SIOJO, Ruben
Re: Reorganization;
Reappointment to another position
x-----------------------------------------------------x

 

RESOLUTION NO. 970197

 

            Pablo R. Olivarez, then Municipal Mayor of Parañaque, appealed the ruling of Director Benita O. Santos, Civil Service Commission-National Capital Region (CSC-NCR), which reads in part as follows:

            "In the light of the foregoing, we find the declaration of the position of Municipal Engineer vacant as tantamount to the removal of Engr. Siojo without cause, thus, violative of the constitutional right to security of tenure as well as Republic Act No. 6656 (An Act to Protect the Security and Tenure of Civil Service Officers and Employees in the Implementation of Government Reorganization). Therefore, in the absence of cause to remove or dismiss Engr. Siojo as Municipal Engineer, we deem it proper that he be ratained in the same position."

            The material allegations of Appellant are as follows:

x x x

            "1. The Present organizational structure and staffing pattern in the Municipal Government of Parañaque is authorized under Section 76 of R.A. 7160 otherwise known as the Local government Code of 1991 which provides:

‘Every local government unit shall design and implement its own organizational structure and staffing pattern taking into consideration its service requirements and financial capability subject to the minimum standards and guidelines prescribed by the Civil Service Commission.’

x x x

            "2. The positions under this new organization structure and staffing pattern are provided for in the new Local Government Code of 1991 (R.A. 7160) and other offices/departments therein created by the Sangguniang Bayan of Parañaque have the imprimatur of Section 443 © (2) of the Code which states:

2. Create such other offices as may be necessary to carry out the purposes of the municipal government;

"Upon effectivity of SB Ordinance No. 93-32 s. of 1993 and its implementation by Executive Order No. 30 s. of 1994 issued by the undersigned Mayor of Parañaque, the positions under the old plantilla have been rendered vacant.

            "3. Our well-considered position is that no municipal official/employee has vested right (much less right to re-appointment) to any position in the new organizational structure and staffing pattern.

            "With due respect to your stand, it is our contention that any appointment made by the appointing authority to this new organizational structure and staffing pattern is only subject to review by the Civil Service Commission as to the qualification of the official/employee concerned . . .

x x x

            "We declare once again, and let us hope for the last time, that the Civil Service Commission has no power of appointment except over its own personnel. Neither does it have the authority to review the appointment made by other offices except only to ascertain if the appointee possesses the required qualification.

            "It is a political question that the Civil Service Commission has no power to review under the constitution and applicable laws.

x x x

            "The term re-appointment is a misnomer and a matter of form which the Selection and Placement Committee has adopted in compliance with the established practice of the Civil Service Commission.

            "4. This Office has seen no violation of the constitutional right to security of tenure of office in the appointment of Engr. Ruben Siojo to his new position.

            "His appointment to the position as Special Services Department Head (Municipal Government Department Head II) is one in the career service (not co-terminous) and may be removed only for cause in accordance with his constitutional right to security of tenure of office. (Underscoring supplied)

            "This is in accordance with Section 4 of R.A. No. 6656 which provides that:

"Section 4. Officers and employees holding permanent appointment 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 position next lower in rank.’ (Underscoring supplied)

"The above provision speaks of preferential right of the appointee to comparable positions to their former positions. It is not stated specifically that they shall be appointed to their former positions, hence, it can be interpreted liberally.

"Moreover, it is our contention that the generic term of Municipal Government Department Head II as a result of the Salary Standardization Law for all Department Head positions which did not involve the issuance of appointments renders their previous positions to be no longer station specific, hence, allowable even in cases of reorganization pursuant to CSC Resolution No. 92-2130 and CSC Memorandum Circular No. 49, s. of 1992 both dated December 15, 1992.

"The appointment of Engr. Ruben Siojo (copy attached) to the position of Municipal Government Department Head II in the Special Services Office was done in good faith because of public interest and based on the recommendation of the Selection and Placement Committee.

            A review of the documents in the records show that Ruben E. Siojo was issued an appointment under permanent status to the position of Municipal Engineer in February 1980. During the reorganization of the Municipality of Parañaque in 1993 pursuant to the provisions of Section 76 of the Local Government Code of 1991, new units were created including the Special Services Department. Siojo was assigned as Department Head II of the said Special Services Department. He objected to his new assignment and filed a Complaint with the CSC-DOST Field Office, which reads in part as follows:

            "This is in connection with the on-going reorganization of personnel and employees in the Municipal Government of Parañaque, Metro Manila of which I was offered to assume the position as Special Services Officer in-Lieu (sic) of my present plantilla/position as Municipal Engineer.

            "Please be informed that I am the duly appointed Municipal Engineer of this Municipality since February 1980 approved by the Civil Service Commission as shown by my appointment copy of which is hereto attached, my permanent appointment has bestowed upon me the security of tenure as provided by the Constitution and Applicable Law. The intended replacement of my said position will certainly violate my constitutional right."

            Mayor Olivarez commented on the said complaint as follows:

            "Pursuant to the new organizational structure and staffing pattern established under Municipal Ordinance No. 93-32 s. of 1994 enacted by the Sangguniang Bayan in accordance with Section 76 of R.A. 7160 otherwise known as the Local Government Code of 1991, this Office constituted a Selection and Placement Committee to screen, evaluate, and recommend employees/officials/applicants to the newly-created positions. Guidelines have been adopted by the Selection and Placement Committee to avoid biases and prejudices. Among others, its primordial consideration is the security of tenure of office mandated by the Constitution and the Civil Service Laws.

            "Prior to re-organization, Engr. Siojo was occupying the position of Municipal Department Head II as a result of the Salary Standardization Law. He was then the Department Head of Engineering Department and Acting Building Official. His performance not being satisfactory, this Office re-assigned/detailed him as Local Project Officer for our Minute-Fringe Program-DPWH in the Office of the Mayor, which todate (sic) is an on-going project and will be completed in due time. Engr. Siojo accepted this reassignment as Local Project Officer, but his performance has also failed to meet our expectation.

            "Under the new organizational structure and staffing pattern, the Selection and Placement Committee has recommended Engr. Siojo to the same position of Municipal Department Head II he was occupying before. The only difference is that he will now be the Department Head of Special Services Department and not the Engineering Department. . . "

            In a Memorandum dated October 21, 1994, Director Santos of CSC-NCR resolved the complaint as follows:

            "Evaluation thereof and the documents attached shows that Engr. Siojo has a valid permanent appointment as Municipal Engineer with specific station assignment which is the Engineering Department.

x x x

            "We find the contention of the Mayor untenable. We concur with your observation that there was no record to prove that Engineer Siojo relinquished his position as Municipal Engineer although he was designated to perform other functions in addition to his duties as Municipal Engineer. There was also no performance report submitted to conclude that indeed Engr. Siojo’s performance was unsatisfactory as alleged by the Mayor. The designation of an OIC Municipal Engr. maybe indicative of the Mayor’s discontent but this may not be conclusive of Engr. Siojo’s unsatisfactory performance as Municipal Engineer in the absence of the required performance evaluation/rating. Certainly said act could not imply Engr. Siojo’s consent to relinquish his position as Municipal Engineer.

            "At this point, it has to be considered that the position of Municipal Engineer is mandatory position under the provisions of Republic Act No. 7160 (The Local Government Code of 1991). On the other hand the position of Special Services Officer although carrying an equivalent title of Municipal Department Head II, is a newly created position pursuant to SB Ordinance No. 93-32, s. 1993 of the Municipality of Parañaque, hence, an optional and precarious position."

            On November 16, 1994, Mayor Olivarez filed a motion for reconsideration. This was subsequently denied by Director Benita Santos, CSC-NCR, in a ruling dated December 14, 1994, which reads in part as follows:

            "Foregoing premises duly considered, we hereby resolve to maintain our original action that there was violation of Engr. Siojo’s constitutional right to security of tenure as well as R.A. 6656. Hence, under the attendant circumstances, we also reiterate that he be retained in his former position as Municipal Engineer/Head of Engineering Department."

            The main issue herein is whether or not Siojo can be reappointed to a different position during the implementation of the reorganization of the municipal government of Parañaque.

            Relevant to the said issue is Paragraph 1, Section 4 of Republic Act No. 6656 which states as follows:

            "Officers and employees holding permanent appointment 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."

            It is quite clear from the aforequoted provision that during a reorganization, employees under permanent status enjoys preference for appointment to comparable positions in the new staffing patterns. However, they may also be appointed to lower positions if there are not enough comparable positions. The said employees under permanent status do not have a vested right to be appointed to exactly the same position they held prior to the reorganization.

            It should be stressed that during a bona fide reorganization, some employees under permanent status may even be separated from the service if the number of regular positions in the new organization is not sufficient to accommodate everybody. This was the rationale of earlier to accommodate everybody. This was the rationale of earlier Commission resolutions in the cases of Bonifacio Rellin et. al (CSC Resolution No. 93-3454 August 26, 1993) and Rhodora Dionisio F., et. al (CSC Resolution No. 94-4582, August 18, 1994) wherein the non-reappointment of some municipal employees was upheld.

            Considering that Siojo did not even suffer a diminution in rank, status or salary, there is no legal basis to disturb the new appointment issued to him pursuant to the reorganization of the Municipality of Parañaque.

            WHEREFORE, the appeal of Pablo Olivarez, then Mayor of the Municipality of Parañaque is hereby granted. Accordingly, the appealed ruling of CSC-NCR is set aside.

Quezon City, JAN 09 1997



  (SGD.)
RAMON P. EREÑETA, JR.
Commissioner
(SGD.)
CORAZON ALMA G. DE LEON
Chairman


(SGD.)
THELMA P. GAMINDE
Commissioner


Attested by:


(SGD.)
CARMENCITA GISELLE E.B. BRINGAS
Board Secretary VI


RPE5/OLA/AGG/D2/P17(2)
NDC-184-95