cabanatuan City, where petitioner-appellee Sevilla also holds office. A few months later, or on November 14, 1986, petitioner-appellee Sevilla was designated by then Minister Rogociano Mercado of the MPWH as acting district engineer of Pasay City. Petitioner-appellee Sevilla served in that capacity until he was removed from that office of the new Secretary of the DPWH on February 3, 1987. This was what precipitated the present controversy. Petitioner-appellee then returned to Cabanatuan City. On March 27, 1987, he filed a petition for quo warranto against defendant-appellant Santos, which was docketed as Civil Case No. 879-134 (AF) before the Regional Trial Court

of Cabanatuan City, Branch 27. On January 29, 1988, the lower rendered the impugned decision reinstating petitioner-appellee Sevilla and entitling him payment of vacation and sick leaves for the duration of his absence. The dispositive part of that decision reads: WHEREFORE, judgement is hereby rendered for petitioner and against the respondent, to wit: a. Ousting and excluding respondent Nerito Santos from the position of City Engineer; b. Declaring petitioner Generoso Sevilla as the person lawfully entitled to hold aforesaid position; and c. Declaring petitioner Generoso Sevilla as entitled to payment of vacation and sick leave during the period he was prevented from rendering service by reason of this case. (pp. 53-54, Rollo.) On August 18, 1986, the OIC Mayor of Cabanatuan City, Cesar Vergara, appointed Nerito L. Santos as the new city engineer of Cabanatuan City. Santos assumed the position on August 28 1986. On the same day, a memorandum was addressed to Sevilla informing him of Santos' appointment as city engineer of Cabanatuan City. Anita de Guzman, administrative officer of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) unit in Cabanatuan City received the notice for Sevilla who was on leave on that time. On November 14, 1986, the Minister of Public Works and Highways, Rogaciano Mercado, designated Sevilla as Acting District Engineer of Pasay City. He served in that capacity for a little over two months or until he was removed on February 3, 1987 by the new DPWH Secretary, Jesus Jayme, forcing him to return to the Cabanatuan City Engineer's Office which, however, was already occupied by Nerito Santos. On March 27, 1987, Sevilla filed a petition for quo warranto against Santos. It was docketed as Civil case No. 8795-134 (AF) in the Regional Trial Court of Cabanatuan City Branch 27. On June 8, 1987, the complaint was amended to include a petition for mandamus against the new OIC Mayor Evangelina Vergara, but the mandamus petition was dismissed by the trial court, which proceeded to hear the quo warranto petition only. In his quo warranto petition, Sevilla argued that, being the presidential appointee, he could not be removed from office by an OIC mayor. And, even supposing that the OIC mayor had such authority, his (Sevilla's) separation from office was illegal because none of the grounds for the separation/replacement of public officials and employees set forth in Section 3 of Executive Order No. 17 dated May 28, 1986, was cited to justify the termination of his service. Section 3 of E.O. No. 17 provides: Section 3. The following shall be the grounds for separation/replacement of personnel: 1. Existence of the case for summary dismissal pursuant to Section 40 of the Civil Service Law; 2. Existence of a probable cause for violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act as determined by the Ministry Head concerned; 3. Gross incompetence or inefficiency in the discharge of functions: 4. Misuse of public office for partisan political purposes: 5. Any other analogous ground showing that the incumbent is unfit to remain in the service or his separation/replacement is in the interest of the service. On January 29, 1988, the lower court rendered a decision reinstating Sevilla as acting City Engineer of Cabanatuan City with right to payment of vacation and sick leaves for the duration of his absence (pp. 26-34, Rollo).

Santos appealed the decision to the Court of Appeals (CA-G.R. SP No. 14489) alleging that: 1. Sevilla has no legal standing to bring an action for quo warranto, because his designation to the disputed position was in an acting capacity only: 2. his acceptance of another position in Pasay City precludes him from filing a quo warranto action; and 3. the OIC mayor had legal authority to appoint Santos as city engineer. In a decision dated May 31, 1989 (pp. 53-57, Rollo), the Court of Appeals set aside the lower court's decision and entered a new one, dismissing the petition for quo warranto. The Court of Appeals held that by accepting another office. Sevilla in effect voluntarily surrendered his former office, and was thereby precluded from maintaining a quo warranto action against Santos. When he accepted the position in Pasay City, he lost his right to the position in Cabanatuan City. The Court ruled that Santos' appointment was valid because it as confirmed by Minister Rogaciano Mercado of the Ministry of Public Works and Highways. Sevilla filed this petition for review alleging that the Court of Appeals erred: 1. in not applying the provisions of Executive Order No. 17; 2. in not considering his appointment as acting city engineering of Cabanatuan City as a specie of permanent appointment covered by civil service security of tenure and outside the doctrine enunciated in Austria vs. Amante (79 Phil. 790) cited by the respondent court as basis of its decision; and 3. in declaring that he "voluntarily surrendered his former office," (p. 1, Rollo) instead of finding that he merely complied with the memorandum of the Minister of Public Works and Highways assigning him in Pasay City. The petition is devoid of merit. An "acting" appointment is merely temporary, one which is good only until another appointment is made to take its place (Austria vs. Amante. 79 Phil. 784). Hence, petitioner's right to hold office as "Acting City Engineer of Cabanatuan City" was merely temporary. It lapsed upon the appointment of Nerito Santos as the permanent city engineer of Cabanatuan City on August 18, 1986. Petitioner was the incumbent city engineer of Palayan City when he was designated as Acting City Engineering of Cabanatuan City. There is a difference between an appointment an appointment and a designation. Appointment is the selection by the proper authority of an individual who is to exercise the functions of an office. Designation, on the other hand, connotes merely the imposition of additional duties, upon a person already in the public service by virtue of an earlier appointment or election (Santiago vs. Commission on Audit, 199 SCRA 125; Political Law Review by Gonzales, pp. 184-185). A mere "designation" does not confer upon the designee security of tenure in the position or office which he occupies in an "acting" capacity only. Thus did this Court made such a distinction: Appointment may be defined as the selection, by the authority vested with the power, of an individual who is to exercise the functions of a given office. When completed, usually with its confirmation, the appointment results in security of tenure for the person chosen unless he is replaceable at pleasure because of the nature of his office. Designation, on the other hand, connotes merely the imposition by law of additional duties on an incumbent official . . . It is said that appointment is essentially executive while designation is legislative in nature. Designation may also be loosely defined as an appointment because it likewise involves the naming of a particular person to a specified public office. That is the common understanding of the term. However, where the person is merely designated and not appointed, the implication is that he shall hold the office only in a temporary capacity and may be replaced at will by the

appointing authority. In this sense, the designation is considered only an acting or temporary appointment, which does not confer security of tenure on the person named. Even if so understood, that is, as an appointment, the designation of the petitioner cannot sustain his claim that he has been illegally removed. . . Appointment involves the exercise of discretion, which because of its nature cannot be delegated." (Binamira vs. Garrucho, 188 SCRA 158.) Consequently, the designation of petitioner as Acting City Engineering of Cabanatuan City merely imposed upon him the additional function of the City Engineer of Cabanatuan City on top of his regular duties as City Engineer of Palayan City. He may claim security of tenure as City Engineer of Palayan City but he may not lay such a claim to the position of City Engineering of Cabanatuan City for he holds no appointment to the latter office. The power of appointment is essentially discretionary. Its exercise may not be controlled by the courts. The choice of an appointee from among qualified candidates or applicants is a political and administrative decision calling for considerations of wisdom, convenience, utility and the interests of the service which can best be made by the head of office concerned for he is familiar with the organizational structure and environmental circumstances within which the appointee must function. (Lusterio vs. Intermediate Appellate Court, 199 SCRA 255.) The appointing authority in this particular case is the Mayor of Cabanatuan City (B.P. Blg. 337 or the Local Government Code which provides that "the city engineer shall be appointed by the city mayor, subject to civil service law, rules and regulations"). The appointment of Santos by OIC City Mayor Vergara was valid and binding for it was confirmed by the Minister of Public Works and Highways, and approved by the Civil Service Commission. An action for quo warranto may be commenced by "a person claiming to be entitled to a public office or position usurpred or unlawfully held or exercised by another" (Sec. 6, Rule 66, Rules of Court). Inasmuch as the petitioner does not aver that he is entitled to the office of City Engineer of Cabanatuan City and that Nerito L. Santos is a mere usurper of said office, the Court of Appeals committed no reversible error in dismissing petitioner's action for quo warranto. Petitioner's ouster upon, and by virtue of, Santos' appointment as City Engineer of Cabanatuan City, was not illegal for the petitioner's right to discharge the functions of Acting City Engineer of Cabanatuan City was extinguished when a permanent appointment to the same office was made in favor of the private respondent, Engineer Nerito L. Santos. WHEREFORE, the petition for review is DENIED. The decision of the Court of Appeals dismissing petitioner's action for quo warranto is AFFIRMED. Costs against the petitioner. SO ORDERED. Sampayan vs. Daza

Respondent Congressman filed his Comment denying the fact that he is a permanent resident of the United States as evidenced by a letter order of the US Immigration and Naturalization Service, Los Angeles, U.S.A, he had long waived his status when he returned to the Philippines on August 12, 1985. ISSUE: Whether or not respondent Daza should be disqualified as a member of the House of Representatives for violation of Section 68 of the Omnibus Election Code RULING: The Supreme Court vote to dismiss the instant case, first, the case is moot and academic for it is evident from the manifestation filed by petitioners dated April 6, 1992, that they seek to unseat the respondent from his position as Congressman for the duration of his term of office commencing June 30, 1987 and ending June 30, 1992. Secondly, jurisdiction of this case rightfully pertains to the House Electoral Tribunal. Under Section 17 of Article VI of the 1987 Constitution, it is the House Electoral Tribunal which shall be the sole judge of all contests relating to the election returns and qualification of its members. The petitioners appropriate remedy should have been to file a petition to cancel respondent Dazas certificate of candidacy before the election or a quo warranto case with the House of Electoral Tribunal within ten days after Dazas proclamation. -----------ARIMAO V. TAHER 07 Aug 2006 Facts: Mar 22, 1995- Arimao was appointed as Director II, Bureau of Nonformal Education (DECS-ARMM). Jul 17, 1995- Taher was appointed Education Supervisor II. The position of Education Supervisor II being occupied by respondent was devolved from DECS-ARMM to the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) - ARMM. Meanwhile, Arimao applied for and was granted by the DECS-ARMM a 1-year academic scholarship with pay effective 30 Oct 1996 in her capacity as Education Supervisor II. Arimaos appointment as Director was disapproved by Civil Service Commission- Field Office (CSC- FO) for failure to meet the experience required for the position, as affirmed by CSC on May 2, 1996. Arimao was to be reverted to her former position of Education Supervisor II. Arimao filed MR- denied. Dec 2, 1998- Arimao informed the CSC Regional Office that she was already allowed by the Director of TESDA-ARMM to report for duty, only that she and Taher are reporting for the same position. CSC Regional Director enjoined Taher from reporting to the TESDA-ARMM. Taher continued to report as Education Supervisor II. Dec 7, 1998- Taher filed a complaint before the Regional Director, ARMM, re Arimaos continued absence.

213 SCRA 807 HRET has exclusive jurisdiction over election contests and qualifications of members of Congress Remedies against a disqualified House of Representative candidate: (1) cancellation of certificate of candidacy filed with COMELEC before election; (2) quo warranto case filed with HRET after proclamation FACTS: Petitioners filed a petition seeking to disqualify Daza, then incumbent congressman of their congressional district in Makati, from continuing to exercise the functions of his office on the ground that the latter is a greencard holder and a lawful permanent resident of the United States. They also alleged that Mr. Daza has not by any act or declaration renounced his status as permanent resident thereby violating the Omnibus Election Code (Section 68) and the 1987 Constitution (section 18, Article III).

Dec 24, 1998- Executive Secretary of ARMM, by authority of the ARMM Regional declared Arimao AWOL due to her failure to report to her office for at least a year after the expiration of her study leave and directed that she be dropped from the payroll. Arimao appealed to the Office of the ARMM Regional Governor. Appeal denied, finding that from 30 Oct 1996 up to the opening of SY 1997-1998, 1st sem, Arimao failed to report to office despite the fact that she was not able to enroll immediately upon the approval of her study leave. Aug 4, 2000- ARMM Regional Gov. Misuari issued a Memorandum to the TESDA-ARMM, ordering Arimaos reinstatement, in accordance with CSC Reso No. 96-3101 and CSC-ARMM directive dated 26 July 2000. Taher filed a Petition for Prohibition, RTC-Cotabato City, claiming that she has no other plain, speedy and adequate remedy, as she stands to suffer grave injustice and irreparable injury if she is removed from the office which she has held for more than five years. TC ruled that the Aug 4, 2000 Memorandum could no longer be implemented because the CSC resolutions


ordering Arimaos reinstatement, relied upon by ARMM Regional Gov Misuari, were superseded by the CSC resolutions finding Arimao on AWOL and dropping her from the payroll. MR denied. Oct 31, 2000, Arimao moved for the issuance of a writ of execution of CSC Reso 96-3101 (ordering her reinstatement to her former office). CSC issued Reso 01-0132 ordering the concerned officials of the DECS-ARMM to implement CSC Reso 96-3101. 22 May 2002, the CSC issued Reso 020743. TESDA-ARMM is not under legal obligation to reinstate petitioner because she was already dropped from the rolls effective 24 December 1998. Issue #1: WON Arimao can be reinstated by mere directive of the ARMM Regional Governor Held/Ratio: NO. The AWOL order dated 24 December 1998 was in full force and effect when ARMM Regional Gov Misuari issued the assailed 04 August 2000 Memorandum. The order of reinstatement was made in implementation of CSC Reso No. 963101 and CSC-ARMM Directive Order dated 26 July 2000, both of which ordained her reinstatement. However, these directives were rendered functus officio by the CSC per its Reso No. 020743, which ruled that the TESDA-ARMM is not under legal obligation to reinstate Arimao because she was already dropped from the rolls effective 24 December 1998. With the finality of the AWOL order and her having been dropped from the rolls, Arimao legally lost her right to the position of Education Supervisor II. In any case, she has already received from the DECS-ARMM her salaries as Education Supervisor II for the period October 1996 to 1997, or the period corresponding to the time the position was still with the said department. Issue #2: WON a writ of prohibition lies to enjoin the directive of the ARMM Governor to reinstate Arimao to the position of Education Supervisor II despite having been declared on AWOL and dropped from the roll Held/Ratio: YES. The principal purpose for the writ of prohibition is to prevent an encroachment, excess, usurpation or assumption of jurisdiction on the part of an inferior court or quasi-judicial tribunal. It is granted when it is necessary for the orderly administration of justice, or to prevent the use of the strong arm of the law in an oppressive or vindictive manner, or to put a stop to multiplicity of actions. Thus, for a party to be entitled to a writ of prohibition, he must establish the following requisites: (a) it must be directed against a tribunal, corporation, board or person exercising functions, judicial or ministerial; (b) the tribunal, corporation, board or person has acted without or in excess of its jurisdiction, or with grave abuse of discretion; and (c) there is no appeal or any other plain, speedy, and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law. Under RA 6734, executive power in the ARMM is vested in the Regional Governor, who has control of all the regional executive commissions, boards, bureaus and offices, and exercises general supervision over the local government units within the Autonomous Region. The assailed Memorandum of ARMM Regional Governor Misuari was presumably issued in the exercise of his power of control and supervision. However, by ordering the reinstatement of petitioner to her former position based upon an outdated CSC Resolution, despite the AWOL order and her being dropped from the rolls, ARMM Regional Governor Misuari acted with grave abuse of discretion, amounting to excess of jurisdiction. Issue # 3: WON the filing of the petition for prohibition violated the doctrine of primary jurisdiction Held: NO. GR: The doctrine of primary jurisdiction precludes a court from arrogating unto itself the authority to resolve a controversy the jurisdiction over which is initially lodged with an administrative body of special competence. Exception: When the issue raised is a purely legal question, well within the competence and the jurisdiction of the court and not the administrative agency. In the instant case, the legal question of whether a memorandum of the ARMM Governor, ordering the reinstatement of an employee declared AWOL and dropped from the rolls, was issued in excess of jurisdiction is a legal question which should be resolved by the courts. For the same reason that the issues to be resolved in this case are purely legal in nature, respondent need not abide by the doctrine of exhaustion of administrative remedies.

Issue # 4: Who is entitled to the position of Education Supervisor II. Held/Ratio: Neither Arimao nor Taher is entitled to the position. The finality of the disapproval of Arimaos promotion, as well as that of the Order declaring her on AWOL and dropping her from the rolls in 1999, is no longer disputed. Thus, as found by the CSC in its Resolution No. 020743, TESDA has no legal obligation to reinstate Arimao to the position of Education Supervisor II. This does not mean that Taher is entitled to the position of Education Supervisor II. The efficacy of Tahers appointment was dependent on the validity of Arimaos promotional appointment which in turn was subject to the outcome of the protest against it. Due to the disapproval of Arimaos promotional appointment as Director II, Tahers appointment to Education Supervisor II was likewise invalidated. As of the date of finality of the denial of the petition questioning the disapproval of petitioners appointment as Director IIboth Arimao and Taher were reverted to their former positions. During Tahers occupancy of the position of Education Supervisor II after Arimaos promotional appointment had been disapproved, Taher should be deemed a de facto officer only. A de facto officer is one who has the reputation of being the officer he assumes and yet is not a good officer in point of law. He is one who is in possession of the office and discharging its duties under color of authority, and by color of authority is meant that derived from an election or appointment, however irregular or informal, so that the incumbent is not a mere volunteer. The difference between the basis of the authority of a de jure officer and that of a de facto officer is that one rests on right, the other on reputation. In Monroy v. Court of Appeals, et al., this Court ruled that a rightful incumbent of a public office may recover from a de facto officer the salary received by the latter during the time of his wrongful tenure. A de facto officer, not having a good title, takes the salaries at his risk and must, therefore, account to the de jure officer for whatever salary he received during the period of his wrongful tenure. In this case, Taher should account to Arimao for the salaries she received from the time the disapproval of promotion became final, up to the time when Arimao was declared on AWOL and dropped from the rolls. However, Taher may be allowed to keep the emoluments she received during said period, there being no de jure officer at the time. Taher cannot continue her unauthorized occupancy, notwithstanding the fact that the position of Education Supervisor II has been vacant since 1999. Absent any showing that she has been reappointed to the position after Arimao was declared AWOL and dropped from the rolls, Taher cannot lay a valid claim thereto. -----CSC v. Joson This is a petition for review on certiorari of the Decision1 of the Court of Appeals dated August 12, 2002 reversing Resolution No. 002778 of the Civil Service Commission (CSC) which denied the respondents request for payment of the salary of Priscilla Ong, as Executive Assistant IV in the Office of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administrator (POEA) for the period of July 1, 1995 to October 31, 1995. The antecedents are as follows. On July 1, 1995, Respondent Felicisimo O. Joson, Jr., then Administrator of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) appointed Priscilla Ong as Executive Assistant IV in his office under a contractual status. The appointment was made after the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) thru Director Miguel B. Doctor2 approved his request for the creation of a contractual position of Executive Assistant IV at the Office of the POEA Administrator, effective not earlier than July 1, 1995. Subsequently, respondent Joson wrote the CSC requesting exemption from the rule requiring appointees to confidential staff positions to meet the prescribed educational qualification.3 The educational requirement for the position of Executive Assistant is a "Bachelors degree relevant to the job"4 and Priscilla Ong was not a college degree holder. Acting upon this request, the petitioner CSC issued Resolution No. 956978 on November 2, 1995, approving the appointment of Ong under a Coterminous Temporary status:


In this case, it is clear that Ong does not meet the educational qualification for the position of Executive Assistant IV. However, considering that Ong has to her credit 65 units leading to a Bachelors degree and that the said position is coterminous with the appointing authority and belongs to his confidential/personal staff, the proposed appointment of Ong may be allowed under Coterminous Temporary status. WHEREFORE, the instant request of Administrator Felicisimo O. Joson, Jr. is hereby granted. Accordingly, the appointment of Priscilla E. Ong to the position of Executive Assistant IV, POEA, may be approved under Coterminous Temporary status.5 However, on February 6, 1996, Director Nelson Acebedo of the CSC National Capital Region (NCR) issued a post audit report on the issuance of Ongs appointment made on July 1, 1995, and invalidated the same. A motion for reconsideration was filed, stressing, among others, that the Department of Budget Management (DBM) allowed the POEA to create such a position not earlier than July 1, 1995 and that no less than the petitioner itself approved the appointment under a coterminous temporary status. Upon the instructions of Director Acebedo, the effectivity of Ongs appointment was changed from July 1, 1995 to November 2, 1995.6 Considering the said adjustment in the effectivity date of Ongs appointment, the respondent then requested approval for the payment of her salary for services rendered for the period of July 1, 1995 to October 31, 1995. The petitioner denied the request for the payment of Ongs salary in Resolution No. 974094 dated October 16, 1997.7 Citing Rep. Act No. 7430 also known as the Attrition Law which, in part, states that no appointment shall be made to fill up a vacancy unless an authority has been granted by it,8 the petitioner posited that the authority to fill the position was granted only on November 2, 1995 when it issued CSC Resolution No. 956978. The request for the payment of salary referred to the period prior to the date of authority to fill the position; such claim cannot, therefore, be allowed. The petitioner concluded that, as the appointing authority, it is the respondent who shall be personally liable for the payment of salaries as provided in Item 5(a), Part I, CSC MC No. 38, s. 1993, which states: 5. Liability of Appointing Authority and Other Officers a. The appointing authority shall be personally liable for the salary of appointees whose appointments have been disapproved for violation of pertinent laws such as RA 7041 and RA 7430.9 The respondent filed a motion for reconsideration, averring that Ong was appointed to a newly-created position which does not require any such authority from the petitioner. The respondent emphasized in his motion that the DBM approved the creation of the position for Ong. He asserted that, if at all, it is the POEA who should be liable under the principle of quantum meruit since the latter was the one benefited. Thus: Admittedly, the herein movant requested an Authority to fill the said position which was not necessary under the premise since the position involved was a newly created position. In the first place, the Department of Budget and Management through the Director of CPCB granted the request for the creation of said position due to the dire need and necessity of said provision. POEA could not have transgressed any provision of RA 7430 and its implementing rules when POEA appointed Ms. Ong to the said newly created position on July 1, 1995. POEA should pay Ms. Ong for her services since POEA was the one benefited not the herein movant in his personal capacity. The principle of quantum meruit dictates that not only is the one who rendered services who should paid (sic) but equally important, is that the one benefited from such services must be the one who should pay the services. If the herein movant would be made personally liable to pay for her services, just the same, it is tantamount to unjust enrichment on the part of the government at the movants expense10 On June 8, 1998, the petitioner issued Resolution No. 981399 denying the respondents motion for reconsideration.11 It affirmed its ruling that the

effectivity date of Ongs appointment should be reckoned from November 2, 1995 when it granted the authority to the respondent to fill the position, and not July 1, 1995 as asserted by the respondent. It also declared that Ongs appointment was not included in the POEAs Report on Personnel Action (ROPA) submitted to the petitioner for the month of July 1995: POEA, as an accredited agency is mandated by CSC rules to submit within fifteen (15) days of each ensuing month to the Civil Service Regional office of Field Office concerned two copies of Monthly Report on Personnel Action, together with certified true copy of appointments acted upon (Item, 2.2.7, Rule V, CSC Memorandum Circular No. 27, s. 1994). In the instant case, POEA failed to comply with this rule when it did not include the appointment of Ong in its July ROPA.12 The petitioner also held that the POEA only submitted Ongs appointment in its ROPA for the month of November 1995. Such belated report rendered the appointment in July ineffective.13 The petitioner concluded that there was clearly no legal basis for the payment of Ongs salary prior to November 2, 1995, and that the principle of quantum meruit invoked by the respondent was not applicable. The respondent moved for a clarification of CSC Resolution No. 981399, pointing out that the petitioner did not rule on the matter of POEAs alleged violation of the Attrition Law, particularly on the failure to secure "prior authority to fill." The respondent asserted that the POEAs alleged failure to include the proposed appointment of Ong in its July 1995 ROPA was justified because Ongs appointment was still the subject of a request for exemption from the requirement of Memorandum Circular (MC) No. 38, s. 1993. The respondent received CSC Resolution No. 956978 approving Ongs appointment under a coterminous temporary status only on November 5, 1995; hence, the appointment was included only in the November ROPA. The respondent pointed out that the task and duty of preparing and submitting the monthly ROPA lies with the officials of the Personnel Department of the POEA. Finally, the respondent averred, if there was, indeed, a failure to comply with the CSC Circular No. 27, Series of 1994, it would be quite unfair and unjust for the petitioner to order the respondent to pay the salary of Ong out of his (the respondents) personal funds. The petitioner denied the motion of the respondent in Resolution No. 991839 dated August 17, 1999. It held that the respondent as the appointing authority, was accountable for all the appointments he issued; he cannot, thus, hide behind the mistakes of his subordinates. The petitioner also reiterated its ruling that the appointment of Ong was made in violation of the CSC Law and its rules. As such, the respondent must assume responsibility for the payment of Ongs salary. Thus: WHEREFORE, the CSC Resolution No. 981399 dated June 8, 1998 is hereby clarified. Accordingly, the payment of salaries, benefits and other emoluments from July 1, 1995 to October 30, 1995 of Priscilla Ong, whose appointment was in violation of R.A. 7430 (Attrition Law), shall be the personal liability of then Administrator Felicisimo O. Joson.14 The respondent filed a motion for reconsideration of the resolution. The petitioner treated the pleading as a second motion for reconsideration, and denied the same in Resolution No. 001956 dated August 30, 2000, in this wise: WHEREFORE, the second Motion for Reconsideration of Felicisimo O. Joson, Jr. is hereby DENIED. Accordingly, the CSC Resolution No. 974094 dated October 16, 1997 stands.15 The petitioner filed another motion seeking for the reconsideration of the CSC Resolution No. 991839 pointing out that Ong may be considered a de facto public officer who is entitled to the payment of salaries for actual services rendered. The CSC outrightly denied the motion in CSC Resolution No. 002778 dated December 13, 2000: WHEREFORE, the instant motion for reconsideration is hereby DENIED for lack of merit. Consequently, CSC Resolution No. 991839 dated August 17, 1999 stands. This case is considered closed and terminated.16


Unfazed, the respondent appealed the CSC resolutions to the Court of Appeals. On August 12, 2002, the CA rendered the assailed judgment in favor of herein respondent, ruling that Ong was considered a de facto officer and is entitled to the payment of her salary. The dispositive portion of the decision reads as follows: WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the instant petition for review is hereby GRANTED. Resolution No. 002778 dated 13 December 2000 rendered by public respondent Civil Service Commission, denying payment of Miss Priscilla Ongs compensation from 1 July 1995 to 31 October 1995, is hereby SET ASIDE.17 Hence, this petition for review on certiorari raising the lone issue that: THE COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY ERRED IN HOLDING THAT PRISCILLA ONG IS ENTITLED TO PAYMENT OF HER SALARIES FROM THE GOVERNMENT FOR BEING A DE FACTO OFFICER. The petitioner maintains that Ong cannot be entitled to the payment of salary prior to November 2, 1995 because of the following: (a) Ong did not possess the necessary qualification for the position; (b) her appointment was made in violation of the Civil Service Law and its rules; (c) there was no prior authority to appoint, in violation of Rep. Act No. 7430; and, (d) the appointment was not reported in the July ROPA, making such appointment ineffective. We rule for the respondent. The records show that the position of Executive Assistant IV in the POEA Administrators office was created with the approval of the DBM on July 1, 1995. This was pursuant to a request made by the respondent for a position in his office under a contractual status. It is quite apparent that the respondent intended the position for his confidential assistant, Priscilla Ong, whom he considered efficient and competent on the job, albeit without a college degree. The respondent was aware of the appointees lack of qualification which is precisely the reason why he requested for an exemption from the requirements of the MC No. 38 s. 1993, particularly on the educational requirement of appointees to confidential staff positions. On November 2, 1995, the petitioner granted the respondents request and stated that the appointment of Ong may be approved under a coterminous temporary status.18 The task of the petitioner is to insure that the appointee has all the qualifications for the position; otherwise it disapproves the appointment. 19 In this case, the petitioner approved the appointment of Ong under a coterminous temporary status; coterminous, because the appointment shall only be during the tenure of the appointing power; and temporary, because the appointee did not meet all the requirements for the position. As such, the appointment could be recalled anytime. The petitioner took into account the fact that Ong was then enrolled in CAP College, Makati City and had 65 units credited to her leading to a four-year course in Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, and that she just needed 61 units more to complete the same. Under Section 4, Rule V of the Omnibus Rules, Ongs appointment is in order, viz: Except as otherwise provided herein, a person who meets all the requirements of the position including the appropriate civil service eligibility shall be appointed to a position in the first and second levels. However, when the immediate filling of a vacancy becomes necessary, taking into account the public interest, and a person with an appropriate civil service eligibility is not actually and immediately available, a person without the appropriate civil service eligibility but who meets the other requirements of the position may be appointed. His appointment shall be temporary for a period of not more than twelve (12) months and he may be replaced at any time with one who has an appropriate civil service eligibility. In approving the appointment of Ong, the petitioner took into account the exigency and urgency of filling up the position of Executive Assistant, as

embodied in the letter of the respondent for exemption from MC No. 38: Our request for exemption from MC # 38 series of 1993 is anchored on the fact that I have no regular holder of an Executive Assistant, although it is included in the POEA budget. As earlier mentioned in our letter-request, as the administrationship of POEA keeps on changing, the Executive Assistant post remains attached to another employee who can not be asked to vacate the post because of the security of tenure of the incumbent at the time the Executive Assistant post was declared confidential in nature. We recognize and support the reason behind the promulgation of CSC MC # 38 series 1993. However, please consider the circumstances behind this request for exemption. Ms. Ong has been the holder of the position since my appointment last July 1992 under the Ramos government. May I reiterate that the position of Ms. Ong is temporary in nature and coterminous with my term. Moreover, she is now enrolled at the CAP College taking up BS in Business Administration.20 The respondent reiterated the urgency of Ongs appointment in his letterrequest for the payment of Ongs salary: Please note that the Office of the Administrator is the center of all communications coming in and out of POEA as well as the focal point of all major activities whether internal or external concerns. As such, the smooth operations of this office would not have been possible without the able and dedication of Ms. Ong who faithfully discharged her gargantuan duties as Executive Assistant to the highest official of POEA. It would be an injustice to Ms. Ong if she is not properly compensated for a job very well done especially in such a sensitive position.21 With the foregoing, it can not be said that for want of a college degree as required under MC No. 38, s. 1993 for confidential/personal positions, Ongs appointment was in contravention of the CSC Law and its rules. While it is conceded that the respondent intended the appointment of Ong to be contractual only, the petitioner approved the same in Resolution No. 956978, under a Coterminous-Temporary status. The appointment of Ong on July 1, 1995, is, therefore, valid. We reject the petitioners contention that Ongs appointment was invalid since the respondent appointed her to the position without first securing an "authority to fill" as mandated by the second to the last paragraph of Section 3 of Rep. Act No. 7430. The said provision reads: SECTION 3. Attrition. Within five (5) years from the approval of the Act, no appointment shall be made to fill vacated positions in any government office as a result of resignation, retirement, dismissal, death or transfer to another office of an officer or employee: Provided, however, That this prohibition shall not apply in the following instances: (a) Where the position is head of a primary organic unit such as chief of division; (b) Where the position is the lone position in the organizational unit and it corresponds to a particular expertise that is intrinsic to the desired basic capability of the unit concerned; (c) Where the positions are basic positions for the initial operations of newly created or activated agencies or, in the case of other agencies, where the positions are vital and necessary for the continued and efficient operation of said agencies; (d) Where the positions are difficult to fill considering the qualifications required therefore, as in the case of doctors, lawyers and other professionals; (e) Where the positions are found in agencies declared to be understaffed; (f) Positions in Congress or in the Judiciary; (g) Appointments or designations extended by the President;


(h) Where the positions are found in local government units; (i) Teaching personnel; and (j) Where the replacement come from existing employees. Provided, further, That the exemptions from this prohibition shall require authorization by the Civil Service Commission; Provided, finally, That no appointment shall be issued by the appointing authority nor approved by the Civil Service Commission without said authorization.22 Appointments made in violation of this Act shall be null and void. In CSC Resolution No. 974094, the petitioner denied the respondents motion for the POEA to pay Ongs salary based on the second to the last paragraph of Section 3, viz: The Commission further finds no merit in the request because of the mandatory provision of Republic Act 7430 (Attrition Law) which states as follows: No appointment shall be made to fill up a vacancy unless an authority has been granted by the Commission.23 But even a cursory reading of Section 3 of Rep. Act No. 7430 will readily show that it applies only to appointments to fill vacant position in a government office as a result of resignation, retirement, dismissal, death, or transfer to another office of an officer or employee within five years from the approval of the law. Under the law, attrition is defined as the reduction of personnel as a result of resignation, retirement, dismissal in accordance with existing laws, death or transfer to another office.24 The appointment of Ong to the position of the Executive Assistant IV in the Office of the respondent is not covered by Rep. Act No. 7430 because Ong was appointed to a newly-created position as part of the confidential/personal staff of the respondent. The position was approved by the DBM. The petitioner attested the appointment as coterminous temporary. The position to which Ong was appointed was not rendered vacant as a result of the resignation, retirement, dismissal, death or transfer of an employee to another office, as provided by the law. Thus, the petitioner cannot argue that the respondent violated the Attrition Law in appointing Ong. The law must not be read in truncated parts; its provisions must be read in relation to the whole law. It is the cardinal rule in statutory construction that a statutes clauses and phrases must not be taken as detached and isolated expressions, but the whole and every part thereof must be considered in fixing the meaning of any of its parts in order to produce a harmonious whole.25 Every part of the statute must be interpreted with reference to the context, i.e., that every part of the statute must be considered together with other parts of the statute and kept subservient to the general intent of the whole enactment.26 We find the respondents justification for the failure of the POEA to include Ongs appointment in its ROPA for July 1995 as required by CSC Memorandum Circular No. 27, Series of 1994 to be in order. The records show that the POEA did not include the contractual appointment of Ong in its July ROPA because its request for exemption from the educational requisite for confidential staff members provided in MC No. 38 had yet been resolved by the CSC. The resolution of the petitioner granting such request was received only in November, 1995. The POEA, thereafter, reported the appointment in its November, 1995 ROPA. Having been validly appointed to the position of Executive Assistant IV in the Office of the respondent, Ong is a de jure officer and not a de facto officer as held by the Court of Appeals. The broad definition of what constitutes an officer de facto was formulated by Lord Holt in Parker v. Kent,27 and reiterated by Lord Ellenborough and full Kings Bench in 1865 in Rex v. Bedford Level,28 "One who has the reputation of being the officer he assumes and yet is not a good officer in point of law." A de facto officer is one who is in

possession of the office and discharging its duties under color of authority. 29 By color of authority is meant that derived from an election or appointment, however irregular or informal, so that the incumbent is not a mere volunteer. The difference between the basis of the authority of a de jure officer and that of a de facto officer is that one rests on right, the other on reputation. It may be likened to the difference between character and reputation. One is the truth of a man, the other is what is thought of him."30 It is the color of authority, not the color of title that distinguishes an officer de facto from a usurper.31 Being a de jure officer, Ong is entitled to receive all the salaries and emoluments appertaining to the position.32 Irrefragably, Ong assumed the position and discharged her functions as Executive Assistant IV on July 1, 1995. Thenceforth, she was entitled to the payment of her salary, as provided for in Section 10 of Rule V of the Omnibus Rules of the Civil Service Commission on the matter of Appointments, viz: An appointment issued in accordance with pertinent laws and rules shall take effect immediately upon its issuance by the appointing authority, and if the appointee has assumed the duties of the position, he shall be entitled to receive his salary at once, without awaiting the approval of his appointment by the Commission. The appointment shall remain effective until disapproved by the Commission. In no case shall an appointment take effect earlier than the date of its issuance.33 MC No. 38, s. 1993, likewise reads: 7. Effectivity of Appointment a. The effectivity of an appointment shall be the date of actual assumption by the appointee but not earlier than the date of issuance of the appointment, which is the date of signing by the appointing authority. b. No appointment shall be made earlier than the date of issuance, except in the case of change of status in view of qualifying in written examination, the effectivity of which is the date of release of the result of the examination. However, the issuance of such appointments shall be within the period of the temporary appointment or provided the temporary appointment has not yet expired Moreover, the Court of Appeals took note of CSC Resolution No. 953263 dated May 23, 1995 which states, thus: If the appointment was disapproved on grounds which do not constitute a violation of the civil service law, such as the failure of the appointee to meet the Qualification Standards (QS) prescribed for the position, the same is considered effective until disapproved by the Commission or any of its regional or field offices. The appointee is meanwhile entitled to payment of salaries from the government. Furthermore, if a motion for reconsideration or an appeal from the disapproval is seasonably filed with the proper office the appointment is still considered to be effective. The disapproval becomes final only after the same is affirmed by the Commission.34

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, vs. ERNESTO LARIN y BONDAD, accused-appellant. PANGANIBAN, J.: Republic Act. No. 7610 penalizes child prostitution and other sexual abuses. It was enacted in consonance with the policy of the State to "provide special protection to children from all forms of abuse." The Court thus applies this law to the present case and grants the victim the full vindication and protection that RA 7610 accords to this helpless sector of society.