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Merlinda Jacinto, et al. v. CA, CSC, and Sec.

of Education, Culture the right to strike, the Constitution itself qualifies its exercise with the
and Sports proviso “in accordance with law.” This is a clear manifestation that the
state may, by law, regulate the use of this right, or even deny certain
FACTS: sectors such right. The Civil Service law and rules governing concerted
1. Petitioners are public school teachers from various schools in activities and strikes in the government service shall be observed.
Metropolitan Manila. They incurred unauthorized absences in
connection with the mass actions then staged. Government employees may, therefore, through their unions or associations,
2. DECS Sec. Cariño immediately issued a return-to-work order, either petition the Congress for the betterment of the terms and conditions of
but it was ignored by petitioners so Sec. Cariño issued formal employment which are within the ambit of legislation or negotiate with the
charges and preventive suspension orders against them. appropriate government agencies for the improvement of those which are not
3. They were administratively charged with gross misconduct; fixed by law. If there be any unresolved grievances, the dispute may be
referred to the Public Sector Labor-Management Council for appropriate
gross neglect of duty, etc. for joining unauthorized mass actions; action. But employees in the civil service may not resort to strikes, walkouts
ignoring report-to-work directives; etc. and other temporary work stoppages, like workers in the private sector, to
4. During the investigation, petitioners did not file their answers or pressure the Government to accede to their demands.
controvert the charges against them. As a consequence, Sec.
Cariño, in his decisions found them guilty as charged and The teachers have given cause for their suspension, for being absent in
imposed the penalty of dismissal except Jacinto which is and their classes and joining in the mass actions. They were not fully
Agustin who were meted only six (6) months suspension. innocent of the charges against them although they were eventually
5. Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB): dismissed the appeals found guilty only of conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service
for lack of merit and not grave misconduct or other offense warranting their dismissal
6. CSC: set aside the Orders of the MSPB; found the petitioners from the service; “being found liable for a lesser offense is not
(except Merlinda Jacinto) guilty of Conduct Prejudicial to the equivalent to exoneration.” In the case of Merlinda Jacinto, there was a
Best Interest of the Service; imposed upon them the penalty of finding that there was no proof that she joined the unlawful mass
six (6) months suspension without pay; and automatically actions.
reinstated them to the service without payment of back salaries;
the CSC found her guilty of Violation of Reasonable Office Petition is DENIED and the assailed Decision of the Court of Appeals
Rules and Regulations; imposed upon her the penalty of is affirmed with modification.
reprimand; and automatically reinstated her in the service
without payment of back salaries
7. CA: Affirmed decision of CSC. Hence, this petition.

ISSUE: Whether civil servants are guilty of grave misconduct in


participating in mass actions.— YES

HELD: The terms and conditions of employment in the government,


including any political subdivision or instrumentality thereof and
government-owned and controlled corporations with original charters
are governed by law and employees therein shall not strike for the
purpose of securing changes. Workers in the public sector do not enjoy