ROSEL, Salvador C.
Re: Reorganization; Appeal
Salvador C. Rosel, former Sanitation Inspector I, Provincial Health Office, Province of Biliran, appeals the Decision of Danilo M. Parilla, Governor, said province, terminating him from the government service as a result of the reorganization of the said province.
The appeal, in part, states, as follows:
“1. Appellant’s termination/dismissal violates the Magna Carta of Public Health Workers (R.A. No. 7305)
“The Magna Carta of Public Health Workers (R.A. No. 7305) provides, inter alia, to wit:
`Section 8. Security of Tenure. – In case of regular employment of public health workers, their services shall not be terminated except for cause and after due process: Provided, That if a public health worker is found by the Civil Service Commission to be unjustly dismissed from work, he/she shall be entitled to reinstatement without loss of seniority rights and to his/her back wages with twelve percent (12%) interest computed from the time his/her compensation was withheld from him/her up to the time of reinstatement. . .’
“It also violates the Implementing Rules and Regulations of R.A. No. 7305 promulgated by virtue of Section 35 thereof and which among others provides that:
`Section 3. Any reorganization process of any agency must respect the security of tenure of the PHW and must not in any way be used as a cause for the termination of service and reduction in rank or salary of the worker. . .’
“These implementing rules and regulations should have been considered when the reorganization was conceived and implemented pursuant to the mandate of the Local Government Code (R.A. No. 7160) . . .
x x x
“2. Appellant’s case is one wherein the officer was abolished but not the office.
“To repeat, the position/office of the appellant, Sanitation Inspector I, is retained in the new or modified stalling pattern although the item no. is changed from 322 to 221 but with the same grade step. Under the said circumstances therefore his non-reappointment/termination is illegal because it violates his right to security of tenure and due process. Note that there is not a single pending case against the appellant. Neither has he been the subject of any disciplinary action.
“Appellant’s dismissal or termination is a classic case of the `officer being abolished not the office’. Hence, it is illegal and void (Urgello, et al. vs. Osmeña, Jr., 9 SCRA 317 citing on page 321 State ex rel. Hammond vs. Maxfield, 132 P. 2d 660).
“3. The reorganization of the Provincial Government is tainted with bad faith and intended and used as a tool of political persecution.
“a. The over-eagerness with which the Governor implemented the reorganization betrayed his real motive in the reorganization which is to oust from office all those whom he perceived to be on the other side of his political fence. Thus in his Executive Order No. 98-07 dated November 4, 1998 he declared that:
`x x x by the power vested in me by the (sic) law, rules and regulations, I hereby DECLARE all positions in the Provincial Government of Biliran ABOLISHED except the following: the Provincial Treasurer and all elective positions, namely, Governor, Vice-Governor, and all Sangguniang Panlalawigan members. . . ’
“This despite the fact that there is no law, rule or regulation at all vesting in him the power to abolish `all positions in the Provincial Government of Biliran x x x’.
x x x
“b. One of the pretended purposes of the reorganization, viz, to save resources of the province `in order to provide a responsive service to all people’ (SP Res. No. 02, Series of 1998 dated July 3, 1998), is belied by the fact that the number of casual employees hired by the provincial government soared tremendously after the present administration took over from the previous one. ...
“c. Appellant, who is the husband of Lolita Maderazo-Rosel, was terminated from the service simply because he is a brother-in-law of Mayor Melchor Maderazo of Caibiran, Biliran who is affiliated with LAKAS-NUCD which was the rival party of LAMP, the political party of Gov. Danilo M. Parilla in the last elections. Mayor Maderazo campaigned for Ex-Gov. Wayne M. Jaro and against now Gov. Danilo M. Parilla.”
When asked to comment, Governor Parilla argued, in part, as follows:
“1. The non-reappointment and/or the abolition of the office of the appellant did not violate the Magna Carta of Public Health Workers (R.A. No. 7305)
`The appellant in the instant case is a health personnel who is devolved to the Provincial Government of Biliran pursuant to R.A. 7160. Executive Order No. 503 providing for the rules and regulations implementing R.A. 7160 on devolution matters. . .
x x x
`The Provincial Government of Biliran has followed R.A. 6656, the Rules on Government Organization and CSC issuances on the matter in the implementation of its re-organization . . . .
x x x
`It is worthy to note that the representative of the 2nd level employees to the Placement Committee comes from the employees of the provincial hospital. Obviously, the welfare of hospital personnel, especially the issue on security of tenure was properly addressed to.
`Practically, the undersigned did not go away from the rules on reorganization in view of the fact that it only wants to make the organizational structure and staffing pattern of the province effective yet economical for and in the interest of the greatest good for the greatest number of Biliranons.
`The allegation therefor that the re-organization (sic) of the province violates the implementing Rules and Regulations of R.A. No. 7305 is not impressed with merit.
x x x
“2. The office of the appellant was abolished because it was redundant, a duplication and pursuant to SP Resolution No. 2, s. 1998 which is to downsize the provincial bureaucracy.
`It should be noted that SP Resolution No. 2, s. 1998 authorizes the Provincial Governor to conduct a total reorganization and to downsize organizational structure and staffing pattern of the Provincial Government of Biliran. The office of the appellant is one of those downsized in view of the fact that it was redundant and a duplication. The function of Sanitation Inspector is primarily the responsibility of the municipality by virtue of devolution. . . .
x x x
“3. The reorganization of the Biliran Provincial Hospital is not tainted with bad faith and was not intended as a tool for political persecution.
x x x
`There was no over-eagerness on the part of the undersigned as he was only complying R.A. No. 6656 that the re-organization (sic) shall be made known by all concerned, to wit:
`xxx Provided, further, that immediately upon approval of the staffing pattern of the department or agency concerned, such staffing pattern shall be made known to all offices and employees of the agency who shall be invited to apply for any of the positions authorized therein xxx.’
`The above-mentioned issuances did not cause any injury to the employees since everybody were receiving their salaries, bonuses and other privileges until of course on January 13, 1999 when the reorganization was considered finished.
`The counsel of the appellant is not aware of the powers of the Provincial Governor. In the case of reorganization, the Law on Public Officer, pp. 187, rules:
`The power to create includes the power to destroy xxx’
`Thus, by the act of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan to approve a new staffing pattern of the Provincial Government of Biliran, the abolition of the old positions in the old staffing pattern is likewise abolished. Evidently, this is the intent of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan when it approved SP Resolution No. 102, s. 1998. However, to give more emphasis, the undersigned issued Executive Order No. 98-07 in good faith and to let the officials and employees be fully aware of the reorganization plan of the province.
x x x
`Clearly, therefore, all officers and employees must apply to any positions authorized under the new staffing pattern for consideration of the placement committee. By sheer arrogance and show of disrespect to a duly constituted authority some appellants did not submit any applications as mandated by R.A. 6656. . . They themselves violated their right to be considered by the placement committee.
x x x
`It is not true that there were many casuals hired when I assumed office. On the other hand, There were more casuals in the previous administration. . .
x x x
`c. The conduct of the reorganization is not politically motivated as what the counsel of the appellant is trying to make it appear. The undersigned does not even know that the appellant is a brother-in-law of Mayor Melchor Maderazo of Caibiran, Biliran. Had the conduct of the reorganization was based on political affiliation that then the sister of Mayor Maderazo in the person of Mrs. Yolanda Maderazo Isaga would have been terminated instead of the appellant. This allegation therefore shows a very narrow understanding of government re-organization (sic).”
Records reveal that on July 3, 1998, the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) of the Province of Biliran passed Resolution No. 2, s. 1998, authorizing the Governor to reorganize the Provincial Government of Biliran. On October 23, 1998, the same SP passed Resolution No. 102, s. 1998, approving the new staffing pattern of the said Provincial Government as submitted by Governor Parilla, which consists of a total of three hundred twenty eight (328) positions.
Subsequently, on November 4, 1998, Governor Parilla, issued Executive Order No. 98-07, s. 1998, declaring all positions in the said Provincial Government abolished except the following: the Provincial Treasurer and all elective positions, namely: Governor, Vice-Governor, and all SP members. As a result thereof, termination letter dated January 12, 1999 was issued to appellant Rosel, which reads, as follows:
“Pursuant to SP Resolution No. 2 approved on July 20, 1998, authorizing the undersigned to conduct a total reorganization, please be informed of your non-reappointment effective January 12, 1999 in the modified/revised organizational structure and staffing pattern of the Provincial Government of Biliran as approved by SP Resolution No. 102 on October 30, 1998, hence your services is only up to February 11, 1999.
“However, this movement is not disciplinary in nature, hence, your name will be submitted to the Civil Service Commission for reemployment in other government agencies.
“Accordingly, this agency will facilitate your separation pay and other lawful benefits due you upon submission of some requirements relative thereto.”
Hence, the instant appeal.
The only issue to be resolved is whether or not the reorganization of the Province of Biliran was undertaken in compliance with Republic Act No. 6656 (an Act to Protect the Security of Tenure of Civil Service Officers and Employees in the Implementation of Government Reorganization, and its Implementing Rules and Regulations).
By way of comment, Governor Parilla represented that the position of the appellant was abolished because it was redundant and a duplication. He further alleged that such abolition was in consonance with the objective of the reorganization to promote economy and efficiency.
However, records show that Rosel was holding a permanent appointment prior to his separation from the service, hence, his termination was not in accordance with the R.A. 6656.
Section 4 of R.A. 6656 specifically provides:
“Section 4. Officer and employees holding permanent appointments shall be given preference for appointment to the new positions in the approved staffing pattern comparable to their former positions or in case there are not enough comparable positions, to positions next lower in rank.
“No new employees shall be taken in until all permanent officers and employees have been appointed, including temporary and casual employees who possess the necessary qualification requirements, among which is the appropriate eligibility, for permanent appointment to positions in the approved staffing pattern, in case there are still positions to be filled, unless such positions are policy-determining, primarily confidential or highly technical in nature.”
Evidently, the abovequoted rule was not observed by Governor Parilla when he terminated appellant Rosel from the service. As borne by the evidence on record, soon after the abolition of positions including that of the appellant, the Personnel Placement Committee prepared the list of recommendees for the new staffing pattern. Said list as approved by Governor Parilla, does not include appellant Rosel as one of those recommended for reappointment. Accordingly, he was terminated. As noted, however, appellant’s position as Sanitation Inspector I was recreated under item numbers 221, 222, and 223 in the new staffing pattern. Under items numbers 221 and 223, Elias Morillo and Virgilio Menchavez, who both held the position Sanitation Inspector I in the old staffing pattern, were reappointed. However, instead of reappointing Rosel to item number 222, the Governor terminated his services and appointed Nazario Tupaz to said item.
Moreover, there was no showing that Rosel’s qualifications were assessed by the Committee for possible appointment to comparable positions and that he failed to qualify to the said position in terms of performance and merit which would justify his separation from the service.
It must be emphasized that Rosel, being a permanent employee, enjoys security of tenure. And in case of a reorganization, he enjoys a vested right of reappointment to the same or equivalent or comparable positions, vis-à-vis those held prior to reorganization provided he is qualified thereto. Or if there is no such available position, at the very least he should be placed in any of the next lower positions. The vested right bestowed on permanent employees is merely consistent with the constitutional guarantee of security of tenure. (CSC Resolution No. 99-1068, Bedayos, Mary Grace et al.)
WHEREFORE, the appeal of Salvador C. Rosel is hereby GRANTED. Accordingly, the Governor of the province of Biliran is hereby directed to reinstate or reappoint Salvador C. Rosel to his former position or its equivalent under the new staffing pattern without loss of seniority rights and shall be paid backwages from the time he was separated until his actual reinstatement.
Quezon City, January 24, 2001
CORAZON ALMA G. DE LEON
JOSE F. ERESTAIN, JR.
J. WALDEMAR V. VALMORES
ARIEL G. RONQUILLO