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G. R. Nos.

148948 & 148951-60 7981-00, which were assigned to Branch 22; (2)
February 17, 2003 Criminal Cases Nos. 7973-00 to 7979-00 and
7970-00, assigned to Branch 21; (3) Criminal
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, petitioner, Cases Nos. 7950-00 to 7959-00 and 7980-00,
vs. assigned to Branch 20; and (4) Criminal Cases
HON LUCENITO N. TAGLE, Presiding Judge, Nos. 7960-00 to 7969-00, assigned to Branch 90.
Regional Trial Court, Branch 20, Imus,
Cavite, respondent. On 23 June 2000, the respondents in I.S. No. 1-99-
1080 appealed before the COMELEC the 10 April
DECISION 2000 Resolution of the Provincial Prosecutor. On 6
July 2000, the COMELEC en banc denied the
DAVIDE, JR., CJ.: appeal for lack of jurisdiction.4 However, upon the
urgent motion to set for hearing the appeal, the
COMELEC en banc resolved to defer action on the
In this special civil action for certiorari and appeal and refer the same to the Law
mandamus, petitioner Commission on Elections Department for comment and recommendation. 5
(COMELEC) seeks the nullification of the orders of
16 March 20011 and 9 May 20012 of respondent
Judge Lucenito N. Tagle of the Regional Trial Court The Law Department of the COMELEC filed
(RTC), Branch 20, Imus, Cavite, denying motions to suspend proceedings before Branches
petitioners motion to dismiss Criminal Cases Nos. 20, 21, 22 and 90 of the RTC of Imus, Cavite, until
7950-00 to 7959-00 and 7980-00 and motion for the COMELEC would have resolved the appeal of
reconsideration, respectively. the respondents in I.S. No. 1-99-1080. The
Presiding Judge of Branch 22 granted the motion
for the suspension of proceedings in Criminal
During the 11 May 1998 elections, Florentino A. Cases Nos. 7940-00 to 7949-00 and 7981-
Bautista ran for the position of mayor in the 00.1awphi1.nt
Municipality of Kawit, Cavite. On 8 July 1998, he
filed with the COMELEC a complaint against then
incumbent mayor Atty. Federico Poblete, In its Minute Resolution No. 00-2453,6 the
Bienvenido Pobre, Reynaldo Aguinaldo, Arturo COMELEC en banc, upon the recommendation of
Ganibe, Leonardo Llave, Diosdado del Rosario, its Law Department, declared null and void the
Manuel Ubod, Angelito Peregrino, Mario Espiritu, resolution of the Office of the Provincial
Salvador Olaes and Pedro Paterno, Jr., for violation Prosecutor in I.S. No. 1-99-1080. It held that the
of Section 261 (a) and (b) of the Omnibus Election respondents therein are exempt from criminal
Code. The complaint was supported by the prosecution pursuant to the fourth paragraph of
separate affidavits of forty-four (44) witnesses Section 28 of R.A. No. 6646, 7 otherwise known as
attesting to the vote-buying activities of the "The Electoral Reforms Law of 1987," which
respondents and was docketed as E.O. Case No. grants immunity from criminal prosecution
98-219. persons who voluntarily give information and
willingly testify against those liable for vote-
buying or vote-selling. It further directed the Law
On 25 February 1999, upon the recommendation Department to file the necessary motions to
of its Law Department, the COMELEC en banc dismiss the criminal cases filed against the said
issued a resolution3 directing the filing of the respondents.
necessary information against the respondents in
E.O. Case No. 98-219 and authorizing the Director
IV of the Law Department to designate a Pursuant to Minute Resolution No. 00-2453, the
COMELEC prosecutor to handle the prosecution of Law Department filed a motion to
the cases and to file the appropriate motion for dismiss8 Criminal Cases Nos. 7950-00 to 7959-00
the preventive suspension of the respondents. and 7980-00 before Branch 20 of the RTC of Imus,
Cavite, presided by herein respondent judge. The
latter, however, denied the said motion and the
The Law Department filed the corresponding motion for
information against the respondents in E.O. Case reconsideration.1a\^/phi1.net According to
No. 98-219 before the RTC, Branch 90, Imus, respondent judge, before one can be exempt
Cavite, which was docketed as Criminal Case No. from prosecution under the fourth paragraph of
7034-99. Section 28 of R.A. No. 6646, it is necessary that
such person has already performed the overt act
Before the trial of Criminal Case No. 7034-99 of voluntarily giving information or testifying in
commenced, or on 2 December 1999, a any official investigation or proceeding for the
complaint was filed by Innocencio Rodelas and offense to which such information or testimony
Gerardo Macapagal with the Office of the was given. It was thus premature to exempt the
Provincial Prosecutor in Imus, Cavite, for violation respondents in I.S. No. 1-99-1080 from criminal
of Section 261(a) of the Omnibus Election Code prosecution, since they have not yet testified.
against the witnesses in the criminal case for
vote-buying, who were the witnesses in E.O. Case Hence, this petition, ascribing to the respondent
No. 98-219. The complaint was docketed as I.S. judge grave abuse of discretion amounting to
No. 1-99-1080. excess or lack of jurisdiction in peremptorily
denying the prosecutions motion to dismiss
On 10 April 2000, the Office of the Provincial Criminal Cases Nos. 7950-00 to 7959-00 and
Prosecutor resolved to file separate informations 7980-00.
for vote-selling in the various branches of the RTC
in Imus, Cavite, against the respondents in I.S. This Court referred the petition to the Office of
No. 1-99-1080. The cases were docketed as (1) the Solicitor General (OSG) and required it to
Criminal Cases Nos. 7940-00 to 7949-00 and
manifest whether it is adopting the petition. 9 In a criminal liability in favor of the party whose vote
Manifestation and Motion10 filed with this Court, was bought. This grant of immunity will
the OSG stated that it repleads the submissions encourage the recipient or acceptor to come into
contained in the petition and adopts the petition the open and denounce the culprit-candidate, and
as its own. will ensure the successful prosecution of the
criminal case against the latter. Congress saw the
The petition is meritorious. wisdom of this proposition, and so Section 28 of
R.A. No. 6646 on Prosecution of Vote-Buying and
A free, orderly, honest, peaceful, and credible Vote-Selling concludes with this paragraph:
election is indispensable in a democratic society.
Without it, democracy would not flourish and The giver, offeror, the promisor as well as the
would be a sham. Election offenses, such as vote- solicitor, acceptor, recipient and conspirator
buying and vote-selling, are evils which prostitute referred to in paragraphs (a) and (b) of Section
the election process. They destroy the sanctity of 261 of Batas Pambansa Blg. 881 shall be liable as
the votes and abet the entry of dishonest principals: Provided, That any person, otherwise
candidates into the corridors of power where they guilty under said paragraphs who voluntarily
may do more harm. As the Bible says, one who is gives information and willingly testifies on any
dishonest in very small matters is dishonest in violation thereof in any official investigation or
great ones. One who commits dishonesty in his proceeding shall be exempt from prosecution and
entry into an elective office through the punishment for the offenses with reference to
prostitution of the electoral process cannot be which his information and testimony were given:
reasonably expected to respect and adhere to the Provided, further, That nothing herein shall
constitutional precept that a public office is a exempt such person from criminal prosecution for
public trust, and that all government officials and perjury or false testimony.
employees must at all times be accountable to
the people and exercise their duties with utmost However, to avoid possible fabrication of
responsibility, integrity, loyalty, and efficiency. evidence against the vote-buyers, especially by
the latters opponents, Congress saw it fit to warn
The provision of law alleged to have been "vote-sellers" who denounce the vote-buying that
violated by the respondents in E.O. Case No. 98- they could be liable for perjury or false testimony
219, who are the accused in Criminal Case No. should they not tell the truth.
7034-99, reads as follows:
It must be stressed that the COMELEC has the
SEC. 261. Prohibited Acts. - The following shall be exclusive power to conduct preliminary
guilty of an election offense: investigation of all election offenses punishable
under the election laws and to prosecute the
(a) Vote-buying and vote-selling. - (1) Any same, except as may otherwise be provided by
person who gives, offers or promises law.11 The Chief State Prosecutor, all Provincial
money or anything of value, gives or and City Prosecutors, or their respective
promises any office or employment, assistants are, however, given continuing
franchise or grant, public or private, or authority, as deputies of the COMELEC, to
makes or offers to make an expenditure, conduct preliminary investigation of complaints
directly or indirectly, or cause an involving election offenses and to prosecute the
expenditure to be made to any person, same.12 This authority may be revoked or
association, corporation, entity, or withdrawn by the COMELEC anytime whenever, in
community in order to induce anyone or its judgment, such revocation or withdrawal is
the public in general to vote for or against necessary to protect the integrity of the
any candidate or withhold his vote in the COMELEC and to promote the common good, or
election, or to vote for or against any when it believes that the successful prosecution
aspirant for the nomination or choice of a of the case can be done by the COMELEC.13
candidate in a convention or similar
selection process of a political party. In this case, when the COMELEC nullified the
resolution of the Provincial Prosecutor in I.S. No.
(2) Any person, association, 1-99-1080, which was the basis of the
corporation, group or community informations for vote-selling, it, in effect,
who solicits or receives, directly or withdrew the deputation granted to the
indirectly, any expenditure or prosecutor. Such withdrawal of the deputation
promise of any office or was clearly in order, considering the
employment, public or private, for circumstances obtaining in these cases where
any of the foregoing those who voluntarily executed affidavits
considerations. attesting to the vote-buying incident and became
witnesses against the vote-buyers now stand as
accused for the same acts they had earlier
(b) Conspiracy to bribe voters. - Two or denounced. What the Prosecutor did was to
more persons whether candidates or not, sabotage the prosecution of the criminal case
who come to an agreement concerning against the "vote-buyers" and put in serious peril
the commission of any violation of the integrity of the COMELEC, which filed the said
paragraph (a) of this section and decide to case for vote-buying. If the Prosecutor had
commit it. listened to the command of prudence and good
faith, he should have brought the matter to the
One of the effective ways of preventing the attention of the COMELEC.
commission of vote-buying and of prosecuting
those committing it is the grant of immunity from
Petitioner COMELEC found that the respondents the proviso in the fourth paragraph of Section 28
in I.S. No. 1-99-1080, who executed affidavits and of R.A. No. 6646.
turned witnesses in Criminal Case No. 7034-99,
voluntarily admitted that they were the acceptors WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The
or recipients in the vote-buying done by the challenged orders dated 16 March 2001 and 9
accused in said case. It was precisely because of May 2001 of respondent judge in Criminal Cases
such voluntary admission and willingness to Nos. 7950-00 to 7959-00 and 7980-00 before
testify that the COMELEC en banc, in its Minute Branch 20 of the Regional Trial Court in Imus,
Resolution No. 00-2453, declared null and void Cavite, are hereby SET ASIDE, and said criminal
the resolution of the Office of the Provincial cases are ordered DISMISSED.
Prosecutor of Cavite in I.S. No. 1-99-1080 and
held that the respondents therein are exempt No pronouncement as to costs.
from criminal prosecution pursuant to the last
paragraph of Section 28 of R.A. No. 6646. Hence,
it directed its Law Department to file a motion to SO ORDERED.
dismiss the criminal cases which the Office of the
Provincial Prosecutor filed in court against the
respondents in I.S. No. 1-99-1080.

We agree with the petitioner and hold that the


respondents in I.S. No. 1-99-1080, who are the
accused in Criminal Cases Nos. 7950-00 to 7959-
00 and 7980-00, are exempt from criminal
prosecution for vote-selling by virtue of the
proviso in the last paragraph of Section 28 of R.A.
No. 6646. Respondent judge lost sight of the fact
that at the time the complaint for vote-selling
was filed with the Office of the Provincial
Prosecutor, the respondents in I.S. No. 1-99-1080
had already executed sworn statements attesting
to the corrupt practice of vote-buying in the case
docketed as Criminal Case No. 7034-99. It cannot
then be denied that they had already voluntarily
given information in the vote-buying case. In fact,
they willingly testified in Criminal Case No. 7034-
99 per petitioners Memorandum filed with this
Court.14

In a futile attempt to justify his denial of the


motion to dismiss Criminal Cases Nos. 7950-00 to
7959-00 and 7980-00, respondent judge averred
in his comment on the petition that nothing was
mentioned in the motion to dismiss that the
accused in said cases had already given
information or testified in any
proceeding.1a\^/phi1.net Besides, no record of
any preliminary investigation was attached to the
motion to dismiss. The petitioner merely referred
to the dispositive portion of Minute Resolution No.
00-2453 without mentioning any preliminary
investigation conducted by the Law Department
of the COMELEC.

This contention is without basis. A reading of the


motion to dismiss Criminal Cases Nos. 7950-00 to
7959-00 and 7980-00 shows that a certified true
copy of COMELEC Minute Resolution No. 00-2453
was attached thereto and was made an integral
part thereof. The attached resolution indicated
that the accused in the cases sought to be
dismissed had voluntarily given information and
were willing to testify against the vote-buyers,
and are therefore utilized as witnesses in the
pending case for vote-buyers docketed as
Criminal Case No. 7034-99.

Clearly then, respondent judge committed grave


abuse of discretion when he denied the motion to
dismiss Criminal Cases Nos. 7950-00 to 7959-00
and 7980-00 despite COMELECs determination
that the accused therein are exempt from
criminal prosecution for vote-selling pursuant to
respondents Rumbaoa and Teves, also named as
G.R. No. 157950 June 8, 2005 respondents were Dr. Rosas, Atty. Sibug and Mrs.
Alicia G. Benzon (Principal IV, Coordinating
LIBRADA D. TAPISPISAN, Petitioner, Principal, South District).
vs.
COURT OF APPEALS; CIVIL SERVICE In her complaint/protest, petitioner Tapispisan
COMMISSION; HON. RICARDO T. GLORIA, alleged that the designation of respondents
Secretary, Department of Education, Culture Rumbaoa and Teves was made with evident
and Sports (DECS); DR. NILO L. ROSAS, favoritism and in gross violation of Civil Service
Regional Director, DECS-NCR; ATTY. and DECS rules and regulations on promotions.
RICARDO T. SIBUG, Superintendent of The petitioner claimed that she was more
Schools, Pasay City; MRS. ALICIA G. qualified for promotion than respondents
BENZON, Principal IV, Coordinating Rumbaoa and Teves. She pointed out that in the
Principal, South District, Pasay City; MRS. 1994-1995 annual qualifying examination
MYRNA TEVES, Teacher, Gotamco conducted for both teachers and principals, she
Elementary School, Pasay City; and MRS. placed No. 4 in the Division List of Promotables
AIDA RUMBAOA, Teacher, Villanueva for Head Teachers while the names of
Elementary School, Pasay City, Respondents. respondents Rumbaoa and Teves did not appear
therein. Nonetheless, they were the ones
DECISION recommended and designated to the subject
positions.
CALLEJO, SR., J.:
Petitioner Tapispisan enumerated her credentials
and qualifications,2 thus:
Before the Court is the petition for review
on certiorari filed by Librada D. Tapispisan
seeking the reversal of the Decision1 dated Bachelor of Science in
Degrees
December 12, 2002 of the Court of Appeals (CA) Elem. Education (BSEd)
Completed :
in CA-G.R. SP No. 45485. FEU, 1970
Master of Arts in Industrial
The assailed decision affirmed the resolutions of Education (MAIE) Adm. &
the Civil Service Commission (CSC) dismissing the Supervision, TUP, 1992
petitioners protest against the designation of
respondent Aida M. Rumbaoa as Officer-in-Charge Civil Service Professional Board Exam<
(OIC)-Head Teacher of P. Villanueva Elementary Eligibility : for Teachers, 71.06%, 1982
School and respondent Myrna M. Teves as OIC-
Principal of Don Carlos Elementary School. The Competitive Exam, 90%,
petitioner also seeks the reversal of the appellate 1971
courts Resolution dated April 10, 2003, denying Classroom Teacher, 1971-
her motion for reconsideration. Positions Held 1981
: E.G.T., 1981-1992<=""
The factual and procedural antecedents of the td="">
case are as follows:
Achievements DECS Rating, 1993-1994,
, Awards 94%
Petitioner Tapispisan is a public school teacher
And as Teacher
and has been occupying the position of Teacher III
Distinctions :
since September 1, 1992. She has been teaching
for the last thirty (30) years and is currently Potential Teacher Rating
assigned at the Villamor Air Base Elementary 1994-1995, 9.8
School in Pasay City.
Bronze Service Award Boys
On May 30, 1995, respondent Atty. Ricardo T. Scouts of the Phils., 1990
Sibug (Schools Division Superintendent, Pasay Certificate of Merit
City) issued Division Memorandum No. 33 Villamor Air Base Elem.
designating respondent Rumbaoa as OIC-Head School, 1989
Teacher of P. Villanueva Elementary School and
respondent Teves as OIC-Principal of Don Carlos Recognition and
Elementary School, both schools are in Pasay City. Appreciation Nichols Air
Feeling that she had been unduly by-passed, Base, 1979
petitioner Tapispisan filed with respondent Sibug
a protest contesting such designation. The latter, The petitioner claimed that she completed her
however, denied the protest. The petitioner then masters degree long before respondents
brought the matter to respondent Dr. Nilo L. Rumbaoa and Teves completed theirs and that
Rosas, Regional Director of the Department of she became Teacher III ahead of them. However,
Education, Culture and Sports (DECS) for National in making their recommendation, respondents
Capital Region (NCR) who, likewise, denied the Benzon and Sibug allegedly disregarded these
protest. objective factors or criteria for promotion and
instead resorted to personal or relative factors,
On December 11, 1995, the petitioner filed with which are the weakest of the standards for
the DECS a "Complaint/Protest Against the Illegal evaluation, to favor respondents Rumbaoa and
and Indiscriminate Appointment and Promotion of Teves.
Mesdames Aida Rumbaoa and Myrna Teves,"
docketed as Adm. Case No. 96-001. Together with
The petitioner thus prayed in her dedication as shown by the fact that they would
complaint/protest that the promotions of designate her as OIC of Don Carlos Elementary
respondents Rumbaoa and Teves be recalled and School when its former principal was on leave or
that they be disallowed from occupying, in acting on assignment elsewhere. It was emphasized that
capacity, the positions to which they were respondent Teves designation as OIC-Principal of
designated. Don Carlos Elementary School was of temporary
nature, not a permanent movement from Villamor
In their answer, respondents Benzon and Sibug Air Base Elementary School nor a promotion.
asserted that the evaluation of the qualifications Being temporary, it may be recalled any time.
of the teachers considered for promotion was
made by a Division Section/Board of Promotions Secretary Gloria found that, with respect to
in accordance with Section 9,3Rule VI, Omnibus respondent Rumbaoa, she was appointed as
Rules Implementing Book V of Executive Order Elementary School Head Teacher III on March 15,
No. 2924 and other pertinent Civil Service Laws, 1995, which appointment was attested by the
and that the qualifications of each applicant was CSC. As such, it had become complete and final,
juxtaposed vis--vis the qualification standards which could no longer be a subject of belated
provided for in Sections 1 up to 7,5 Rule IV of the protest or withdrawn by recall.
same omnibus rules.1avvphi1 Respondents
Benzon and Sibug maintained that all the Respondent Rumbaoas appointment as
standards and procedures were complied with by Elementary School Head Teacher III was based on
the said Board of Promotions, which found her Performance Efficiency Ratings, which had
petitioner Tapispisan "wanting of qualification for been "OUTSTANDING" for the last four
the position of Head Teacher or Principal." consecutive years (1991-1995), and her being
recipient of several achievement awards for
For her part, respondent Rumbaoa averred that teaching excellence at Villamor Air Base
she was already promoted as Elementary School Elementary School. It was also noted that
Head Teacher III on March 15, 1995 and respondent Rumbaoa ranked No. 2 in the Division
subsequently re-assigned as OIC-Head Teacher of List of Promotables for the school year 1993-
P. Villanueva Elementary School on May 30, 1995. 1994, where she earned a total score of 63.19
Even with the new assignment, she retains the while petitioner Tapispisan obtained 53.38. Thus,
position of Elementary School Head Teacher III even if the following school year (1994-1995)
assigned at Villamor Air Base Elementary School. petitioner Tapispisan ranked No. 4 in the
The head of P. Villanueva Elementary School is a qualifying examination, the same did not affect
Head Teacher, not a principal. Hence, her the rank of respondent Rumbaoa earned the
assignment thereat is not a promotion since it previous year.
does not involve an increase in rank and salary.
Secretary Gloria further observed that the
On the other hand, respondent Teves averred that appointment of respondent Rumbaoa as
she was promoted as Master Teacher II way back Elementary School Head Teacher III on March 15,
in 1987. Thereafter, when the principal of Don 1995 took place prior to the holding of the
Carlos Elementary School was on leave or qualifying examination where petitioner
assigned to other missions, respondent Teves Tapispisan ranked No. 4. Therefore, respondent
would be designated OIC thereof. The head of the Rumbaoa no longer had to take the said
said school is Principal I, which is lower in salary examination having already been appointed
than that of Master Teacher II at Villamor Air Base Elementary School Head Teacher III prior thereto.
Elementary School, which position she still holds. Besides, performance ratings, outstanding
accomplishments, experience and specialized
After evaluating the arguments of the parties, education and training comprise ninety percent
then Secretary of the DECS Hon. Ricardo T. Gloria (90%) of the whole ranking process. On the other
issued the Order dated April 10, 1996 dismissing hand, the written examination is only one of the
the complaint/protest as he found the factors considered to determine the persons
appointment of respondents Rumbaoa and Teves fitness for the position.
as Head Teacher III and Master Teacher II,
respectively, as well as their subsequent It was stressed by Secretary Gloria that
designation as OIC-Head Teacher and OIC- respondent Rumbaoas designation as OIC-Head
Principal, respectively, to be in order. Teacher of P. Villanueva Elementary School was
merely temporary, not a permanent transfer nor
Secretary Gloria based his conclusion on the a promotion. Further, it did not remove her from
findings that, with respect to respondent Teves, her incumbent position as Head Teacher III at the
she was appointed Master Teacher II effective Villamor Air Base Elementary School.
February 18, 1987. This appointment had been
attested by the CSC; hence, such final and Secretary Gloria concluded in the dispositive
completed promotional appointment could no portion of the April 10, 1996 Order that:
longer be the subject of protest nor set aside by
recall. The bases of her appointment as Master IN VIEW of the foregoing disquisitions, the
Teacher II were respondent Teves Performance complaint/protest against the illegal and
Efficiency Ratings, which had been indiscriminate appointment and promotion of
"OUTSTANDING" for the last five consecutive Mesdames Aida M. Rumbaoa and Myrna M. Teves,
years, and the several awards conferred on her Villamor Air Base Elementary School, Pasay City,
by civic organizations, including Outstanding belatedly filed by Mr[s]. Librada D. Tapispisan, is
Teacher of Pasay City in 1993. Also, the DECS hereby DISMISSED for having already prescribed
Division authorities obviously had trust and and for lack of merit.6
confidence in respondent Teves competence and
Forthwith, petitioner Tapispisan elevated the case to submit evidence to support her charges of
to the CSC where, in addition to her allegation violation of the election ban.
that she was more qualified than respondents
Rumbaoa and Teves as their names did not WHEREFORE, the motion for reconsideration filed
appear in the 1994-1995 Division List of by Librada Tapispisan is hereby denied.
Promotables, the petitioner, likewise, contended Accordingly, CSC Resolution No. 97-2501 stands. 8
that their designation as OIC-Head Teacher and
OIC-Principal, respectively, was made in violation Undaunted, petitioner Tapispisan filed with the CA
of the ban on appointments and promotions a petition for certiorari seeking to annul and set
during election period. aside the foregoing resolutions of the CSC.

In its Resolution No. 972501 dated April 14, 1997, In the assailed Decision dated December 12,
the CSC dismissed petitioner Tapispisans protest 2002, the appellate court dismissed the petition.
holding: It found that respondents Rumbaoa and Teves
were merely designated in acting capacity to
The protest must fail. Only their respective positions. This designation thus
appointments/promotions and not designation could not be subject of a protest because, under
can be the subject of a protest. Designation, Civil Service laws, only appointments and
being temporary in nature, does not amount to promotions can be subject of a protest. In the
the issuance of an appointment, but is a mere same vein, such designation could not have been
imposition of additional duties. In the case a prohibited act during the election period
of Martinez, Estrella V. (CSC Resolution No. 95- because the ban only covers transfer of civil
3512), the Commission ruled as follows: service officers or employees or new
appointments, promotions or giving salary
Obviously, Martinez had failed to distinguish increases.
between promotional appointment and
designation or reassignment order. The latter Regarding the appointment of respondent
merely requires performance of additional duties Rumbaoa as Head Teacher III, the CA held that it
and responsibilities. A promotional appointment was already too late in the day for the petitioner
may be the subject of a protest but a designation to contest the same. Such appointment was
or reassignment can be questioned only by the made effective on March 15, 1995 but it was only
person so reassigned. on December 11, 1995, or some eight months
later, that petitioner Tapispisan filed her
There being no appointment issued that can be complaint/protest with the DECS. The appellate
subject of a protest, the instant protest must be court affirmed the finding of respondent DECS
dismissed. Secretary that respondent Rumbaoa possessed
the necessary qualifications for the position of
WHEREFORE, the protest of Librada D. Tapispisan Head Teacher III. The CA also noted that
is hereby dismissed.7 petitioner Tapispisan did not raise the issue about
respondent Rumbaoas appointment as Head
Petitioner Tapispisan sought reconsideration Teacher III in her complaint filed with the DECS
thereof but her motion was denied for lack of Secretary but that the issue surfaced only when
merit by the CSC in its Resolution No. 973698 she sought the reconsideration of CSC Resolution
dated August 28, 1997 which stated in part: No. 972501. An issue not previously raised below
may not be raised for the first time on appeal.
After a careful evaluation of the instant motion for
reconsideration, the Commission finds no merit Petitioner Tapispisan filed a motion for
therein. Tapispisan failed to submit any legal or reconsideration of the appellate courts decision
factual reason which would warrant the but, in the assailed Resolution dated April 10,
modification or reversal of CSC Resolution No. 2003, it was denied as the arguments therein
972501. On the other hand, Tapispisan actually were mere rehash of the same arguments raised
affirmed that there was no promotional in the petition and which had already been
appointments issued but Rumbaoa and Teves passed upon and addressed at length by the
were merely issued temporary designations. appellate court in its decision. Hence, petitioner
Tapispisans recourse to this Court alleging that:
If it is true that there is the intention of the DECS
to promote the protestees to their present I
assignments, then, Tapispisan must wait until the
appointments are actually issued. Otherwise, a Respondent Court of Appeals committed serious
protest at this time is premature. error when it upheld the findings of the Civil
Service Commission that protest will not lie in
On the question of the earlier promotion of absence of appointment/promotion.
Rumbaoa to the position of Head Teacher III which
Tapispisan raised in her motion for II
reconsideration, the same should be dismissed
outright. The appointment was supposed to have Respondent Court of Appeals committed serious
become effective on 15 March 1995. If Tapispisan error when it upheld the findings of the Civil
failed to question said appointment at the time it Service Commission that the protest was filed out
was issued then it has become final; hence, can of time.
no longer be the subject of protest. Furthermore,
other than her bare allegations, Tapispisan failed III
Respondent Court of Appeals committed serious The appointing power is vested in the
error when it did not rule that the Department Head/Secretary. 12 Such power,
Transfer/Designation of respondents R[u]mbaoa however, may be delegated to the regional
and Teves made pursuant to the May 30, 199[5] director subject to the approval, revision,
Division Memorandum No. 33 were violative of modification and reversal of the Department
COMELEC Resolution No. 2731 which expressly Secretary.13 It is not disputed that the
bans the transfer of officers and employees in the appointments of respondents Rumbaoa and Teves
civil service during the election period designated as Head Teacher III and Master Teacher II,
from January 8, 1995 to June 7, 1995.9 respectively, had been made by the appropriate
appointing authority. Further, such appointments
The petition must fail. were duly attested by the CSC, which, under the
Constitution, is the central personnel agency of
Before addressing the issues raised by petitioner the government charged with the duty of
Tapispisan, it must be emphasized that prior to determining questions of qualifications of merit
their designation, respondents Rumbaoa and and fitness of those appointed to the civil
Teves had been appointed as Head Teacher III and service.14 The appointing officer and the CSC
Master Teacher II, respectively. In his Order dated acting together, though not concurrently but
April 10, 1996, Secretary Gloria found these consecutively, make an appointment
appointments to be in order. In particular, the complete.15 Accordingly, the appointments of
appointment of respondent Teves as Master respondents Rumbaoa and Teves as Head Teacher
Teacher II was upheld, thus: III and Master Teacher II, respectively, are entitled
to respect by the Court:
[W]e find that there was basis for her [respondent
Myrna Teves] promotion to Master Teacher II, [I]n the appointment or promotion of
effective February 18, 1987, as shown by her employees, the appointing authority considers
Performance Efficiency Ratings, which have not only their civil service eligibilities but also
always been OUTSTANDING for five consecutive their performance, education, work experience,
years, the several awards conferred upon her by trainings and seminars attended, agency
civic organizations, the most significant one being examinations and seniority. Consequently, the
the Outstanding Teacher of Pasay City in 1993, appointing authority has the right of choice which
and more importantly, the recognition, trust and he may exercise freely according to his best
confidence reposed upon her by the DECS judgment, deciding for himself who is best
Division authorities in her competence and qualified among those who have the necessary
dedication as head of school through the qualifications and eligibilities. The final choice of
designations given to be the OIC of another the appointing authority should be respected and
school when its head is on leave or on left undisturbed. Judges should not substitute
assignment elsewhere.10 their judgment for that of the appointing
authority.16
Respondent Rumbaoas appointment as Head
Teacher III on March 15, 1995 was similarly The Court shall now address the contentions of
upheld by Secretary Gloria, thus: petitioner Tapispisan regarding the designation of
respondent Rumbaoa as OIC-Head Teacher of P.
Villanueva Elementary School and respondent
As basis for her promotion, it is shown that the Teves as OIC-Principal of Don Carlos Elementary
Performance Efficiency Ratings of respondent School. Petitioner Tapispisan insists that they are
Rumbaoa for four consecutive school years, 1991- not qualified for the said positions contending
1995, were all OUTSTANDING, besides being that their names were not included in the 1994
recipient of several achievement awards for Division List of Promotables because they
teaching excellence at the Villamor Air Base obtained failing marks in the qualifying
Elementary School. More so, respondent examination conducted for the school year 1994-
Rumbaoa ranked No. 2 in the Ranked List of 1995. Moreover, while their designation appears
Promotables for the school year 1993-1994, and to be temporary in nature, the intent to
the total points earned by her is 63.19 while that permanently appoint them to their respective
of complainant Tapispisan, for the same school assignments could be inferred from the tenor of
year is only 53.38. Thus, even if the following Division Memorandum No. 33.
school year, complainant Tapispisan ranked No. 4
in the Ranked List of Promotables, the same will
not reduce or lessen the rank of respondent Petitioner Tapispisans arguments fail to
Rumbaoa already earned the previous year. persuade. As correctly held by the CA, it can be
gleaned from the following rules of the CSC that
only appointments or promotions can be subject
More importantly, respondent Rumbaoa, taking of a protest:
into consideration her leading rank for
promotables for the school year 1993-1994, and
the other qualifications and achievements had Sec. 40. Who and Where a Protest May Be Filed.
already been promoted Elementary School [Head] A qualified next-in-rank employee may file his
Teacher III on March 15, 1995 prior to the holding protest with the Commission or any of its
of the qualifying examinations wherein Regional Offices where the protested
complainant Tapispisan ranked No. 4. Therefore, appointment was acted upon, against such
there was no need for her to take the appointment made in favor of another if he is not
examination, having been already promoted to satisfied with the written special reason or
Elementary School [Head] Teacher III.11 reasons given by the appointing authority for
such appointment.
To be considered as a "qualified next-in-rank" the capacity and may be replaced at will by the
employee should have been appointed appointing authority. In this sense, the
permanent to a position previously determined to designation is considered only an acting or
be next-in-rank, and should meet the temporary appointment, which does not confer
requirements for appointment thereto as security of tenure on the person named.20
previously determined by the appointing
authority and approved by the Commission. The designation of respondent Rumbaoa as OIC-
Head Teacher of P. Villanueva Elementary School
and respondent Teves as OIC-Principal of Don
Carlos Elementary School merely imposed on
Sec. 42. When to File Protest. The protest may them additional duties on top of those
be filed with the Civil Service Commission within corresponding to their incumbent positions at
fifteen (15) days from notice by the protestant of Villamor Air Base Elementary School. Such
the issuance of the appointment or promotion. designation did not confer upon them security of
The protestant shall furnish the appointing tenure in the positions which they occupy in
authority or the office concerned a copy of his "acting" capacity. This point was underscored by
protest and submit to the Commission proof of Secretary Gloria as he explained that the
service thereof. designation of respondents Rumbaoa and Teves
as OIC-Head Teacher and OIC-Principal,
respectively, was temporary in nature, not a
permanent transfer nor a promotion.
Sec. 47. Dismissal of Protest. A protest shall be
dismissed on any of the following grounds: As a corollary, such designation did not violate
Resolution No. 2731 dated December 5, 1994 of
the Commission on Elections, which declared as a
prohibited act the transfer of officers and
employees in the civil service during the election
(d) No appointment has actually been issued to period from January 8, 1995 up to June 7, 1995.
the protestee .17 Transfer is defined as "a movement from one
position to another which is of equivalent rank,
The CSC, in its Resolution No. 972501 dated April level or salary without break in service involving
14, 1997 dismissing petitioner Tapispisans the issuance of an appointment." 21 The
protest, declared that "only designation of respondents Rumbaoa and Teves
appointments/promotions and not designation did not involve a movement from one position to
can be the subject of a protest. Designation, another. Neither did it involve the issuance of any
being temporary in nature, does not amount to appointment to the said positions in their favor. In
the issuance of an appointment, but is a mere fact, respondents Rumbaoa and Teves retained
imposition of additional duties."18 This their incumbent positions at the Villamor Air Base
construction given by the CSC should be given Elementary School. As such, their designation
great weight and respect. As this Court has time could not be considered as a "transfer" within the
and again ruled: "[a]lthough technically not meaning of a prohibited act during the election
binding and controlling on the courts, the period.
construction given by the agency or entity
charged with the enforcement of a statute should Even granting arguendo that a protest may be
be given great weight and respect, particularly so properly lodged against a designation, petitioner
if such construction has been observed and Tapispisans protest against the designation of
acted on for a long period of time."19 respondents Rumbaoa and Teves on the ground
that she is more qualified must still fail. In her 4th
Indeed, there is a marked difference between Indorsement22 dated August 10, 1995, respondent
an appointment and a designation. The Court had Benzon, as Principal IV, Coordinating Principal of
the occasion to expound the distinction in this the South District, clarified that respondent Teves
wise: was considered for designation as OIC-Principal of
Don Carlos Elementary School because of her
Appointment may be defined as the selection, by orientation and training. Aside from occupying
the authority vested with the power, of an the position of Master Teacher II, respondent
individual who is to exercise the functions of a Teves carried with her three years of work
given office. When completed, usually with its experience as officer-in-charge of the same
confirmation, the appointment results in security school. Respondent Benzon, likewise, justified the
of tenure for the person chosen unless he is designation of respondent Rumbaoa as OIC-Head
replaceable at pleasure because of the nature of Teacher of P. Villanueva Elementary School
his office. Designation, on the other hand, stating that she was qualified therefor having
connotes merely the imposition by law of been duly appointed Head Teacher III effective
additional duties of an incumbent official . It is March 15, 1995. Further, she ranked No. 2 in the
said that appointment is essentially executive Division List of Promotables for the school year
while designation is legislative in nature. 1993-1994.

Designation may also be loosely defined as an Respondent Benzons explanations were well
appointment because it, likewise, involves the taken by respondent Sibug, Schools Division
naming of a particular person to a specified Superintendent, in his 5th Indorsement23 dated
public office. That is the common understanding August 15, 1995 and by respondent Rosas,
of the term. However, where the person is merely Regional Director of the DECS for NCR in his 6th
designated and not appointed, the implication is Indorsement24 dated September 1, 1995, as both
that he shall hold the office only in a temporary officials recommended the dismissal of petitioner
Tapispisans protest. As stated earlier, in his Order
dated April 10, 1996, Secretary Gloria did dismiss
petitioner Tapispisans protest.

Clearly, the designation of respondents Rumbaoa


and Teves was well within the prerogative of the
said respondents DECS officials. It behooves the
Court to refrain from unduly interfering with the
exercise of such administrative prerogative. After
all, it is well settled that administrative decisions
on matters within the jurisdiction of
administrative bodies are entitled to respect and
can only be set aside on proof of grave abuse of
discretion, fraud or error of law.25 None of these
vices has been shown as having attended the
designation of respondents Rumbaoa and Teves.

Considering the foregoing disquisition, the Court


no longer finds it necessary to resolve the issue
relating to the timeliness of petitioner
Tapispisans protest.

In fine, the appellate court committed no


reversible error when it affirmed the resolutions
of the CSC dismissing the protest filed by
petitioner Tapispisan and upholding the
designation of respondent Rumbaoa as OIC-Head
Teacher of P. Villanueva Elementary School and
respondent Teves as OIC-Principal of Don Carlos
Elementary School.

WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED. The


Decision dated December 12, 2002 and
Resolution dated April 10, 2003 of the Court of
Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 45485
are AFFIRMED in toto.

SO ORDERED.