RUBIO, Marina A.
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RESOLUTION NO. 000270
Marina A. Rubio, Agricultural Technologist, Office of the City Agriculturist, Tumaga District, Zamboanga City, files a petition to review the Order dated August 12, 1998 of Director IV Rogelio C. Limare, Civil Service Commission Regional Office No. IX, Zamboanga City, affirming the action of the City Agriculturist of Zamboanga, Alberto A. Alfaro, reassigning her from Tumaga District Field Office to Vitali District Field Office, effective on July 1, 1998. The dispositive portion of said Order reads, as follows:
"WHEREFORE, the reassignment order not having found to have been issued with malice and bad faith is hereby ruled to be in order. Ms. Rubio is, therefore, advised to report to her new assigned post at Vitali District lest she be disciplined accordingly. The non-payment of her salary from July 16-31, 1998 is just but a logical consequences of her absence without official leave from the Vitali District."
In said petition, Rubio alleges the following:
"My ground for review of the Order are as follows;
"I. The facts upon which the Order was based are manipulated in such a way that it will favor and supports the position of City Agriculturist of Zamboanga City. It has assumed that as Mr. Alfaro asseverates, department head like him are clothed with the authority from the chief executive to issue the reassignment Order. But, if it is so, why is it that on the face of the Memorandum itself, it bears no concurring signature of the Chief Executive?
"Along this line, I would like to reiterate the same query in your good office if this Memorandum Order is indeed legal? So far, the Order has not answered this query and it only attempted to justify the position of Mr. Alfaro in issuing said Memorandum Order without showing of bad faith and malice.
"2. The Regional director has not taken any independent and impartial ruling on the matter.
"As can be gleaned from the Order itself, it states that the comment of Mr. Alfaro was received on 12 August 1998 which is exactly on the same date that the Order was prepared and signed. Precisely, l made follow-up letter to my query dated July 14, 1998 because the Regional Director has not acted my request despite that fact that he has given Mr. Alfaro a period of five (5) days from receipt of this letter dated July 15, 1998. So clearly, the answer to my query was clearly based on the comment of Mr. Alfaro.
"3. The Order was one-sided for it heard only the side of Mr. Alfaro.
"I was not furnished a copy of the comment of Mr. Alfaro and I was not given a chance to counter this comment. The Regional Director immediately proceed to issue its ruling without hearing both sides.
"Although, I was interviewed by Atty. Cynthia Florendo, Legal Officer of the Civil Service Commission, Regional Office, Zamboanga City regarding my technical responsibilities in Tumaga District Field Office, but it appeared in the Order that my statements were not taken technically in order. My course is B.S. Fisheries, Major in Aquaculture/Inland Fisheries. Aquaculture/Inland fisheries cover marine brackishwater and freshwater aquaculture and not Inland Fishing, which appears technically far from my statements.
"4. The Order was just and oppressive.
"Non-payment of my salary from July 16-31, 1998, despite of the fact that I rendered my service and submitted my accomplishment report and continued contact and communication with my superiors including Mr. Alfaro x x x.
"I was confident that my request was granted because I was paid my salary from July 1-15, l998, so, I continued reporting to Tumaga District Field Office logging in the log book threat and even submitted my reports which was officially noted by Mr. Fredesvindo Fabian, In-Coming, Agricultural Field Officer of Tumaga District Field Office, this city. I submitted my CSC form 48 (daily time record) for the month of July 1998, but, Mr. Fabian hesitates to sign my DTR because there was an alleged verbal instruction made bv Mr. Edgardo Natividad, Administrative Officer of the City Agriculturist Office not to sign my DTR.
"5. My reassignment Order was issued with malice and bad faith.
"If personnel reassignment is a management prerogative, as stated in the Order, my designation to render technical assistance to the Rural Improvement Club (composed of rural mothers) is a disguise of 'Job Rotation' that need proper orientation, considering the fact that I am not Fishery Graduate, major in Aquaculture/Inland Fisheries, I am not technically equipped with the skills and knowledge of effectively performing the program activities because it is outside from my field of expertise. I was very much demoralized because there was no democratic way of human resources management approach and there was secrecy and forceful act in serving the Memorandum Order which I felt was with grave abuse of discretion, malice and in bad faith. I was appealing to them because l was still waiting for the result of the CSC-Search for 1998 Outstanding Lingkod Bayan Employee which I represented Region IX in this Search, instead of giving me moral support, this untimely reassignment really made me become full of disappointment inspite of my extra-ordinary work performance and accomplishments that made me become a recipient of national awards in the Department of Agriculture-Search for Gawad Saka Outstanding Extension Worker last 1997.
"6. Said Order is not in accordance with recent CSC Resolution No. 92-140 rendered a case of Quismorio, Zenaida re; Reassignment, where it ruled that 'reassignment of employee is a management prerogative, a necessary adjunct of the power to appoint.
"The City Agriculturist has no appointing authority as the same is vested with Chief Executive, City Mayor of Zamboanga. Considering that he has no power to appoint, it is an error for the Regional Director to rule that City Agriculturist being the Department Head is clothe with management prerogative to issue a reassignment Order, considering that the power to reassign is a necessary adjunct of the power to appoint. So it follows, that if the City Agriculturist has no power to appoint, he also has no power to issue a reassignment Order.
"7. The Memorandum Order No. 37 ruled favorably by the Regional Director was issued drastically without humanitarian considerations.
"Vitali District Field Office is situated about 90 kilometers away from the city proper, the bounding areas of Zamboanga City and Zamboanga del Sur Province. This covers coastal barangays which are very hazardous and intensely resided by bad elements. This is drastic and no human considerations of my being a woman with five small school children to be far away from my family adversely constraints me both financially and emotionally because my family is residing within the city proper and forced to report to Vitali District field Office even without being paid of my salaries, Although, there are even male personnel of the same fields who are based in the central office, why not do the works in a 'Team Approach" if it is for the exigency of public service, for I was willing to join the Team, because of huge fishpond areas-2,000 hectares it could not tackled by only one person/employee, which is about 65% of total fishpond areas developed in Zamboanga City, and at the same time performing Rural Improvement Club (RIC) program activities composed of about 22 clubs organized in Vitali District Field Office."
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In a letter dated March 3, 1999, Rubio manifested, among others, the following:
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"I would like to inform your good office that Mr. Alberto Alfaro drastically deducted the amount of Pl,000.00 in my September 16-30, 1998 salaries without due process and due regard of the COA's implementing rules and regulations. Said back payment was based allegedly on the Order of CSC-Region IX, declaring me 'Absence Without Offcially leave' (AWOL) which order is the subject of my petition with the Honorable Commission now trace.
"Consequent with this adverse Order, the City Mayor of Zamboanga ordered the City Accountant and City Treasurer's Offices to collect the back payment of the salaries I received for the period of fifteen (15) days (July 1-15, 1998) effective October, 1998 deductible into four (4) equal payments allegedly basing on the Order issued by Director Limare. I was not also paid of my salaries for the month of August, 1998 when in fact I submitted my Daily Time Record for the month of August, duly signed by the direct supervisor/Agricultural Field Officer, Mr. Rolando Potenciano x x x.
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"I understand that the proper authority who can charge me AWOL is only the Appointing Authority in coordination with the City Human Resource Management Office headed by Mr. Ildefonso Rivera. But, I have not received any notice from these concerned city officials that l was officially charged for AWOL. The CHRMO even approved my sick and force leaves filed last September, November, December, 1998 and February 15-19, 1999, respectively. x x x. So, clearly, there is no legal basis for me to pay back my salaries above stated.
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"It is only me who questioned the legality of the Memorandum Order No. 37 xxx because of my appointment is 'Station Specific' (West Coast). As stipulated under Item II (b) of the Civil Service Commission Memorandum Circular No. 38 series of 1993, provides that:
'b. the following adjustment or movements of personnel which do not involve any changes in position title, rank or status do not need the issuance of another appointment, provided that the existing appointment does not specify the 'Working Station'. So this provision denied and not being executed.'
"I was confident that I will be reassigned in Ayala District because my station is in the West Coast of Zamboanga City. I did not questioned during my transfer in Tumaga District because my family is residing within the city proper. As a proof, my transfer in this district played a vital technical advantages because I am residing in the area where I am rendering services. With my efforts and work performance, I was given due reward by the DA-NAFC, Central Office."
When asked to comment, Director Limare averred, the following:
"First, that Alberto A. Alfaro, Zamboanga City Agriculturist and considered a Department Head being the Chief of the City Agriculture Office, not being the Appointinq Authority is bereft of the power to issue the questioned reassignment order:
"Second, the Ruling of this Office dated 12 August I998 is biased, unjust and oppressive; and
"Third, the reassignment order was issued with malice and bad faith.
"0n the first assigned error, the duties and functions of Mr. Alfaro are quite revealing of the nature of his office. Rule XVIII of the Rules and Regulations Implementing the Local Government Code of 1991 enumerates the various functions of the City Agriculturist, to wit:
'(1) The Agriculturist -
(1) x x x
(2) the Agriculturist shall take charge of the Office for Agricultural services, and shall:
(i) x x x
(ii) Develop plans and strategies on agricultural programs and projects and implement them upon approval thereof by the governor or mayor, as the case may be;
(iii) Ensure that maximum assistance and access to resources in the production, processing and marketing of agricultural and aquaculturist and marine products are extended to farmers, fishermen and local entrepreneurs.
(iv) x x x (Emphasis supplied)
"It is undeniable that direct supervision and control, under the hierarchy of local government, as distinguished from a general supervision exercised by the Local Chief Executive, the City Mayor in this case, are vested in the Department head. Direct supervision and control necessarily include the power to deploy personnel and of effecting changes relative thereto with the end of giving the beneficiaries the optimum services and of making available the expertise of the office concerned.
"To vest the City Mayor with the functions pertaining to the Department Head is to burden the Mayor with the tremendous task of executing even the minutest detail of the office which is entrusted to the Agriculturist.
"We admit that the City Agriculturist is not the Appointing Authority, however, it bears emphasis that reassignment does not require the issuance of an appointment (Section 10 of Rule VII of the Omnibus Rules Implementing the Administrative Code of 1987). Hence, we maintain our view that Department Heads are clothed with the authority to effect the movement of personnel, as the need arises, provided the same is done in the exigency of the service, in good faith and no appointment is necessary to carry out the act.
"As regards the second assigned error, Ms. Rubio's claim that this Office is biased and the order is unjust and oppressive is simply whimsical.
"Her query was filed on 15 July 1998. On even date, this Office requested the comment of Mr. Alfaro. Mr. Alfaro, however, forced by circumstances, had to go on leave of absence to attend to his bedridden mother who later died. This sufficiently justifies the late submission of the comment.
"Pending submission of the required comment, and with her obstinate follow-up, this Office had gathered some vital information relative to the reassignment by resorting to oral interviews (personal and through the use of a telephone) of some officials and employees of the office. Thereafter, as we evaluated the case and in its final preparation, we received the comment of Mr. Alfaro. The comment confirms the information already gathered, so that the Ruling was then issued on the same date the comment was filed.
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"Finally, the third assigned error that the order of reassignment was issued with malice, bad faith and without humanitarian considerations appears to be an afterthought."
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Records show that this case arose when Rubio was reassigned as Agricultural Technologist from Tumaga District to Vitali District of the Office of the City Agriculturist, Zamboanga City, effective on July 1, l998. Her reassignment was contained in a Memorandum Order No. 37, s. 1998 dated July 1, 1998 issued by Alberto A. Alfaro, City Agriculturist of Zamboanga City. Rubio assailed her order of reassignment. She argued that it was not concurred in by the City Mayor, who is vested with the power to appoint employees in the Office of the City Agriculturist, the latter, not being the appointing authority, has no power to issue reassignment orders. The matter was brought by Rubio to the attention of the Director IV Rogelio C. Limare of CSCRO No. IX, Zamboanga City, through a letter query dated July 14, 1998. Rubio alleged that her appointment to the position as Agricultural Technologist in the Office of City Agriculturist of Zamboanga City contains a specific station, which is the Agricultural Extension Services Field Office in the West Coast of Zamboanga City. Thus, she concluded that her reassignment in the East Coast (Vitali District-Agricultural Field Office) of Zamboanga City is biased, unjust and oppressive and the same was done with malice and bad faith. However, in an Order dated August 12, 1998, the CSCRO No. IX, Zamboanga City, upheld the reassignment of Rubio and affirmed the action of the City Agriculturist to be in order. Hence, this petition for review.
The issues to be resolved in this case are the following:
- Whether or not the City Agriculturist, being the Department Head, is clothed with management prerogative to issue reassignment orders to his subordinates without the concurrence or approval of the City Mayor who is the appointing authority; and
- Whether or not Rubio can be reassigned to the Vitali District Field Office, East Coast of Zamboanga City, notwithstanding that her permanent appointment as Agricultural Technologist of that City contains a specific station: Agricultural Extension Services Field Office, West Coast, Zamboanga City (which includes Tumaga District Agricultural Field Office).
Incidentally, the ancillary issues raised by Rubio, specifically on the deduction of her fifteen (15)-day salary and/or the whole month of July 1998 for not reporting to her new assigned post at Vitali District, being interwoven with other issues, will also be determined by the resolution of the aforementioned principal issues.
Worthy to note is the fact that the City Agriculturist is appointed by the City Mayor (Art.116, paragraph b (3), Rule XVIII of Rules and Regulations Implementing the Local Government Code of 1991, RA 7160). Likewise, officials and employees of the Office of the City Agriculturist are also appointed by the City Mayor, including the herein petitioner Marina A. Rubio. She was appointed (Reappointed through Devolution) as Agricultural Technologist under permanent status on April l, 1993 by then Mayor Vitaliano D. Agan of Zamboanga City. Concededly, the City Agriculturist has no appointing power, as the power to appoint employees in the Office of the City Agriculturist is vested with the City Mayor. In the same vein, reassignment of employees is a management prerogative of' the appointing authority, thus, vesting the power to reassign is a necessary adjunct of the power to appoint. Logically, the City Agriculturist, notbeing the appointing authority concerned, has no power to re assign. This finding has been echoed in CSC Resolution No. 92-140 dated January 21, 1992 in the case of Quismorio, Zenaida, where the Commission ruled that the reassignment of Zenaida Quismorio is not in order as it was not issued by the proper appointing authority. Accordingly, she should be restored to her position. Technically, in cases like this, as the authority vested in the City Agriculturist in matters of reassignment of employees as a management prerogative is merely recommendatory, it needs the concurrence or approval of the City Mayor, who is the appointing authority.
Meanwhile, in a letter dated September 16, 1998, the City Mayor of Zamboanga City, Maria Clara L. Lobregat, being the appointing authority, consented and even informed Rubio of her non-compliance with the reassignment order issued by the City Agriculturist, which was affirmed by the CSCRO No. IX. In the same letter, Rubio was even deemed considered Absent Without Official Leave from the Vitali District from July 1 to 31, 1998. Notably, the City Mayor has even ordered and directed the City Accountant and the City Treasurer to collect the back payment of the salary which was previously received by Rubio for the whole month of July 1998 as a consequence of her non-reporting to her new assignment at Vitali District, Zamboanga City. By said actuations, the City Mayor manifested acquiescence to the action of the City Agriculturist. Plainly, the City Mayor ratified the action of the City Agriculturist in reassigning Rubio from Tumaga District Field Office to Vitali District Field Office, Zamboanga City. The aforesaid letter of the City Mayor regarding her stand on the reassignment of Rubio is explicit on this matter, among others, which reads, as follows:
x x x
"With these facts at bar, you are deemed Absent Without Official Leave from July 1 to 3l, 1998. Your having reported to Tumaga District, your former 0ffice is not considered official and was deemed in defiance of the reassignment order issued by Mr. Alberto A. Alfaro, City Agriculturist. "
x x x
From the foregoing, it appears that the City Mayor had clearly agreed and concurred with the reassignment of Rubio from Tumaga District Field Office to Vitali District Field 0ffice, Zamboanga City.
Be that as it may, the Commission has defined reassignment in Section 10, Rule VII of the Omnibus Rules Implementing Book V of Executive Order No. 292, to wit:
"Sec. 10. A reassignment is the movement of an employee from one organizational unit to another in the same department or agency which does not involve a reduction in rank, status or salary and does not require the issuance of an appointment."
In CSC Memorandum Circular No. 40, s. 1998 (Revised Omnibus Rules on Appointment and other Personnel Action), the same has been amended, to wit:
"Section 6. Other Persannel Movements.
x x x
"a. Reassignment movement of an employee from one organizational unit to another in the same department or agency which does not involve reduction in rank, status or salary. If reassignment is without the consent of the employee being reassigned, it shall be allowed only for a maximum period of one year. Reassignment is presumed to be regular and made in the interest of the public service unless proven otherwise or if it constitute constructive dismissal. "
Reassignment is a management prerogative which the Commission normally does not interfere with, absent the showing of grave abuse of discretion (Eduardo Velasco, CSC Resolution No. 96-3651).
In the present case, records show that Rubio's appointment as Agricultural Technologist under permanent status at the City Agriculturist Office in the City of Zamboanga contains a specific station "(station specific)" in the WEST COAST of Zamboanga City. Her new assignment in Vitali District is in the East Coast of the same City. Where the appointment does not indicate a specific station, an employee may be transferred or reassigned provided the transfer affects no substantial change in title, rank, salary. Hence, the rule that outlaws unconsented transfers applies only to an officer who is appointed, not merely assigned, to a specific station. However, public interest is over and above personal interest and technical personnel must be assigned according to their technical expertise to be more effective and efficient in the performance of their duties and responsibilities. Worthy to note is the fact that one of Rubio's duties and responsibilities is the giving of technical assistance on Aquaculture which includes Inland Fisheries and Marine Fisheries. Apparently, Rubio was temporarily reassigned to a post adjunct to her field of expertise without any diminution of title, salary and rank.
In the light of the foregoing, there is no question that we recognize the validity and indispensable necessity of the well-established rule for the good of public service and whenever public interest demands, public officials may be temporarily assigned or detailed to other duties even over his objection without necessarily violating his fundamental and legal right to security of tenure in the civil service (Pepin Balonso, CSC Resolution No. 96-0485). As ruled by the Supreme Court, in the case of Bentain vs. Court of Appeals (209 SCRA 644), a reassignment in good faith and in the interest of the government service is permissible and valid even without the employee's prior consent.
At one point, however, Rubio was temporarily reassigned to a position in the Office of the City Agriculturist without her consent prior to her reassignment. Such, notwithstanding, it shall be allowed only for a period of one (1) year as the case may be.
As to the issue raised by Rubio on the matter of deduction of fifteen (15) days salary and/or the whole month of July, 1998 for not reporting to her new assignment at Vitali District, Zamboanga City, the Commission is of the view that the deduction is just and proper. Rubio's reassignment order to Vitali District took effect on July 1, 1998, but she failed to comply and kept on reporting instead to Tumaga District which is not her official assignment. Since Rubio failed to report to her proper place of work, she was deemed not to have performed any actual work for the government. This being so, she is not entitled to any money benefits under the policy of "no work, no pay" (Fernandez, Ofelia D., CSC Resolution No. 98-0456 dated March 3, 1998). For not reporting to her new assignment, she may be considered absent without official leave. Thus, it is but equitable for Rubio to comply with the directive of the City Mayor to refund the salary she received for the days or months that she was absent in her new assigned post. To simplify the situation, her aforesaid absences may be charged nonetheless to her earned leave credits, if any.
Corollary to the above, Rubio also claimed that she was not paid her salary for the month of August 1998. On the contrary, a perusal of the Daily Time Record she submitted for the month of August 1998 which was duly signed by her Supervisor Rolando S. Potenciano reveals that she was present only for six days for that month. Hence, she should be paid only for the corresponding dates she reported for work.
WHEREFORE, the Commission finds the reassignment of Marina A. Rubio as Agricultural Technologist from West Coast to East Coast, Zamboanga City (from Tumaga District Field Office to Vitali District Field Office) in order. Accordingly, the Order dated August 12, 1998 of Director IV Rogelio C. Limare of CSCRO No. IX is hereby affirmed. It is understood, however, that her reassignment shall be for a maximum period of one (1) year only. Since the reassignment took effect on July 1, 1998, the one year period has already elapsed, hence, Rubio shall now be immediately restored to her former position in the Office of the City Agriculturist as Agricultural Technologist in Tumaga District Field Office, Zamboanga City.
Let copy of this Resolution be furnished the Director, Civil Service Commission Regional Office No. IX, Zamboanga City. He is thus ordered to monitor and see to it that this resolution is implemented.
Quezon City, JAN 27 2000
CORAZON ALMA G. DE LEON
THELMA P. GAMINDE
(DID NOT PARTICIPATE)
JOSE F. ERESTAIN, JR.
ARIEL G. RONQUILLO