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G.R. Nos. 210220-21 Regulations.

Joson added that for the same reason as above, the twin
contracts of consultancy were likewise invalid and unlawful.
EDWARD THOMAS F. JOSON, Petitioner,
vs. Joson further averred that the execution of the contract of consultancy,
THE OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN, GOV. AURELIO M. UMALI, dated February 28, 2008, was legally defective because its effectivity was
ALEJANDRO R. ABESAMIS, EDILBERTO M. PANCHO, MA. CHRISTINA made to retroact to January 2, 2008 in violation of the rule that "[i]n no case
G. ROXAS, and FERDINAND R. ABESAMIS, Respondents. shall an appointment take effect earlier than the date of its issuance."4 He
argued that because no consultancy contract existed from January 2, 2008
DECISION to February 28, 2008, Ferdinand should not have been paid any honorarium
for his alleged services rendered during the said period. With respect to the
MENDOZA, J.: rest of the respondents, Joson asserted that they should be held liable for
the above charges considering that they processed the payment of
honoraria to Ferdinand arising out of the illegal and invalid contracts of
Before the Colirt is a petition for certiorari seeking to reverse and set aside
consultancy.
the September 8, 2011 Joint Resolution 1 and the September 23, 2013 Joint
Order2 of the Office of the Ombudsman (Ombudsman) in OMB-L-C-08-
0315-D and OMB-L-A-08-0245-D, dismissing the criminal and administrative Joson also contended that the appointment of Ferdinand as consultant by
complaints against the respondents. Governor Umali in spite of being disqualified to hold public office, and the
payment of his monthly honorarium from the coffers of the provincial
government by the other respondents, were done with manifest partiality,
The Antecedents
evident bad faith or gross inexcusable negligence, giving unwarranted
benefit to Ferdinand and causing great and irreparable damage and
Petitioner Edward Thomas F. Jason (Jason) filed his Affidavit- prejudice to the taxpayers of the Province of Nueva Ecija. In view of this,
Complaint,3 dated April 21, 2008, before the Ombudsman charging the Joson submitted that the private respondents should be made liable for
respondents Governor Aurelio M. Umali (Governor Umali), Provincial violation of Section 3(e) of R.A. No. 3019. Joson added that Governor Umali
Administrator Atty. Alejandro R. Abesamis (Alejandro), Consultant Atty. should also be held liable for violation of Article 244 of the RPC for
Ferdinand R. Abesamis (Ferdinand), Provincial Treasurer Edilberto M. knowingly extending appointments to Ferdinand as legal consultant
Pancho (Pancho), and Officer-in Charge Ma. Cristina G. Roxas (Roxas) of regardless of the latters lack of legal qualification to the said position. Lastly,
the Office of the Provincial Accountant, all of the Province of Nueva Ecija, Joson asserted that Governor Umalis act of illegally and unlawfully hiring
with the criminal offenses of Violation of Section 3(e) of Republic the services of Ferdinand could be reasonably viewed as gross misconduct
Act (R.A.) No. 3019, otherwise known as the Anti-Graft and Corrupt in office because such act involved the transgression of some established
Practices Act, and Unlawful Appointment, defined and penalized under and definite rules.
Article 244 of the Revised Penal Code (RPC), docketed as OMB-L-C-08-
0315-D, and offense of Grave Misconduct, docketed as OMB-L-A-08-0245-
In his Counter-Affidavit,5 Governor Umali responded that the legal
D.
arguments advanced by Joson in his affidavit-complaint were fatally
defective and had no basis in fact and in law. He averred that the
The filing of the above charges stemmed from the alleged appointment of consultancy services rendered by Ferdinand could not be considered as
Ferdinand as Consultant - Technical Assistance in the Office of the Governor government service within the contemplation of law and, hence, not
of Nueva Ecija. governed by the Civil Service Law, Rules and Regulations. He pointed out
that under the twin contracts of consultancy, Ferdinand had been engaged
In his affidavit-complaint, Joson alleged that on July 2, 2007, the Province of to render lump sum consultancy services for a short duration of six (6)
Nueva Ecija, represented by Governor Umali, entered into a contract of months on a daily basis and had not been paid any salary or given any
consultancy with Ferdinand wherein the latter was appointed or employed benefits enjoyed by government employees such as PERA, COLA and
as Consultant - Technical Assistance in the Office of the Governor. On RATA, but merely paid honoraria as stipulated in the contracts.
February 28, 2008, Governor Umali and Ferdinand entered into another
contract of consultancy on February 28, 2008, wherein the former, Governor Umali argued that if Ferdinand was indeed appointed or
representing the Provincial Government of Nueva Ecija, again appointed or reemployed by the provincial government, as erroneously perceived by
re-employed the latter in the same position. Joson asserted that Governor Joson, then there would be no need for him to execute the second
Umali appointed Ferdinand despite his knowledge of the latters consultancy contract which was merely a renewal of his previous contract of
disqualification for appointment or re-employment in any government July 2, 2007. He submitted that the consultancy contracts were mere
position. He claimed that Ferdinand was dismissed from the service as agreements to render service and could not in themselves create public
Senior State Prosecutor of the Department of Justice for "conduct prejudicial office to which the Revised Omnibus Rules on Appointments and other
to the best interest of the service" pursuant to Administrative Order (A.O.) Personnel Actions would apply. To bolster his claim, Governor Umali cited
No. 14, dated August 27, 1998; and that such penalty of dismissal carried the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Opinion No. 72
with it his perpetual disqualification for re-employment in the government series of 2004, dated August 23, 20046 and DILG Opinion No. 100 series of
service. According to Joson, because Ferdinand was meted out the penalty 2004, dated October 14, 2004,7 wherein then DILG Secretary Angelo T.
of dismissal from service with all accessory penalties attached to it and that Reyes opined that a consultancy service was not covered by the phrase
he was never granted any executive clemency, his appointment as legal "any office in the government." Governor Umali alleged that he could not be
consultant was unlawful, illegal and invalid being in violation of the adjudged guilty of gross misconduct because prior to his signing of the
Administrative Code of 1987 and the Civil Service Law, Rules and subject consultancy contracts, he sought the legal opinion 8 of the Provincial
Legal Office which assured him that there was no legal impediment in
engaging the services of Ferdinand. He merely relied in good faith on its Ferdinand R. Abesamis, Edilberto Pancho and Ma. Cristina G.
advice, which he presumed to be in accordance with law and existing Roxas be DISMISSED for lack of sufficient evidence; and
jurisprudence.
2. The administrative charges for Grave Misconduct against
Governor Umali averred that the true and actual date of the execution of the respondents Aurelio M. Umali, Alejandro R. Abesamis, Ferdinand
second consultancy contract was January 2, 2008 as clearly shown by the R. Abesamis, Edilberto Pancho and Ma. Cristina G. Roxas be
effectivity of the engagement of Ferdinand stated in paragraph 1 thereof. DISMISSED for lack of merit.
The said contract was a renewal of the earlier contract, dated July 2, 2007,
which expired on December 31, 2007. He explained that the date of SO RESOLVED.12
execution of the second contract was inadvertently left blank and the
secretary of the notary public, Mary Grace Cauzon, mistakenly stamped the Joson moved for reconsideration of the joint resolution, but his motion was
date of the notarial act, February 28, 2008, on the said blank space on the denied by the Ombudsman in its September 23, 2013 Joint Order. It
first page of the contract supposedly pertaining to its date of execution. decreed:

Ferdinand, on the other hand, posited in his Counter-Affidavit, 9 dated June WHEREFORE, the Motion for Reconsideration is hereby DENIED. The
16, 2008, that although his dismissal from government service was not yet JOINT RESOLUTION dated September 8, 2011 DISMISSING OMB-L-C-08-
final as his motion for reconsideration had not yet been resolved by the 0315-D and OMB-L-A-O8-0245-D STANDS.
Office of the President at the time of his appointment, there was no way that
his service contract with the Provincial Government of Nueva Ecija could be
SO ORDERED.13
construed as to create a public office. He alleged that his engagements
squarely fell within the ambit of contracts of service/job orders under Section
2(a), Rule XI of the Civil Service Commission Circular No. 40 series of 1998. Undaunted, Joson comes to this Court via a certiorari petition ascribing
He insisted that he was not a government employee and the specifics of his grave abuse of discretion on the part of the Ombudsman in dismissing the
contracts were governed by the Commission on Audit (COA). He adopted criminal charges for lack of probable cause and the administrative charges
Governor Umalis explanation anent the true date of execution of the second for lack of merit. Joson raised the following
consultancy contract.
ASSIGNMENT OF ERRORS
10
In their Joint Counter-Affidavit, Alejandro, Pancho and Roxas stressed that
they committed no infraction of the law in affixing their respective signatures I. THE OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN COMMITTED GRAVE
in the obligation requests and disbursement vouchers which authorized the ABUSE OF DISCRETION AMOUNTING TO LACK OR EXCESS
payment of honoraria in favor of Ferdinand for the consultancy services he OF JURISDICTION WHEN IT DISMISSED THE CHARGES
rendered. They explained that the signing of the obligation requests and AGAINST THE RESPONDENTS.
disbursement vouchers were done in the ordinary course of business and in
the normal processing of the said documents. They added that the charges II. THE OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN COMMITTED GRAVE
against them were premature considering that the payment of honoraria to ABUSE OF DISCRETION AMOUNTING TO LACK OR EXCESS
Ferdinand had not yet been subjected to post audit by the COA which had OF JURISDICTION WHEN IT DENIED THE PETITIONERS
the sole authority and jurisdiction to suspend or disallow disbursements of MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION.14
public funds.
The Courts Ruling
On July 17, 2008, Joson filed his Reply-Affidavit11 in amplification of his
contentions and arguments in his affidavit-complaint.1wphi1 He further The petition is devoid of merit.
argued that by entering in the subject consultancy contracts, Ferdinand
became a government employee and a public officer because he was
The Court agrees with the findings of the Ombudsman that there was no
holding a non-career service position in accordance with Section 9, Chapter
sufficient evidence to indict the respondents for the crimes of violation of
2, Title I, Book V of Executive Order (E.O.) No. 292 (the Administrative Code
Section 3(e) of R.A. No. 3019 and unlawful appointment; and that the
of 1987).
charge of grave misconduct was not established by substantial evidence.

The Ruling of the Ombudsman


The Ombudsman is endowed with wide latitude, in the exercise of its
investigatory and prosecutory powers, to pass upon criminal complaints
On September 8, 2011, the Office of the Ombudsman issued a joint involving public officials and employees. Specifically, the determination of
resolution dismissing the criminal and administrative complaints against all whether probable cause exists or not is a function that belongs to the
the respondents. The Ombudsman disposed of the case as follows: Ombudsman. In other words, the Ombudsman has the discretion to
determine whether a criminal case, given its attendant facts and
WHEREFORE, premises considered, it is respectfully recommended that: circumstances, should be filed or not.15

1. The criminal charges for Violation of Section 3(e) of the Anti- In the present petition, the Court does not perceive any showing of manifest
Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and for Unlawful Appointments error or grave abuse of discretion on the part of the Ombudsman when it
against respondents Aurelio M. Umali, Alejandro R. Abesamis, issued the assailed Joint Resolution, dated September 8, 2011 and Joint
Order, dated September 23, 2013 which dismissed the criminal complaint
against the private respondents for violation of Section 3(e) of R.A. No. 3019 Pursuant to CSC Resolution No. 93-1881 dated May 25, 1993, a contract
and Unlawful Appointment for want of sufficient evidence. for consultancy services is not covered by Civil Service Law, rules and
regulations because the said position is not found in the index of
To begin with, a finding of probable cause needs only to rest on evidence position titles approved by DBM. Accordingly, it does not need the
showing that more likely than not a crime has been committed and that approval of the CSC. xxx A "consultant" is defined as one who provides
there is enough reason to believe that it was committed by the accused. It professional advice on matters within the field of his specific knowledge or
need not be based on clear and convincing evidence of guilt, or on evidence training. There is no employer-employee relationship in the
establishing absolute certainty of guilt. The case of Vergara v. The Hon. engagement of a consultant but that of client-professional
Ombudsman16 is instructive on this score: relationship.19

Probable cause is defined as the existence of such facts and circumstances [Emphases Supplied]
as would excite the belief in a reasonable mind, acting on the facts within
the knowledge of the prosecutor, that the person charged was guilty of the The Court notes that Ferdinand did not take an oath of office prior to his
crime for which he was prosecuted. Probable cause need not be based on rendition of consultancy services for the Provincial Government of Nueva
clear and convincing evidence of guilt, or on evidence establishing guilt Ecija. All public officers and employees from the highest to the lowest rank
beyond reasonable doubt, and definitely not on evidence establishing are required to take an oath of office which marks their assumption to duty. It
absolute certainty of guilt, but it certainly demands more than bare suspicion is well-settled that on oath of office is a qualifying requirement for public
and can never be left to presupposition, conjecture, or even convincing office, a prerequisite to the full investiture of the office. 20 Ferdinand was not
logic.17 required to take an oath of office because he rendered consultancy services
for the provincial government not by virtue of an appointment or election to a
In this case, the allegations and evidence presented by the petitioners failed specific public office or position but by a contractual engagement. In fine,
to prove that the Ombudsman acted in such a capricious and whimsical those who have rendered services with the government, without occupying
exercise of judgment in determining the non-existence of probable cause a public office or without having been elected or appointed as a public officer
against the private respondents. The Ombudsman dismissed the petitioners evidenced by a written appointment and recorded with the Civil Service
complaint for lack of probable cause based on its appreciation and review of Commission, did so outside the concept of government service.
the evidence presented. In the Joint Resolution, dated September 8, 2011,
the Ombudsman stated that Ferdinand was not appointed to a public office Although in its September 23, 2013 Joint Order, the Ombudsman stated that
through the contracts of consultancy because of the following factors: the engagement of Ferdinand as consultant "comes within the purview of
the term public office and therefore, his dismissal from the service
1. The rights, authority and duties of Ferdinand arose from disqualifies him from being hired as such xxx," 21 it opined, and so held, that
contract, not law; the private respondents could not be held criminally liable for violation of
Section 3(e) of R.A. No. 3019 because the two elements of the offense are
2. Ferdinand was not vested with a portion of the sovereign wanting. According to the Ombudsman, there was no undue injury
authority; amounting to actual damages to the government as it was not disputed that
Ferdinand performed the tasks and duties required of him under the
questioned contracts and, thus, the payment of honoraria to him was in
3. The consultancy contracts were for a limited duration, as the
order and did not cause damage to or result in prejudice to the provincial
same were valid for only six (6) months each and could be
government. The Ombudsman was also of the opinion that the private
terminated by a mere written notice given five (5) days prior;
respondents did not act with manifest partiality, evident bad faith or gross
inexcusable negligence in entering into the consultancy contracts with
4. Ferdinand did not enjoy the benefits given to government Ferdinand because Governor Umali relied on the issuances of the Civil
employees such as PERA, COLA and RATA, but only received Service Commission and the opinions of the DILG and the Provincial Legal
honoraria for consultancy services actually rendered; and Office in good faith before proceeding to engage Ferdinand.

5. The Revised Omnibus Rules on Appointments and other Moreover, the Ombudsman stated that Governor Umali could not be held
Personnel Actions recognize that service contracts like the liable for violation of Article 244 of the RPC for unlawful appointment
subject twin contracts of consultancy were not considered explaining in this wise:
government service.
Umali believed in good faith that Ferdinands dismissal from the service did
The Ombudsman concluded that there could be no legal basis to support a not disqualify him from being hired as a consultant, hence, Art. 244 cannot
finding that Governor Umali violated Article 244 of the RPC considering that apply since to commit the crime, one must knowingly appoint the
Ferdinand was not appointed to a government office; and that, there could disqualified person. The term "knowingly" presupposes that the public officer
be no finding that the respondents violated R.A. No. 3019 considering that knows of the disqualification and despite such, he appointed said person.22
the alleged irregularity in the engagements of Ferdinand was not shown by
substantial evidence.
Verily, the foregoing sufficiently shows that the Ombudsman did not commit
grave abuse of discretion in dismissing the criminal charges against the
In Posadas v. Sandiganbayan,18 the Court stated that a consultancy service private respondents. As defined by this Court in United Coconut Planters
is not considered government service. Bank v. Looyuko:23
By grave abuse of discretion is meant such capricious and whimsical subject to appeal.1wphi1 Section 7, Rule III of the Ombudsman Rules
exercise of judgment as is equivalent to lack of jurisdiction. The abuse of provides:
discretion must be grave as where the power is exercised in an arbitrary or
despotic manner by reason of passion or personal hostility, and must be so SECTION 7. Finality of decision. -- Where the respondent is absolved of
patent and gross as to amount to an evasion of a positive duty or to a virtual the charge, and in case of conviction where the penalty imposed is public
refusal to perform the duty enjoined or to act at all in contemplation of law. 24 censure or reprimand, suspension of not more than one month, or a fine
equivalent to one month salary, the decision shall be final and
It falls upon the petitioner to discharge the burden of proving there was unappealable. In all other cases, the decision shall become final after the
grave abuse of discretion on the part of the Ombudsman, in accordance expiration of ten (10) days from receipt thereof by the respondent, unless a
with the definition and standards set by law and jurisprudence. "Not every motion for reconsideration or petition for certiorari shall have been filed by
error in the proceedings, or every erroneous conclusion of law or fact, him as prescribed in Section 27 of RA 6770.
constitutes grave abuse of discretion. While the prosecutor, or in this case,
the investigating officers of the Office of the Ombudsman, may err or even [Emphasis Supplied]
abuse the discretion lodged in them by law, such error or abuse alone does
not render their act amenable to correction and annulment by the In Reyes, Jr. v. Belisario,29 the Court wrote:
extraordinary remedy of certiorari."25 The requirement for judicial intrusion is
still for the petitioner to show clearly that the Ombudsman committed grave
The clear import of Section 7, Rule III of the Ombudsman Rules is to deny
abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction. Joson, in this
the complainant in an administrative complaint the right to appeal where the
case, failed to do so. On the contrary, the record reveals that the
Ombudsman has exonerated the respondent of the administrative charge,
Ombudsman carefully perused and studied the documents and meticulously
as in this case. The complainant, therefore, is not entitled to any corrective
weighed the evidence submitted by the parties before issuing the assailed
recourse, whether by motion for reconsideration in the Office of the
joint resolution and joint order which strongly negated any averment that
Ombudsman, or by appeal to the courts, to effect a reversal of the
they were issued capriciously, whimsically, arbitrarily, or in a despotic
exoneration. Only the respondent is granted the right to appeal but only in
manner.
case he is found liable and the penalty imposed is higher than public
censure, reprimand, one-month suspension or fine a equivalent to one
Moreover, a finding of probable cause, or lack of it, is a finding of fact which month salary.30
is generally not reviewable by this Court. Only when there is a clear case of
grave abuse of discretion will this Court interfere with the findings of the
Though final and unappealable in the administrative level, the decisions of
Office of the Ombudsman. As a general rule, the Court does not interfere
administrative agencies are still subject to judicial review if they fail the test
with the Ombudsmans determination of the existence or absence of
of arbitrariness, or upon proof of grave abuse of discretion, fraud or error of
probable cause. As the Court is not a trier of facts, it reposes immense
law, or when such administrative or quasi-judicial bodies grossly
respect to the factual determination and appreciation made by the
misappreciate evidence of such nature as to compel a contrary
Ombudsman. The rationale behind this rule is explained in Republic v.
conclusion.31 Specifically, the correct procedure is to file a petition
Desierto,26 in this wise:
for certiorari before the CA to question the Ombudsman's decision of
dismissal of the administrative charge. 32 Joson, however, failed to do this.
The rule is based not only upon respect for the investigatory and Hence, the decision of the Ombudsman exonerating the private respondents
prosecutory powers granted by the Constitution to the Office of the from the charge of grave misconduct had already become final. In any
Ombudsman but upon practicality as well. Otherwise, the functions of the event, the subject petition failed to show any grave abuse of discretion or
courts will be grievously hampered by innumerable petitions assailing the any reversible error on the part of the Ombudsman to compel this Court to
dismissal of investigatory proceedings conducted by the Office of the overturn its assailed administrative ruling.
Ombudsman with regard to complaints filed before it, in much the same way
that the courts would be extremely swamped if they could be compelled to
This Court has maintained its policy of non-interference with the
review the exercise of discretion on the part of the fiscals or prosecuting
Ombudsman's exercise of its investigatory and prosecutory powers in the
attorneys each time they decide to file an information in court or dismiss a
absence of grave abuse of discretion, not only out of respect for these
complaint by a private complainant.27
constitutionally mandated powers but also for practical considerations owing
to the myriad functions of the courts. In the case at bench, the Court will
It is readily apparent from Josons assertion in the petition that he was uphold the findings of the Ombudsman absent a clear showing of grave
questioning the correctness of the appreciation of facts by the Ombudsman. abuse of discretion on its part.
He presented an issue which touched on the factual findings of the
Ombudsman. Such issue is not reviewable by this Court via certiorari.28
At any rate, the Court notes that upon motion for reconsideration, A.O. No.
14, which decreed the dismissal from service of respondent Atty. Ferdinand
With respect to the dismissal of the administrative charge for gross Abesamis as Senior State Prosecutor, was already reversed and set aside
misconduct, the Court finds that the same has already attained finality per Resolution, 33 dated March 11, 2010, issued by the Office of the
because Joson failed to file a petition for certiorari before the Court of President. In effect, it affirmed the May 21, 1998 Resolution 34 of then Justice
Appeals (CA). Secretary Silvestre Bello III which strongly admonished Ferdinand to be
more circumspect in the discharge of his public office.
The assailed ruling of the Ombudsman absolving the private respondents of
the administrative charge possesses the character of finality and, thus, not WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED.
SO ORDERED. direct respondent City Assistant Treasurer Erlinda C. Tumongha (now
deceased), to refrain from making any cash disbursements for payments of
petitioners' salary differentials based on their new positions.
G.R. No. 181559 October 2, 2009

The Petition for Mandamus before the Regional Trial Court of Dumaguete
LEAH M. NAZARENO v CITY OF DUMAGUETE,
City

DEL CASTILLO, J.:


Thus, on August 1, 2001, petitioners filed a Petition for Mandamus with
Injunction and Damages with Prayer for a Temporary Restraining Order
The integrity and reliability of our civil service is, perhaps, never more sorely against the City of Dumaguete, represented by respondent city mayor
tested than in the impassioned demagoguery of elections. Amidst the Perdices and city officers Dumalag, Tumongha, Josephine Mae Flores, and
struggle of personalities, ideologies, and platforms, the vigor and resilience Araceli Campos. The petition was docketed as Civil Case No. 13013, and
of a professional civil service can only be preserved where our laws ensure raffled to Branch 41 of the Regional Trial Court of Dumaguete City.
that partisanship plays no part in the appointing process. Consequently, we Petitioners sought the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction to enjoin
affirm the validity of a regulation issued by the Civil Service Commission respondents from taking any action or issuing any orders nullifying their
(CSC or the Commission) intended to ensure that appointments and appointments.
promotions in the civil service are made solely on the basis of qualifications,
instead of political loyalties or patronage.
In a Decision4 dated March 27, 2007, the Regional Trial Court dismissed the
petition; petitioners Motion for Reconsideration was also denied in an
This Petition for Review on Certiorari filed under Rule 45 of the Rules of Order5 dated April 26, 2007. The issues involved in Civil Case No. 13013
Court seeks to reverse the Decision 1 of the Court of Appeals dated August have twice been elevated to and eventually resolved by the Court in G.R.
28, 2007 and its Resolution2 dated January 11, 2008 in CA-G.R. CEB-SP Nos. 1777956 and 168484.7
No. 00665. The case stemmed from CSC Field Offices invalidation of
petitioners appointments as employees of the City of Dumaguete, which
Revocation of Appointments by the Civil Service Commission Field Office
was affirmed by the CSC Regional Office, by the Commission en banc and
by the Court of Appeals.
Relative to this main case, on August 1, 2001, the CSC Field Office in
Dumaguete City, through Director II Fabio R. Abucejo, revoked and
Legal and Factual Backgrounds
invalidated the appointments of the petitioners (the August 1, 2001 Order)
based of the following findings:
Accreditation of Dumaguete City by the Civil Service Commission
1. There were a total of 15 promotional appointments and 74
On October 25, 1999, pursuant to the Commissions Accreditation Program, original appointments issued as reflected in the submitted
the CSC issued Resolution No. 992411,3 which granted the City [Report of Personnel Actions] ROPA for the month of June 2001.
Government of Dumaguete the authority to take final action on all its
appointments, subject to, inter alia, the following conditions:
2. There was only one (1) en banc meeting of the City Personnel
Selection Board (PSB) held on 5 June 2001 to consider the
1. That the exercise of said authority shall be subject to Civil Service Law, number of appointments thus issued and there was no other call
rules and regulations and within the limits and restrictions of the for a PSB meeting certified to by the City [Human Resource
implementing guidelines of the CSC Accreditation Program as amended Management Officer] HRMO.
(MC No. 27, s. 1994);
3. There were no minutes available to show the deliberations of
xxxx the PSB of the 89 appointments listed in the ROPA as certified by
the City HRMO.
5. That appointments issued under this authority shall be subject to monthly
monitoring by the [Civil Service Field Office] CSFO concerned; 4. There were no PSB statements certifying that there was actual
screening and evaluation done on all candidates for each
xxxx position.

9. That appointments found in the course of monthly monitoring to have 5. The appointing officer of the 89 appointments was an outgoing
been issued and acted upon in violation of pertinent rules, standards, and local official who lost during the 14 May 2001 elections for City
regulations shall immediately be invalidated by the Civil Service Regional Mayor of Dumaguete City.
Office (CSRO), upon recommendation by the CSFO.
6. The 89 appointments were all issued after the elections and
Appointments made by outgoing Mayor Remollo when the new city mayor was about to assume office.8

Then Dumaguete City Mayor Felipe Antonio B. Remollo sought re-election Director Abucejo invalidated the appointments as the same were done in
in the May 14, 2001 elections, but lost to respondent Mayor Agustin R. violation of CSC Resolution No. 010988 dated June 4, 2001, the pertinent
Perdices. Thereafter, on June 5, 7, and 11, 2001, outgoing Mayor Remollo portions of which provide:
promoted 15 city hall employees, and regularized another 74 city hall
employees, including the herein 52 petitioners. WHEREAS, the May 14, 2001 national and local elections have just
concluded and the Commission anticipates controversies that would arise
On July 2, 2001, Mayor Perdices publicly announced at the flag raising involving appointments issued by outgoing local chief executives
ceremony at the Dumaguete City Hall grounds that he would not honor the immediately before or after the elections;
appointments made by former Mayor Remollo. On the same day, he
instructed the City Administrator, respondent Dominador Dumalag, Jr., to
WHEREAS, the Commission observed the tendency of some outgoing local 4. The term "mass appointments" refers to those issued in bulk or
chief executives to issue appointments even after the elections, especially in large number after the elections by an outgoing local chief
when their successors have already been proclaimed. executive and there is no apparent need for their immediate
issuance.
WHEREAS, the practice of some outgoing local chief executives causes
animosities between the outgoing and incoming officials and the people who On September 4, 2001, petitioners filed a Motion for Reconsideration of the
are immediately affected and are made to suffer the consequences thereof August 1, 2001 Order before the CSC Region VII Office in Cebu. The motion
are the ordinary civil servants, and eventually, to a large extent, their was, however, denied on the ground that it should have been filed before
constituents themselves; the office of Director Abucejo in Dumaguete City. Thereafter, on October 31,
2001, petitioners asked the CSC Region VII Office in Cebu to treat their
WHEREAS, one of the reasons behind the prohibition in issuing previous Motion for Reconsideration as their appeal.1avvphi1
appointments or hiring new employees during the prohibited period as
provided for in CSC Memorandum Circular No. 7, series of 2001, is to On February 14, 2002, the CSC Region VII Office affirmed the August 1,
prevent the occurrence of the foregoing, among others;9 2001 Order. Subsequently, an Appeal to the Commission en banc was filed
through registered mail by 52 of the original 89 appointees, the petitioners
WHEREAS, local elective officials whose terms of office are about to expire, herein, namely:
are deemed as "caretaker" administrators who are duty bound to prepare for
the smooth and orderly transfer of power and authority to the incoming local (BASTA TABLE)
chief executives;
Ruling of the CSC en banc and the Court of Appeals
WHEREAS, under Section 15, Article VII of the Constitution, the President
or Acting President is prohibited from making appointments two (2) months On August 23, 2004, the CSC en banc issued Resolution No. 040932
immediately before the next presidential elections and up to the end of his denying petitioners' appeal, and affirming the invalidation of their
term, except temporary appointments to executive positions when continued appointments on the ground that these were mass appointments made by
vacancies therein will prejudice public service or endanger public safety; an outgoing local chief executive.10 The Commission explained:

WHEREAS, while there is no equivalent provision in the Local Government The rationale behind the prohibition in CSC Resolution No. 01-0988 is not
Code of 1991 (Republic Act 7160) or in the Civil Service Law (Book V of hard to comprehend. The prohibition is designed to discourage losing
Executive Order No. 292) of the abovestated prohibition, the rationale candidates from extending appointments to their protgs or from giving
against the prohibition on the issuance of "midnight appointments" by the their constituents "promised" positions (CSC Resolution No. 97-0317 dated
President is applicable to appointments extended by outgoing local chief January 17, 1997, Re: Roldan B. Casinillo). Moreover, the same is intended
executives immediately before and/or after the elections; to prevent the outgoing local chief executive from hurriedly issuing
appointments which would subvert the policies of the incoming leadership.
xxxx Thus, any means that would directly or indirectly circumvent the purposes
for which said Resolution was promulgated should not be allowed,
NOW THEREFORE, the Commission, pursuant to its constitutional mandate particularly when the appointments were issued by the appointing authority
as the control personnel agency of the government, hereby issues and who lost in said election.
adopts the following guidelines:
Petitioners filed a Motion for Reconsideration which was denied by the
xxxx Commission on April 11, 2005, through CSC Resolution No. 050473.

3. All appointments, whether original, transfer, reemployment, Petitioners then filed a petition for review before the Court of Appeals, which
reappointment, promotion or demotion, except in cases of was docketed as CA-G.R. CEB-SP No. 00665. On August 28, 2007, the
renewal and reinstatement, regardless of status, which are Court of Appeals denied the appeal and affirmed CSC Resolution No.
issued AFTER the elections, regardless of their dates of 040932 dated August 23, 2004 and CSC Resolution No. 050473 dated April
effectivity and/or date of receipt by the Commission, including its 11, 2005, ratiocinating that:
Regional or Field Offices, of said appointments or the Report of
Personnel Actions (ROPA) as the case may be, shall be The spirit behind CSC Resolution No. 010988 is evident from its preamble.
disapproved unless the following requisites concur relative to It was issued to thwart the nefarious practice by outgoing local chief
their issuance: executives in making appointments before, during, and/or after the regular
local elections for ulterior partisan motives. Said practice being analogous to
a) The appointment has gone through the regular "midnight appointments" by the President or Acting President, the CSC then
screening by the Personnel Selection Board (PSB) promulgated Resolution No. 010988, to suppress the mischief and evils
before the prohibited period on the issuance of attributed to "mass appointments" made by local chief executives.
appointments as shown by the PSB report or minutes
of its meeting; Petitioners Motion for Reconsideration was denied by the Court of Appeals
in a Resolution dated January 11, 2008.
b) That the appointee is qualified;
The Parties Arguments
c) There is a need to fill up the vacancy immediately in
order not to prejudice public service and/or endanger Before us, petitioners maintain that CSC Resolution No. 010988 is invalid
public safety; because the Commission is without authority to issue regulations prohibiting
mass appointments at the local government level. Petitioners cite De Rama
d) That the appointment is not one of those mass v. Court of Appeals11 which held that Section 15, Article VII of the
appointments issued after the elections. Constitution is only applicable to the President or Acting President. They
claim that outgoing or defeated local appointing authorities are authorized to (2) prescribe, amend, and enforce rules and regulations for
make appointments of qualified individuals until their last day in office, and carrying into effect the provisions of the Civil Service Law and
that not all mass appointments are invalid. Finally, petitioners claim that other pertinent laws;
because Dumaguete City had been granted authority to take "final action"
on all appointments, the Commission did not have any authority to (3) promulgate policies, standards, and guidelines for the Civil
disapprove the appointments made by outgoing mayor Remollo. Service and adopt plans and programs to promote economical,
efficient, and effective personnel administration in the
In their Comment dated May 15, 2008,12 respondents argue that petitioners government;
appointments violated civil service rules and regulations other than CSC
Resolution No. 010988. Respondents also assert that the Commission is (4) take appropriate action on all appointments and other
authorized to invalidate the petitioners appointments, because the CSC personnel matters in the Civil Service including extension of
accreditation program carried with it the caveat that "said exercise of Service beyond retirement age;
authority shall be subject to Civil Service law, rules and regulations." Finally,
respondents claim that petitioners were guilty of forum shopping because
the issues in this case and in G.R. No. 177795 are the same. (5) inspect and audit the personnel actions and programs of the
departments, agencies, bureaus, offices, local government units,
and other instrumentalities of the government, including
Our Ruling government owned and controlled corporations. (emphasis
supplied)
We find that the Civil Service Commission has the authority to issue CSC
Resolution No. 010988 and that the invalidation of petitioners appointments Clearly, the above-cited statutory provisions authorize the Commission to
was warranted. Consequently, we affirm the Decision of the Court of "prescribe, amend, and enforce" rules to cover the civil service. The
Appeals dated August 28, 2007 and its Resolution dated January 11, 2008 legislative standards to be observed and respected in the exercise of such
in CA-G.R. CEB-SP No. 00665. delegated authority are set out in the statutes, to wit: to promote
"economical, efficient, and effective personnel administration."
The CSC has the authority to establish rules to promote efficiency in the civil
service The Reasons behind CSC Resolution No. 010988

The Commission, as the central personnel agency of the government, 13 has We also find that there was substantial reason behind the issuance of CSC
statutory authority to establish rules and regulations to promote efficiency Resolution No. 010988. It is true that there is no constitutional prohibition
and professionalism in the civil service. Presidential Decree No. 807, 14 or against the issuance of "mass appointments" by defeated local government
the Civil Service Decree of the Philippines, provides for the powers of the officials prior to the expiration of their terms. Clearly, this is not the same as
Commission, including the power to issue rules and regulations and to a "midnight appointment," proscribed by the Constitution, which refers to
review appointments: those appointments made within two months immediately prior to the next
presidential election.15 As we ruled in De Rama v. Court of Appeals:16
Section 9: Powers and functions of the Commission The Commission shall
administer the Civil Service and shall have the following powers and The records reveal that when the petitioner brought the matter of recalling
functions: the appointments of the fourteen (14) private respondents before the CSC,
the only reason he cited to justify his action was that these were midnight
xxxx appointments that are forbidden under Article VII, Section 15 of the
Constitution. However, the CSC ruled, and correctly so, that the said
(b) Prescribe, amend, and enforce suitable rules and regulations prohibition applies only to presidential appointments. In truth and in fact,
for carrying into effect the provisions of this Decree x x x there is no law that prohibits local elective officials from making
appointments during the last days of his or her tenure.
(c) Promulgate policies, standards, and guidelines for the Civil
Service and adopt plans and programs to promote economical, However, even while affirming De Rama, we explained in Quirog v.
efficient, and effective personnel administration in the Aumentado,17 that:
government;
We, however, hasten to add that the aforementioned ruling does not mean
xxxx that the raison d' etre behind the prohibition against midnight appointments
may not be applied to those made by chief executives of local government
units, as here. Indeed, the prohibition is precisely designed to discourage,
(h) Approve all appointments, whether original or promotional, to positions in nay, even preclude, losing candidates from issuing appointments merely for
the civil service, except those of presidential appointees, members of the partisan purposes thereby depriving the incoming administration of the
armed forces of the Philippines, police forces, firemen, and jailguards, and opportunity to make the corresponding appointments in line with its new
disapprove those where the appointees do not possess the appropriate policies. (Emphasis supplied)
eligibility or required qualifications; (Emphasis supplied)
Quirog also involved the disapproval of an appointment for non-compliance
Executive Order No. 292, or the Administrative Code of 1987, also provides: with CSC Resolution No. 010988. However, we found that Quirogs
appointment was made on June 1, 2001, or three days prior to the issuance
Section 12: Powers and Functions The Commission shall have the of CSC Resolution No. 010988. As such, we ruled that the retroactive
following powers and functions: application of the law was not warranted.

xxxx In Sales v. Carreon, Jr.,18 we had occasion to discuss the reasons behind
the prohibition by the Commission of mass appointments after the elections.
Sales involved the issuance of 83 appointments made by then Dapitan City
Mayor Joseph Cedrick O. Ruiz in his last month of office (on June 1, 18, and
27, 2001), which the newly elected Mayor, Rodolfo H. Carreon, xxxx
subsequently revoked, on the ground that these violated CSC Resolution
No. 010988 in relation to CSC Memorandum Circular No. 7, Series of 2001, (h) Personnel Selection Board (PSB) Evaluation/Screening. Appointees
imposing a ban on issuing appointments in the civil service during the should be screened and evaluated by the PSB, if applicable. As proof
election period. In Sales, we declared: thereof, a certification signed by the Chairman of the Board at the back of
the appointment or alternatively, a copy of the proceedings/ minutes of the
This case is a typical example of the practice of outgoing local chief Boards deliberation shall be submitted together with the appointment. The
executives to issue "midnight" appointments, especially after their issuance of the appointment shall not be earlier than the date of the final
successors have been proclaimed. It does not only cause animosities screening/deliberation of the PSB.
between the outgoing and the incoming officials, but also affects efficiency in
local governance. Those appointed tend to devote their time and energy in Here, there was only one en banc meeting of the city PSB to consider the
defending their appointments instead of attending to their functions.19 appointments, without any evidence that there were any deliberations on the
qualifications of the petitioners, or any indication that there was an urgent
It is not difficult to see the reasons behind the prohibition on appointments need for the immediate issuance of such appointments. The absence of
before and after the elections. Appointments are banned prior to the evidence showing careful consideration of the merits of each appointment,
elections to ensure that partisan loyalties will not be a factor in the and the timing and the number of appointments, militate against petitioners
appointment process, and to prevent incumbents from gaining any undue cause. On the contrary, the prevailing circumstances in this case indicate
advantage during the elections. To this end, appointments within a certain that the appointments were hurriedly issued by the outgoing administration.
period of time are proscribed by the Omnibus Election Code and related
issuances.20 After the elections, appointments by defeated candidates are The Accreditation of Dumaguete City did not remove the CSCs authority to
prohibited, except under the circumstances mentioned in CSC Resolution review appointments
No. 010988, to avoid animosities between outgoing and incoming officials,
to allow the incoming administration a free hand in implementing its policies,
and to ensure that appointments and promotions are not used as a tool for We find that the authority granted by CSC Resolution No. 992411 to the City
political patronage or as a reward for services rendered to the outgoing local Government of Dumaguete to "take final action" on all its appointments did
officials. not deprive the Commission of its authority and duty to review
appointments. Indeed, Resolution No. 992411 states that such exercise of
authority shall be "subject to civil service law, rules and regulations" and that
Not all Mass Appointments are Prohibited appointments in violation of pertinent rules "shall immediately be
invalidated."
Indeed, not all appointments issued after the elections by defeated officials
are invalid. CSC Resolution No. 010988 does not purport to nullify all "mass Moreover, Section 20, Rule VI of the Omnibus Rules Implementing Book V
appointments." However, it must be shown that the appointments have of Executive Order No. 292 provides that notwithstanding the initial approval
undergone the regular screening process, that the appointee is qualified, of an appointment, the same may be recalled for "[v]iolation of other existing
that there is a need to fill up the vacancy immediately, and that the Civil Service laws, rules and regulations." The CSC is empowered to take
appointments are not in bulk. In Nazareno v. Dumaguete,21 we explained: appropriate action on all appointments and other personnel actions and that
such power "includes the authority to recall an appointment initially
CSC Resolution No. 010988 does not totally proscribe the local chief approved in disregard of applicable provisions of Civil Service law and
executive from making any appointments immediately before and after regulations."24
elections. The same Resolution provides that the validity of an appointment
issued immediately before and after elections by an outgoing local chief Petitioners have not engaged in forum shopping
executive is to be determined on the basis of the nature, character, and
merit of the individual appointment and the particular circumstances
surrounding the same. The essence of forum-shopping is the filing of multiple suits involving the
same parties for the same cause of action, either simultaneously or
successively, for the purpose of obtaining a favorable judgment. 25 Forum-
Corollarily, we held in Sales,22 that: shopping has been defined as the act of a party against whom an adverse
judgment has been rendered in one forum, seeking and possibly getting a
x x x [e]ach appointment must be judged on the basis of the nature, favorable opinion in another forum, other than by appeal or the special civil
character, and merits of the individual appointment and the circumstances action of certiorari, or the institution of two or more actions or proceedings
surrounding the same. It is only when the appointments were made en grounded on the same cause on the supposition that one or the other court
masse by the outgoing administration and shown to have been made would make a favorable disposition.26
through hurried maneuvers and under circumstances departing from good
faith, morality, and propriety that this Court has struck down "midnight" Although the factual antecedents of the cases brought before this Court are
appointments. the same, they involve different issues. The petition for Mandamus with
Injunction and Damages, docketed as Civil Case No. 13013, and raised
In the instant case, Mayor Remollo issued the 89 original and promotional before this Court as G.R. No. 177795, challenged respondents refusal to
appointments on three separate dates, but within a ten-day period, in the recognize petitioners appointments and to pay petitioners salaries, salary
same month that he left office. 23 Further, the Commissions audit found adjustments, and other emoluments. The petition only entailed the
violations of CSC rules and regulations that justified the disapproval of the applications for the issuance of a writ of mandamus and for the award of
appointments. In this regard, CSC Memorandum Circular No. 40, otherwise damages. The present case docketed as G.R. No. 181559, on the other
known as the Revised Rules on Appointments and Other Personnel Actions, hand, involves the merits of petitioners appeal from the invalidation and
provides: revocation of their appointments by the CSC-Field Office, which was
affirmed by the CSC-Regional Office, CSC en banc, and the Court of
Section 1 Appointments submitted to the CSC office concerned should Appeals.
meet the requirements listed hereunder. Non-compliance with such
requirements shall be grounds for disapproval of said appointments:
In any event, this issue had already been settled in our Decision of June 19, WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED for lack of merit. The Court of
2009 in G.R. No. 177795, which found petitioners not guilty of forum Appeals Decision in CA-G.R. CEB-SP No. 00665 dated August 28, 2007
shopping, to wit: affirming CSC Resolution No. 040932 dated August 23, 2004 and CSC
Resolution No. 050473 dated April 11, 2005, and its Resolution dated
True, that the [Petition in G.R. No. 177795] and the one in G.R. No. 181559 January 11, 2008 denying the Motion for Reconsideration are AFFIRMED.
are interrelated, but they are not necessarily the same for this Court to
adjudge that the filing of both by petitioners constitutes forum shopping. In SO ORDERED.
G.R. No. 181559, the Court will resolve whether or not the petitioners
appointments are valid. [In G.R. No. 177795], petitioners are claiming a right
to the salaries, salary adjustments and other emoluments during the
pendency of the administrative cases, regardless of how the CSC decided
the validity of their appointments.